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Alabama’s No.3 will travel to the Plains to take on his hated rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Saturday afternoon in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. The Crimson Tide come off a narrow victory over Arkansas at Bryant-Denny Stadium, while the Tigers suffered their third straight loss last weekend when they fell to South Carolina on the road.
The Crimson Tide must win to stay in the college football playoff race. They’ve already landed SEC West and a date with Georgia in the SEC Championship game, but can’t afford a second loss due to the changing landscape of college football.
What will happen in the iron bowl? Let’s break the game down and make choices up and against the spread.
Alabama vs. Auburn: what to know
Young’s brilliant moment: Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was phenomenal against Arkansas when he passed 559 yards – the second-biggest single-game game in SEC history. It will face a passing defense from Auburn who allowed South Carolina 10.5 yards per attempt last week, 415 passing yards at Mississippi State the previous week and is the second-worst efficiency unit in the country. (141.93). Young has a chance not only to lead his team to their first victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium since 2015, but also to do so while strengthening his Heisman Trophy CV.
There is still work to do: Even as Young lights up Auburn’s high school, it can still be a close game due to Alabama’s struggles throughout the season along the offensive line. This has kept the Crimson Tide from mustering anything akin to the hasty attacks of years past, and it’s a major concern as the running approaches. Keep an eye out for Brian Robinson Jr. If Alabama is opening holes on a consistent basis for their No.1 backer, that could indicate he’s finally – after 12 games – starting to come together.
It’s on Finley: Auburn quarterback TJ Finley isn’t as polished as Arkansas’ KJ Jefferson, but they’re similar in body type and arm strength. For that reason, expect Tigers coach Bryan Harsin to take a close look at what Jefferson did right last week to keep his team in the game. The only problem is that Auburn doesn’t have a wide receiver comparable to Treylon Burks, but that can be fixed if coordinator Mike Bobo mixes his multiple tight ends and talented running backs into the game plan.
How to watch Alabama vs. Auburn live
Alabama vs Auburn prediction, pick
I’m going to take the points because a three touchdown gap is screaming “backdoor cover”. Crimson Tide’s offensive line cannot be trusted, so I expect Auburn to force several empty possessions, which will allow Finley to keep his team in the game for at least three quarters. Finley will end up making a mistake or two that will tip the game in favor of crimson and white, but not three scores. Prediction: Auburn (+19.5)