Auburn University Tigers vs. No. 1 University of Alabama Crimson Tide
The Auburn Tigers, pre-season SEC West favorites, are coming into the Iron Bowl with a 5-6 record and a six game winning streak against Alabama. There is nothing riding on this game for the Tigers, yet there is everything. A win by Auburn means a salvaged season, a bowl game and a continuation of the longest streak in Iron Bowl history for the orange and blue.
The Alabama Crimson Tide, the 2008 SEC West champs, is the top team in the country with an 11-0 record. However, they still need one more win to finish off the revenge tour. Alabama needs the win to not only stop Auburn's streak, but to complete Nick Saban's transformation of Alabama back to prominence.
Alabama wins this game if...
They play their game
Alabama has played tremendous football and nothing less will be needed to continue their perfect season.
Alabama will have to continue dominating the trenches, establish a power running game early and be the most physical team on the field. All three points have been major staples of the 2008 squad and the final and most important game of the season is no time to change.
With the Crimson Tide at full health, there should be no alterations in the Alabama game plan.
They can confuse Kodi Burns
Nick Saban is known to be a master of defense. He has the most complex schemes for his teams, but his defense also works to confuse opposing quarterbacks.
Kodi Burns will be no different.
This will be Burn's first Iron Bowl and Nick Saban is ready for him. Saban will work to baffle Burns by disguising blitzes and coverage's. This will give more opportunities for Burns to make a mistake.
Alabama will lose this game if...
The offense tries to get "too cute".
Alabama has been a smash mouth team for the whole season, but they have had a tendency to try new things at inopportune times.
In their struggles against University of Mississippi and Kentucky, Alabama got away from the things that were working and went completely conservative. Their conservative play resulted in less time on the field for their offense. Teams took advantage of their tired defense by driving the ball in on them.
If Alabama finds something that works, either running or passing, they need to stick with it and use that to their advantage for all four quarters. Any change from what works will give Auburn a chance to get back in the game.
They have another second half collapse
It happened against Georgia, then again against Kentucky, then the following game against Ole Miss. Alabama was up big at halftime, but won by a small margin.
The Crimson Tide have been solid in the first half all season, leading at halftime in every game except LSU, which was tied. The second half however, has been somewhat of a grab bag.
If Alabama can come out in the second half and move the ball, the Crimson Tide should cruise to their first win against Auburn since 2001, and first ever win in Tuscaloosa. If they manage to collapse, the second half of this game could get very, very interesting.
The X-factor will be...
Alabama Quarterback John Parker Wilson
Auburn’s losing streak has been a result of poor production from their senior quarterback play. Tyler Watts couldn't finish off the Tigers in 2002. Brodie Croyle spent more time on the ground than upright in 2005.
Now, its John Parker Wilson's turn.
Two years ago, JPW's two costly fumbles gave Auburn great field position. Last year, he played well enough to win, but had a bounce go against him in the end zone.
This year, if Wilson can play as well as he has all season, Alabama should have no problem winning the game. If he reverts back to his old self, this game will be a lot closer, and Alabama will have to rely on their running game.
Final Score Prediction
Alabama 27, Auburn 7