Alabama vs. Auburn fearless prediction and game preview.
Alabama vs. Auburn Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 30
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (click to watch for free)
Venue: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
Alabama (10-1) vs. Auburn (8-3) Game Preview
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Why Alabama Will Win
Just let the offensive line eat.
The focus will be on QB Mac Jones and if he can handle the spotlight of the biggest game of his life, but he doesn’t have to do the work.
The Auburn defensive front is fantastic, and all it takes is a wee bit of success on the ground to be productive.
Florida was able to run for four yards per carry, and LSU was able to do that, too. Georgia came close, averaging 3.9 yards per pop – that’s all just enough to get a little bit of control against a team that has to own third downs and get its defense off the field.
This isn’t all that hard – Auburn is going to load up to stop Najee Harris and the running game to force Jones to come through. He doesn’t have to bomb away, and he doesn’t have to be Tua Tagovailoa. He just has to get the ball to his elite receiving corps and let the stars do the rest.
Harris has caught fire at just the right time, running for nine touchdowns in his last five games. He took over in the loss to LSU, he’s been making plays as a receiver, and he’s had a light enough load throughout the season to be more than ready to be the workhorse.
With this Bama line, just keep hammering, and hammering, and hammering. Against Auburn, controlling the clock isn’t a bad thing for a Bama team used to lightning strikes.
Helping the cause is a defense that might not be the killer of previous years, but it takes the ball away in bunches with two or more in seven games. Against an Auburn offense that doesn’t score against the decent defense, just two takeaways might end this.
Why Auburn Will Win
Okay, Mac Jones. Playtime is over.
Jones got in his scrimmages against Arkansas and Western Carolina – completing a combined 28-of-34 passes for 510 yards and six touchdowns with no picks – but this is going to be a wee bit different.
When thrown into the fire against Tennessee, he was a pedestrian 6-of-11 for 72 yards, and didn’t push it all that much – or lead the way to a slew of scoring drives – against Mississippi State when Tagovailoa went out.
Finally, Bo Nix is in a big game in the road of the crusty veteran.
Auburn’s true freshman struggled in the win over Oregon. He struggled in the loss to Florida. He struggled in the loss to LSU. But in all three games, he kept on pushing, and he was able to come up with a few big throws to make a difference.
In all three games, the Tigers were alive late despite getting a rough outing from their quarterback. This isn’t the Auburn offense under Gus Malzahn that many might like, but the overall formula is effective.
In seven of his last nine games – the losses to Florida and LSU the outliers – he has hit 60% or more of his passes. Just as important, he threw a total of six picks against Oregon, Florida and LSU, and none against everyone else.
He’s settling into the job – outplaying Jake Fromm in the loss to Georgia – and coming up with a few terrific games against Ole Miss and Mississippi State. And now he gets to turn it loose.
It is possible to throw on Bama. South Carolina’s Ryan Hilinski was able to do it, and so was Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond.
Joe Burrow probably won the Heisman by throwing for 393 yards and three scores against the Tide.
Nix doesn’t have to be special. He just has to be okay, and his defense has to do the rest.
What’s Going To Happen
So what’s the real score coming into this game?
Of course Alabama vs. Auburn is a big giant deal no matter what, but the real question on a national scale isn’t about who wins; it’s about about how much Bama can win by.
It’s four-best-team time for the Tide.
It won’t be enough to squeak by with a solid 16-13 road win over the arch-rival. They have to make a statement in their final chance, and that means they have to win this convincingly, and they have to keep their foot on the gas for a full 60 minutes if they can. They have to look the part. They have to dominate …
And they’re going to come close, even if the final score doesn’t reflect it. Auburn’s defense has yet to allow more than 24 points on the year, and it’s not about to get gouged now.
The rest of the Bama puzzle pieces will rise up and be sharper without Tagovailoa available in the big moment. The running game won’t go off, but it’ll be effective, and Jones will be just fine. The defense will be its normal solid self on third downs, and drive after Auburn drive will stall.
This might not be enough of a win to push out Utah if it becomes the 12-1 Pac-12 champ, or even a 12-1 Big 12 champion. It’ll give the College Football Playoff committee something to think about, though.
Alabama vs. Auburn Prediction, Line
Must See Rating: 5
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1: All things Thanksgiving dinner