Matchup: #15 Auburn at #1 Alabama (-9, 54 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Friday, November 28th @ 7:45 pm (EST)
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL (Airing on ESPN)
Preview: The #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Auburn Tigers in the 79th edition of the Iron Bowl, from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Alabama comes into Saturday evening’s matchup at 10-1 and are the #1 ranked team in the national championship playoff rankings. The only blemish on their record came in early October, a 23-17 loss at Ole Miss. They are coming off a 48-14 win over Western Carolina, but the week before had defeated then #1 ranked Mississippi State 25-20. Alabama is a well skilled squad in all 3 phases. Their defense is ranked 5th in the nation in total defense, allowing just 289.7 yards per game and they are second in the nation in scoring defense as well. Their offense is explosive and well balanced, and led by quarterback Blake Sims who has completed 62% of his passes for 2676 yards and 20 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. His main target is none other than Amari Cooper, who has 90 receptions this season for 1349 yards and 11 touchdowns. They can run the ball effectively as well, averaging 204.9 yards per game behind TJ Yeldon (758 yds) and Derrick Henry (682 yds).
Auburn Comes into Tuscaloosa at 8-3 and losers of 2 of their last 3 games. Back on November 8th, they were upset at home to Texas A&M 41-38, and then the following week they were blown out at Georgia 34-7. Offense has not been an issue for Auburn this season, as they have one of the nation’s most elite ground attacks, averaging 266 yards rushing per game. Their leading rusher is Cameron Artis-Payne, who has 1405 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Their second leading rusher is dual threat quarterback Nick Marshall, who has 731 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns. Marshall has 1859 yards passing this season with 15 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Their defense has been the Achilles heel of this team, especially down the stretch this season, as they gave up 412 yards to Georgia and 453 yards to Texas A&M. Their defense is allowing 5.34 yards per play and 375 yards per game, and they are especially struggling against the run, allowing 143.5 yards per game.
Both teams are coming off easy wins last week and were basically like scrimmages. You could basically say that both teams have had two weeks to prepare. If there’s one thing that gets under Nick Saban’s skin, it’s losing…plain and simple. This sure is a lot of points for a rivalry game, but I can only look to laying the points with Alabama. How many times do you think Alabama has seen the failed field goal attempt returned for a touchdown in last year’s game? I’m sure they’ve seen it, over and over and over again. Auburn would love to spoil Alabama’s national title hopes, but I don’t see it happening. I see a Crimson Tide team that’s just better than Auburn in every facet of the game. In a rivalry game I’d more often than not grab the points, but in this case, I see Nick Saban’s squad getting some payback and taking Auburn behind the woodshed. Roll Tide.
2014 Week 14 NCAA Football Pick: Alabama -9, Under 54
Auburn vs. Alabama Score Prediction: Alabama 38 – Auburn 14