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Jumbo Package: One turkey down, one to go

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The Tide will be showing no mercy to these Tigers.

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NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s Iron Bowl weekend, and the Tide are heavily favored again. Your previews and predictions:

It’s crazy to see the line in the Iron Bowl (3:30 p.m. on CBS, streaming live on CBSSports.com and fuboTV -- try for free) this big, but it makes sense. Auburn’s offensive line is a wreck, there is no semblance of a running game and quarterback Jarrett Stidham gets happy feet faster than national championship gear sells the day after the latest Crimson Tide title. All of that plays into Alabama’s strengths -- most notably the ferocious front seven and the second-best pass defense in the SEC. Auburn won’t score much, but its defense is good enough to stay within the number -- probably with the help of Alabama taking its foot off the gas in the second half. Pick: Auburn (+24.5)

As mentioned above, the Tigers actually have the defense to stay in this game. But the offense? Meh, probably not. I’m just not confident enough in the Auburn passing game (and the play-calling) to keep the Crimson Tide on their heels. With the Fighting Sabans readjusting their focus this week, I see the rare blowout in this Iron Bowl showdown. The Tigers get their nine points on a blocked punt return and an Alabama offensive holding penalty in the end zone.

Prediction: Alabama 31, Auburn 9

Prediction:

Alabama 41, Auburn 20

Alabama will win handedly. I can see Auburn making this game competitive for at least two quarters, but the Tide is just so much better than every other team in college football. This will be yet another big performance for Tagovailoa before next week’s SEC Championship Game.

Count on Alabama blowing up the Tigers offense and Auburn’s defense, which has allowed over 400 yards in four of its games, including 516 against Georgia, spending way too much time on the field as it takes another 400-yard gashing.

Alabama 37, Auburn 13

Plenty has been written about these two teams, and they know one another better than anyone. Bottom line, Auburn averaged only 13.3 points in three games against the conference’s better defenses, and it’s hard to imagine them doing any better tomorrow. Vegas has the Tide by 24 with an over/under of 53, and all of that sounds pretty close. Let’s call it Alabama 41-13 and move on to actual games of importance, shall we?

Of course, that is just my opinion. Vote and leave us yours in the comments.

Poll

What will be the result tomorrow?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    The Gus Bus is totaled, Tide cover 24
    (590 votes)
  • 21%
    The turkey is a little tough, Tide by 10-23
    (164 votes)
  • 0%
    Auburn fans get the moral victory they so covet, Tide by 1-9
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Auburn wins (LOL)
    (7 votes)
768 votes total Vote Now

It is rivalry week so this piece is mandatory.

No, it’s not the most consistent rivalry game, but the Iron Bowl provides the most incredible highs college football can offer - often at Alabama’s expense. Punt ‘Bama Punt, Cam Newton’s comeback and the Kick-Six come to mind as games that punctuate what rivalries are all about. Alabama has had the edge practically forever, but Auburn fans can always hold these games over rival Tide fans’ heads and Alabama fans, despite all the team’s success, will never get over the losses. For those of us without a direct rooting interest, what makes these games great is the moments. Especially in the Nick Saban era, Alabama losses have become big events and its losses to Auburn particularly have stood out (“Auburn’s going to win the football game!”). Of all rivalries the Iron Bowl seems to deliver the most memorable moments that will stand the test of time, and isn’t that what we love about this sport?

Whatever.

ESPN put out a nice historical on the long hiatus back when.

In 1945, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a resolution that Alabama and Auburn “are urged to resume relationships in the field of athletics, particularly football.” Two years later, the state Senate demanded action, threatening an amendment cutting off appropriations to the schools if they didn’t comply.

Auburn president Ralph Draughon wrote to McCorvey that no one liked feeling “bludgeoned into the game through such legislation” but “we need to recognize the possibility that we may make an ever greater mistake in persisting in our refusal.” Director of athletics Carl Voyles then appeared before a legislative committee to say that Auburn would like to play Alabama again and was holding an open date on the last Saturday in November and the first in December.

Those who would prefer not to have this series can thank the Alabama government.

As you well know, this is a massive recruiting weekend.

Two of the biggest names in the recruiting industry, Shannon B. Terry of 247sports and Mike Farrell of Rivals.com, have projected that Smith will flip to Alabama. The Alabama reps for both sites have walked it back a bit, but think that Alabama is definitely alive in this battle. Hopefully Nolan is enjoying his visit and will come in a nice package with IMG teammates Trey Sanders and Evan Neal.

I mean, why wouldn’t they?

Alabama has reduced the vaunted Southeastern Conference to glorified scrimmage fodder; only once has Tagovailoa needed to play in a game’s final period. If the Tide can make it unscathed through the final stretch of its schedule—Saturday’s Iron Bowl against its archrival, Auburn; the conference championship against Georgia; and a possible two-game playoff slate—cases for “the best of all time” await. But in the meantime, with a prodigious quarterback and a coach who’s altered his style to accommodate him, the country’s preeminent program has already redefined the top level of the sport.

If this team wins the next two games in convincing fashion, it should cement what is already going to be a tremendous early signing period.

Ryan Nanni made a solid post about the simplicity of Alabama’s passing scheme.

The team that produced two Heisman running backs, Trent Richardson, and a bunch of other ground-game stars in the last decade is throwing the football more than ever. The Tide’s standard-down run rate is in the bottom third of FBS programs.

You’d think that their passing attack would be complicated and intricate, but they essentially run the same play over and over. They pair a smash concept to the left of Tua and shallow/dig concept to the right of him. This means that Tua, a lefty, will look to his strong side as he reads coverage as often as possible.

With RPOs, you really don’t need a lot of plays, and this applies in the dropback passing game as well. It only helps a certain amount for the secondary to know the routes. When you have a distributor like Tua Tagovailoa, it really doesn’t matter if the defense knows the routes. There are four guys in the pattern, and he will find the open one.

Tosh was getting in a little work after practice with Ross Pierschbacher and Raekwon Davis.

YEEEEEEEAH!

Last, some former Tide players showed out on Thanksgiving.

Eddie Jackson is setting records for the league’s top defense, and Amari Cooper is seen as the difference in what looks like a division favorite in Dallas. Falcons Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley joined the fun as well, albeit in a losing effort where each of them lost a fumble.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.