The 11-1 (7-1 SEC) No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide visited Jordan-Hare Stadium today and walked away with a victory in the 76th annual Iron Bowl. The 7-5 (4-4 SEC) No. 24 Auburn Tigers were unable to create enough plays to take the game away from the Tide.
While the Tigers were unable to make plays this year against the Tide, the Tigers look to have an edge next season in a number of areas. For the third season in a row, the Iron Bowl held national title implications. With the talent that returns for both teams next year, there will be a chance for the game to produce a fourth title opponent in 2012 as well.
Look for the Iron Bowl to continue to produce quality football well into the future as these two teams continue to recruit well and are building very good futures with their football programs.
Looking ahead to 2012, here are six reasons why the Tigers will win the Iron Bowl in 2012.
Auburn faced a wealth of adversity this season. The Tigers were able to win seven games in the regular season and earn themselves a bowl berth, but losing in the Iron Bowl takes the fun out of any reward that a bowl game can give this team. They lost to Alabama at home.
That's an experience that these young Tigers will never forget and one that they will never want to repeat. For Auburn’s offense, not one senior touched the football. Only two juniors were impacting in any capacity on offense with Philip Lutzenkirchen and Onterio McCalebb having big games for the Tigers.
There has been a level of inconsistency that the Tigers have had on both sides of the ball, and a number of those issues have come from the youth that the Tigers have across the board. On defense, only two seniors are starters. With only four starters being lost and 18 returning, the Tigers may be the most experienced squad in the country.
The Tigers took their lumps this season, especially on the road and against superior talent, but they will be back with a wealth of talent, leadership and experience across the board. These Tigers will be a force next season as they will be looking to fight for the SEC West for the second time in three seasons.
The Iron Bowl was originally played every year in Birmingham at Legion Field. The metal working industry was a staple for the Birmingham economy in the early days of the rivalry, thus the Iron Bowl was born.
The Iron Bowl was only played in Tuscaloosa twice prior to the 2000 season, and the game was only first played in Auburn in 1989. Now, the Tigers and Tide rotate home games in the series, and Alabama hosts the Tigers in Tuscaloosa annually. Unfortunately for the Tide, they have lost seven of the eight games played in Tuscaloosa.
The Tigers will look to continue to keep history on their side as they travel to Tuscaloosa in 2012. The Tigers will be ready to return the home-loss favor to the Tide after losing big this season at home. Never underestimate the power of history as the Tigers seem to find ways to win in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama is one of the most talented teams in college football this season. The Tide coaching staff has recruited extremely well, and this may be one of the most talented football teams in Alabama’s recent history.
The Tide will lose five seniors on defense and four seniors on offense. There are another two juniors on Alabama’s offense that could leave for the NFL today. The defense has another three juniors that could leave early as well.
The Alabama team will surely reload with the talent that remains, but the gaps that will be left are bigger than most expect.
Losing nine starters and 21 seniors will be a tough blow to the leadership and tenacity of this squad. Bama will be talented, but losing that much will cost them.
Auburn has struggled with consistency on defense all throughout the season. They will only lose two starters after this season and will return the majority of their playmakers. Auburn’s defense has a lot of room for improvement after this year, but the biggest help to the Tigers has been the experience gained that comes with the lumps taken in 2011.
Auburn has the athleticism to be one of the better defenses in the conference this coming season. Couple that with their experience from this year and the Tigers should be able to find the right reads in 2012.
Auburn will be much improved and will hope to be a shutdown squad in 2012.
With experience comes leadership and the Auburn Tigers lacked much-needed leadership this season. With a quarterback controversy that went deep into the season and injuries to some of Auburn’s few seniors, it was tough for the Tigers to believe in their ability to will a comeback win.
The Tigers will have a core group of players that will be back next season that will have been through a national title and through a very mediocre season. They will understand what it means to win but also understand how it feels to lose big games.
The Tigers will have a great chance at being one of the best teams in the country next season as they will have a wealth of talent and a full class of upper classmen.
Auburn looked ineffective for the majority of the night against Alabama’s defense. What did have some effectiveness to it was Auburn’s zone-read option play with Kiehl Frazier. Clint Moseley appeared to give the game a good ole college try, but he looked very inefficiency and indecisive throughout the game.
Frazier is undoubtedly the most athletic of any of Auburn’s quarterback options, and he's also the best option for the Tigers to have success next season. The Tigers offensive line has not done the quarterbacks any favors this season, but Frazier is the future for Auburn.
He has not been the most effective through the air, but an offseason to prepare as the starter and Frazier will be an extremely effective quarterback in 2012. With his ability to run the read option, Auburn will be able to take advantage of every opponent next season with the wealth of skill talent that will be on the field for the Tigers.