When it comes to college football, few rivalry games are as storied or physical as the Iron Bowl. In 2013, the feud will be taken to new heights when the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide travel to play the No. 4 Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The question is, what are the most significant long-term ramifications that this game could hold?
Date: Saturday, Nov. 30
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
National Championship Game
At this point in time, the Crimson Tide are all but unanimously expected to reach the BCS National Championship Game. Alabama has won each of the past two national titles, and has been ranked No. 1 in the nation in every week of the 2013 regular season.
Expectations aside, Nick Saban's crew isn't the only team from the state of Alabama that could end up competing for the crown.
If Auburn finds a way to upset Alabama, the Tigers could be the team that represents the SEC in the National Championship Game. There would need to be some changes at the top, specifically with either the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles or No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes potentially dropping a game.
If that is to happen, Auburn could make a last-minute leap into the title picture.
Clearly, there's more to this than a pair of wins and losses. Even if Florida State or Ohio State were to lose, both Alabama and Auburn would need to win in the SEC Championship Game, which is hardly a guaranteed result.
Either the No. 5 Missouri Tigers or the No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks will represent the SEC East in the conference championship. Missouri is just as much of a national title contender as Auburn. If the previously alluded to scenario plays out, a win over the Tigers could punch Missouri's ticket to the title game.
There's a lot of uncertainty, but Alabama versus Auburn will go a long way towards determining which team plays for the national title.
Heisman Trophy Race
Johnny Manziel posted a dud in his most significant game. Jameis Winston appears to be the favorite, but hasn't yet run away with the Heisman Trophy. All in all, it's an open race for the most prestigious individual award in college football.
Alabama versus Auburn could have significant ramifications on the race for the Heisman.
For Alabama, the top contender is senior quarterback AJ McCarron. He currently has 2,399 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions on a completion percentage of 68.6. McCarron also has two national championships and has out-dueled Johnny Football and Zach Mettenberger.
He isn't your conventional contender, but if McCarron can lead wins over Auburn, the LSU Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels and South Carolina Gamecocks in one season, it'd be hard to do anything but invite him to New York.
For Auburn, the dark horse and underrated option is running back Tre Mason. Mason has 1,153 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, topping 100 yards against LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and the Georgia Bulldogs.
If he can strike again and lead Auburn to an upset of Alabama, it'd be difficult to do anything but consider Mason as a Heisman candidate.
Winston remains the leader of the pack, but a win in either direction could help a new candidate emerge. There's no guarantee that a member of the Crimson Tide or Tigers will win, but a breakout performance here could go a long way toward determining a finalist.
If you didn't know before, you know now: the 2013 Iron Bowl is one of the most important bouts of all time.
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