When you watch Alabama vs. Auburn, you're watching one of the most bitter rivalries in all of sports.
This year's Iron Bowl doesn't have the same luster as the rivalry usually does, but the hate remains the same. Regardless of records, this is still one of the biggest games of the year to both fanbases.
As far as the records go, the two teams couldn't be headed in more opposite directions this season.
The Crimson Tide (10-1, 6-1) are once again on pace to be featured in the national championship game. The Tigers (3-8, 0-7) are in the midst of their worst season in recent memory and an offseason that is sure to see plenty of changes to the program.
Usually this is a game where "records don't matter." This year, that saying will be put to the test.
Here's a look at everything you need to know about this heated SEC rivalry game.
When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Live Stream: CBS Sports
Radio: Free Football Radio
Spread: Alabama -31.5 (via Covers)
Talk about a line that can make a blowout interesting, fans with a wager on this game could be on the edge of their seats throughout.
Barring any kind of miracle, the Tide will win this one easily, but 31.5 is a lot of points for anyone to cover. Throw in the fact that, according to Covers, the Crimson Tide are only 5-6 against the spread this season and this should be interesting.
The key to covering this spread will be defense. The Tide defense is the most stingy in the country and going against an Auburn unit that has no punch, it's tough to see Auburn scoring too many points.
With the defense shutting down the Tigers, the Tide offense should put up enough points to cover the huge spread.
Over/Under: 46 (via Covers)
With a spread of 31.5 and an over/under of 46, it's clear that oddsmakers don't like Auburn's chances at scoring any points.
Looking at the body of work from Auburn this season, the oddsmakers should be right.
Sure, the Tigers are coming off a 51-point performance, but that was against Alabama A&M—not exactly a true test of what this Auburn offense can do against Bama's defense.
What this really comes down to is whether you think the Crimson Tide will score over 46 points because you won't be getting much from Auburn. On the season, Alabama has eclipsed that point total just twice—last week against Western Carolina and in a 52-0 beatdown of Arkansas.
This game hits the over if Alabama carries it there, but the under is more likely.
Injury Report via USA Today (as of Nov. 21, 2012)
Enrique Florence, DB, Questionable
Avery Young, OL, Out for season
Philip Lutzenkirchen, TE, Out for season
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Probable
Eddie Lacy, RB, Probable
Kevin Norwood, WR, Questionable
John Fulton, DB, Questionable
Jalston Fowler, RB, Out for season
Dee Hart, RB, Out for season
DeAndrew White, WR, Out for season
Jarrick Williams, DB, Out for season
Chris Black, WR, Out for season
With a berth in the SEC championship game all sewn up, Alabama has to win this game to make sure it is playing for a BCS Title berth against Georgia. Clearly the Crimson Tide are huge favorites in the game, but the stakes don't get much higher than a national title berth on the line.
For Auburn, there's nothing on the line other than perhaps the outside chance that Gene Chizik can save his job with an upset for the ages.
Keys for Auburn Victory
Trade for Johnny Manziel.
All kidding aside, it's going to take a mammoth effort from everyone on the Tigers roster to pull off the upset on the road.
For a blueprint on how they can make this game competitive, they'll need to look back to their early-season 12-10 loss to LSU. In that game, the Tigers took away LSU's passing game and forced them to be one-dimensional on the ground.
If Auburn can force some turnovers and play good defense in the red zone, it may find a way to stay in this game.
Keys for Alabama Victory
The Crimson Tide must play with focus early on in this one.
With Auburn's horrible record and an SEC Championship game on the horizon, it would be easy to see why Alabama may not be all too worried about this game. However, they can lose focus at their own peril—Auburn will have no problems getting up for this game as it's the team's last chance to put a positive spin on this season.
Obviously the Tide have the advantage in every aspect of the game, it will just be a matter of making sure they don't beat themselves.
Considering this is a Nick Saban-coached team, it would be shocking to see the Tide come out and play flat.
Looking at what both teams have done this season, it's pretty clear which way this game will go.
SEC and Alabama detractors will have a difficult time watching this one. The Tide are well on their way to another appearance in the National Championship game and it's unlikely that the Auburn Tigers have what it takes to even make this one close.
Expect the Bama defense to put on yet another dominating display as AJ McCarron and company continue to look efficient on the offensive side of the football. The Tide should roll in this one.
Predicted Score: Alabama 34, Auburn 3
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