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Jumbo Package: It will be the Sark Show on Saturday

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama The Tuscaloosa News-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Hopefully everyone was able to enjoy Thanksgiving in this strange year. As you know, Alabama hosts Auburn tomorrow. Game previews:

Jones might not need to throw a single pass. Auburn’s defensive front has been brutal against the run and star linebacker K.J. Britt is still out with an injury. Because of that, expect Harris to run over, around and through the Tigers defense. With that said, can he do enough to cover? Nope. Malzahn always has a trick or two (or five) up his sleeve in the Iron Bowl, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be used in key spots in order to either keep momentum or swing it back on the side of the orange and blue. It’ll be enough to cover ... even if Alabama dominates the majority of the 60 minutes. Pick: Auburn (+24.5)

Auburn scores first. The Tigers use a few tendency-breaking trick plays early, and Williams breaks free for a big game. Keep in mind that both teams have allowed just 24 points in the first quarter this season. Alabama loosens up in the second quarter, and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian sticks with a simple game plan. Jones, Harris and Smith combine for enough big plays to break the game open in the second half, and the Crimson Tide improves to 8-0.

Final score

Alabama 43, Auburn 21

Jones has only thrown three interceptions so far this year, he’s hitting 77% of his passes, and he’s averaging over 12 yards per throw as he’s spreading it around to all the NFL-caliber weapons at his disposal.

It’s the Iron Bowl, though, and Auburn is going to once again be plucky. It has won two of the last three in the series, but its last win in Tuscaloosa was back in 2010.

Like last year, the Tide will own the clock and destroy AU in the yardage battle, but this time around they’ll do it all without the two massive mistakes.

Alabama 41, Auburn 20

Auburn is 4-3 ATS against Alabama since Gus Malzahn took over, but it’s only 1-2 ATS in Tuscaloosa. So, I think it’s best we ignore the spread entirely and instead go after the total because you know what I’ve noticed with this game the last couple of years? It’s high-scoring. I just told you about the 52-21 game in Tuscaloosa in 2018, and last year the final score was 48-45. Alabama’s defense has taken a step forward in recent weeks (basically since halftime against Georgia), but I can’t help but believe Gus has something in store for this game. He always does. It might not be enough to cover, but it should be enough to help nudge this game past the total. Alabama 45, Auburn 21 | The Pick: Over 62.5

Alabama just blasted Kentucky by 60 points last week for one of the easiest covers of the year. Auburn won’t lose by 60. In fact, in this rivalry, giving Auburn more than three touchdowns feels like easy money. Even against Alabama, Auburn getting 24.5 points is something you should take every time it gets dropped into your lap. Roll Tide, but take Auburn and the points and run before anyone notices. Alabama 47, Auburn 23

Very interesting. All of the national writers seem to think that Alabama wins comfortably, but not by enough to cover the spread. Never mind the fact that the offense has trashed better defenses than the one they will face tomorrow, or the fact that the defense has shown tremendous improvement as the season has progressed. Alabama is significantly better on both sides of the ball. Add in the bad taste left after last year’s game in Auburn along with a little bit of extra focus as they play to win one for Nick, and I see a bloodbath. I’ll call go with 49-13.

Of course, that is merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.

Poll

What will be the result of the 2020 Iron Bowl?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Sark shows no mercy, Alabama by 25+
    (530 votes)
  • 25%
    Comfortable but no cover, Alabama by 14-24
    (196 votes)
  • 4%
    Gus manages to keep it close, Alabama by 1-13
    (31 votes)
  • 0%
    I will ban you right now.
    (7 votes)
764 votes total Vote Now

As Mike Rodak notes, defenses have shifted from stacking the box against Mac Jones early in the season to taking away his deep ball.

Losing Jaylen Waddle before first offensive play the next week against Tennessee dealt a blow to the offense, and Jones’ numbers have ticked downward the past three games. His 67 percent completion rate, 230 yards and 166.3 rating were all season lows last week against Kentucky; he was also intercepted once and had two other throws nearly picked. Jones has slid behind Florida’s Kyle Trask in the Heisman Trophy race but is still among the nation’s best passers this season and capable of winning a national title for Alabama. Will he remind the nation of that against Auburn? Defenses have been defending Jones differently, and instead of “getting a little greedy,” as Nick Saban said, Jones needs to take what the defense is giving him.

Mac has been far more than a game manager this season, but he doesn’t have to win games or even score points alone. With the talent around him, distributing the ball to playmakers is all that’s required. It’s going to be nearly impossible to get all of the gunslinger mentality out of him though, and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. He has brought a killer instinct to this offense, and it’s fun to watch.

Last, there is some decent football on for you today. Consider this your open thread.

11/27/2020

Game Time Watch
Game Time Watch
Iowa State at Texas 11:00 AM ABC (cable) / espn3 Video
UMass at Liberty 11:00 AM ESPN Extra / espn3 Video
Nebraska at Iowa 12:00 PM FOX (cable) / FOX Video / 4K on DTV: 105
Notre Dame at North Carolina 2:30 PM ABC (cable) / espn3 Video
UCF at South Florida 2:30 PM ESPN / ESPN Video
Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan 3:00 PM CBSSN / CBS Video
Stanford at California 3:00 PM FOX (cable) / FOX Video
Wyoming at UNLV 3:00 PM FS1 / FSGo
Oregon at Oregon State 6:30 PM ESPN / ESPN Video

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

Roll Tide.