For Alabama haters, the Auburn Tigers represent the final team with any chance of knocking off the repeat champs after the Crimson Tide easily dispatched the LSU Tigers on Saturday night, 38-17. The 9-1 Tigers have a date with the Crimson Tide in the final week of the 2013 college football season.
It's hard to imagine Alabama has many doubters after wiping the floor with formidable LSU on Saturday night in Week 11. 'Bama held a tenuous three-point lead at halftime, but a 21-3 second-half surge left the Tigers in the dust.
Of the three games remaining on the regular-season schedule, Auburn is the only legitimate challenger. The Crimson Tide should easily take down 4-5 Mississippi State and 8-2 Southern powerhouse Chattanooga, improving to 10-0 in the process.
Auburn faces Georgia in Week 12, and the Bulldogs will surely test the Tigers and give them a run for their money.
However, given the way Auburn has taken care of business against Ole Miss, Texas A&M and most recently Tennessee, it'll be a shock if the Tigers don't win the game against Georgia to improve to 10-1 on the season.
Should this occur, then Auburn would not only have a chance to take Alabama's undefeated season away, but the Tigers would also be in a position to win the SEC West and set themselves up for a likely Sugar Bowl appearance.
Needless to say, the atmosphere surrounding this contest will be electric.
Alabama will be heavily favored unless it suffers an embarrassing loss to either Mississippi State or Chattanooga (not going to happen), but the Tigers have been proving people wrong all season long.
The contest will be a classic strength-versus-strength battle featuring Auburn's rushing offense against Alabama's phenomenal run defense.
Nick Marshall is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback that leads one of the nation's most dynamic and explosive rushing attacks. The Tigers average 320 yards of rushing offense per game, which ranks No. 3 in the nation.
Alabama's defense only allows 95.3 rushing yards per game, however, and teams have scored just five rushing touchdowns all year long against its defense. LSU was held to just 43 yards on 31 carries on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, averaging 1.4 yards per carry.
If the Auburn Tigers have as much trouble on the ground as the LSU Tigers did, then Alabama will easily come away with the victory to keep its undefeated season going. As good as Marshall is on the ground, he's only an average passer, having thrown eight touchdowns and five interceptions this year.
Meanwhile, senior Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron has proven over and over again this year and in years past that he's capable of putting up outstanding numbers through the air when his team needs him the most. He's thrown for 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions this year.
Even though Auburn will host this grand finale, this will be Alabama's game to lose.
The Crimson Tide have demonstrably proven to be the best team in the nation this season. With a chance to win its third consecutive title in the final year of the BCS, Alabama will rise to the occasion and beat Auburn with ease.
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