Iron Bowl 2011: Complete Preview, Live Stream, Start Time and More

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide  celebrates on the sideline during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Iron Bowl between the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide needs no introduction.

The annual brawl originated in 1893 and is one of the best rivalries in all of sports. It is not just about two football teams—it is about an entire state.

People in Alabama have to make a decision and it ends with either "War Eagle" or "Roll Tide."

These two programs have played so many classic games including last year's monumental comeback game that we honestly believe anything is possible when these two take the field.

 

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 15: T'Sharvan Bell #22 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates with fans after the game against the Florida Gators at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium; Auburn, Alabama

When: Saturday, November 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

Listen: Alabama Radio Affiliates. Auburn Radio Affiliates.

Betting Line: Alabama -21

 

Key Storyline: National championship hopes

It is hardly a surprise that there are national championship ramifications attached to this game. These two programs have 15 "claimed" national titles between the two of them and 37 conference titles (29 have been in the SEC).

Plain and simple and regardless of record, these two teams take to the field with the state of Alabama holding its breath.

This year is no different.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22:  Dont'a Hightower #30 and Courtney Upshaw #41 of the Alabama Crimson Tide react after a defensive stop against the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Co
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

 

Who Might Not Play For Alabama

Darius Hanks, WR: Questionable (Ankle)

 

Who Might Not Play For Auburn

Brandon Mosley, OL: Questionable (Knee)

 

BCS/Top 25 Implications

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head coach Gene Chizik yells to his team during their game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Tigers have flirted in and out of the rankings and are currently just outside the Top 25 in the polls. They are, however, No. 24 in the BCS rankings

Alabama, whose only loss of the year was in OT against No. 1 LSU, is back up to No. 2 in all polls following a string of huge upsets last week.

The Tide may not get a shot at the SEC title regardless of outcome in the Iron Bowl, but they are sitting in line for a rematch with the LSU Tigers should they both win out.

 

What They're Saying

Tuscaloosa News talked about the Crimson Tide staying focused on the task at hand. The Iron Bowl isn't just another rivalry. Too many times in the past have these two ruined each others' postseason hopes:

If national championship aspirations aren't enough, Alabama can look back to last year's 28-27 loss to Auburn in a game where UA had a chance to derail the Tigers' run to the national title after building a 24-0 first-half lead ... Saban has made sure his players haven't forgotten the year-ago loss to Auburn.

Soon after that contest, signs appeared around the UA football complex with a mission statement: "Never Again." Players can't go to practice or team meetings or the weight room or locker room without running into the reminders.

 

Alabama Player To Watch: Trent Richardson, RB

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs with the ball during the first half of the game against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

He's currently the Heisman favorite, Richardson has 22 all-purpose touchdowns so far this season and over 1,500 yards. Considering defenses consistently key on him due to their inexperienced quarterback and lack of a passing game, it is quite remarkable what he's done.

This trophy is his to lose and a defining performance in the Iron Bowl could seal it.

 

Auburn Player To Watch: Michael Dyer, RB

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 01:  Michael Dyer #5 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after a touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Tigers' best chance to score points will come in the form of sophomore running back Michael Dyer. Auburn's struggled with consistency at the quarterback position, but Dyer is still averaging over five yards per carry and has scored 10 touchdowns to go with his 1194 yards.

Alabama is an absolutely dominant defense front though.

If he can have any success at all, it will be huge for Auburn's efforts.

 

Key Matchup: Auburn offensive line vs. Alabama defensive line

The Tigers won't be able to throw on the Tide. Alabama's secondary features two likely first-round picks in this year's draft and a number of other talented players.

Led by Mark Barron at safety, the Alabama secondary is one of the most fearsome in the nation.

So it falls on the Auburn offensive line, which lost so many players from a year ago and a top recruit (to Alabama, although he missed the season with injury), to step up and perform.

If the Tigers cannot run the football they have no chance at winning this football game.

 

Prediction: Alabama 31, Auburn 7