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Jumbo Package: Alabama at Auburn previews, predictions, and injury updates

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Chattanooga v Alabama Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images

Happy Friday, everyone. I trust that everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We all know what tomorrow is, so let’s just get to the previews, shall we?

Weird things tend to happen at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including 10 years ago when the Tigers shocked the Crimson Tide in the “Kick Six.” However, Auburn couldn’t find that magic last week against the Aggies, and it won’t find it this week against the Crimson Tide. The stingy Tide defense will shut down Auburn’s rushing attack, set up shop in the Tigers backfield and force Thorne into multiple game-changing mistakes. Even if this game is close for a quarter or two, the Tide will turn it sideways in the second half en route to an easy cover. Pick: Alabama -14.5

Auburn has to get out of the first 20 minutes alive.

Yeah, the Tigers were good enough to hang around with Georgia because they got up 10-0 - and they got rim-rocked by LSU after getting down 17-0 in the first quarter. They hung tough with Ole Miss deep into the fourth quarter with the game tied at 14 at halftime - and they never led against New Mexico State.

The emotion and energy of the rivalry game and the moment will keep Auburn around for the first quarter, and then the Alabama defense will settle in, Jalen Milroe will connect on one big touchdown pass, and a quick scoring burst will be way too much for the Auburn offense to overcome.

Alabama 34, Auburn 20

Alabama 24, Auburn 17: It’s no secret Jordan-Hare can be a place of nightmares for Alabama. The fact this game is being played in Auburn will make for a closer matchup than had it been in Tuscaloosa. Still, the Crimson Tide is the better team and emerges with the victory. But it will be a close one on the scoreboard.

Wasserman: Are we sure that Alabama’s warts are 100 percent healed and gone?

Ubben: No, I’m not.

Wasserman: Because sometimes if they do have warts that we have forgotten about while they played awesome in other games, they tend to kind of rear their ugly heads in rivalry situations where you’re on the road.

I don’t think I would ever bet this in real life because it would just be a miserable experience, but if I have to pick it on the show I think I’m taking the points here.

Game Prediction: Alabama 29, Auburn 18

We say here that the Crimson Tide, as they did the last time they played at Auburn, will struggle to take control of this game. But, in the fourth quarter, talent will win out, and Alabama will emerge with a win to secure a spot in the SEC title game against Georgia, with a spot in the CFP at stake on Dec. 2 in Atlanta.

Most analytic models favor Alabama to defeat its arch-rival this week.

That includes College Football Power Index, a computer prediction model that uses data points from both teams to simulate games 20,000 times to pick winners.

The index projects that Alabama will win the game in 85.7 percent of simulations, while Auburn came out the winner in the remaining 14.3 percent of sims.

The computer predicts that Alabama will defeat Auburn by 16.9 points, or by 17 points if we round that number up, enough to cover the line.

I’m really not a superstitious sort, so it’s tough for me to get behind the “Auburn voodoo” bit, despite some of the nonsense that we’ve seen happen in that stadium. A legitimate concern, however, is Alabama’s players and staff psyching themselves out because of the aforementioned nonsense. Tyler Booker said that his teammates have told him about “superpowers” given to Auburn players in Jordan-Hare.

As Nick Saban said earlier in the week, how the team executes will determine the outcome. Alabama’s players have, at times, failed to execute in Auburn, from penalties to turnovers, to whiffed blocks by defensive players called on to pass protect on the goal line. Auburn has had some lucky bounces for sure, and the officials certainly have been swayed by the raucous home crowd on occasion, but in general the Tide controls its own fate.

This team doesn’t seem to have the road woes of some of its predecessors. Perhaps some of that is Jalen Milroe’s infectious personality. Alabama players often look like they aren’t having a lot of fun in Jordan Hare, but it’s hard to imagine Milroe ever not enjoying himself on the field. He still has room to grow as a passer, but he’s as great a leader as any we’ve had at the position and seems to instill confidence in the players around him.

The bottom line is that this Alabama team is substantially better than Auburn. While this will be the toughest road environment that Milroe has faced, I think that his ability to make plays with his legs will quiet the crowd relatively early. Alabama’s elite secondary will shut down a bad Auburn passing game, and the Tigers won’t be able to find enough success on the ground to stay competitive.

Let’s call this one 34-13 Alabama. Of course, that is merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.

Poll

What will be the result of Alabama at Auburn?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Hugh reverts to his life of debauchery after a beatdown. Alabama by 15+
    (715 votes)
  • 23%
    Another frustrating game on the pasture but Alabama wins, Tide by 1-14
    (232 votes)
  • 2%
    Auburn pulls another upset (FLAGGED)
    (29 votes)
976 votes total Vote Now

Nick was as vague as ever, but it sounds like Alabama might get Deontae Lawson and Jaylen Key back tomorrow.

The injury status of Deontae Lawson and Jaylen Key, two defensive starters for Alabama football, has the most interest heading into the Iron Bowl. Nick Saban provided an injury update Wednesday night after practice.

“They’ve both practiced quite a bit this week,” Saban said. “Just see how they continue to progress.”

Lawson has missed the past two games with an ankle injury. Meanwhile Key has also missed the past two games with a quad injury. The duo was No. 2 and No. 3 on the team in tackling before the injuries.

SI wants to talk about voodoo.

But every other year, on the Plains, things seem to go the opposite way. The Crimson Tide is 6-10 at Jordan-Hare Stadium all time, including just two wins in the last five tries. Why? There’s really no answer to it. Alabama has probably brought the better team to Jordan-Hare Stadium every year other than Saban’s inaugural season.

Yet, the results haven’t shown that.

In fact, a Crimson Tide team that ended up actually winning a title lost to the Tigers in 2017. Four years prior, in 2013, Alabama was a back-to-back champion, on its way to the coveted three-peat. That was until Chris Davis returned Adam Griffith’s 57-yard field goal attempt for a touchdown in what became known as the “Kick Six.”

Jay Busbee captured the essence of the rivalry well in this excerpt.

For Auburn, a victory is a triumph over elitism, over that white-columned arrogant bunch of old-family-money snots over in Tuscaloosa. Auburn gauges itself by the Iron Bowl; a victory in this game can turn around an entire season.

For Alabama, though, the stakes are very different. Especially during the Bryant and Saban eras, the Tide has had its eyes on a much bigger prize than an in-state victory over those mouthy farm workers from the Plains. For the Tide, the Iron Bowl is less an achievement to be treasured, more a threat to be survived.

Last, Ole Miss won a rather ugly Egg Bowl last night. The action on the field wasn’t terribly exciting, but Bo Wallace playing internet badass was downright hilarious.

His timeline is quite entertaining, if you have some time for comedy. Bo was ready to throw hands with anyone, even a coffee shop. Well, he says he was, anyway.

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

Roll Tide.