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Iron Bowl 2013: Last-Second Preview for Alabama vs. Auburn SEC Rivalry Game

November 24, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron (10) points out the defense against the Auburn Tigers during the second quarter at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2013

In the most anticipated matchup of college football’s rivalry week, the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0 overall, 7-0 conference) will square off against the No. 2 Auburn Tigers (10-1, 6-1) in the 2013 edition of the Iron Bowl.

These two SEC powerhouses have one of the fiercest in-state rivalries in the sport, and the programs have combined to win the last four BCS National Championships in a row.

With another possible title shot on the line, the stakes in this matchup are as high as fans will witness on Saturday.

Here is all the vital viewing information to catch the vaunted Iron Bowl, and a preview of what should be a hard-nosed defensive football game.

 

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

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.

Watch: CBS

Live Stream: CBS Sports Mobile

Radio: Free Football Radio

 

Preview and Prediction

Alabama comes into this matchup as the two-time defending BCS champion, but the road to a third national title in a row must go though Auburn.

The Crimson Tide have taken down every opponent on the tough SEC schedule thus far, but the Tigers program Alabama squares off against Saturday will be its most difficult test to date.

There is no denying that the stakes are high in the Iron Bowl, but Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate AJ McCarron told the AP via ESPN that he and his teammates are treating this like any other game:

I really don't care what their record is. They're still the next team in our way trying to take what we've worked for. It feels like we've been preparing for every other team, not really anything different. We all know it's a huge game and we're going to play our hearts out, preparing like we normally do.

The Crimson Tide deserve to be confident after a successful regular season thus far, but there is no question that the nerves of playing in a rivalry battle this important will have every player gritting their teeth just a bit harder.

While Texas A&M proved to be a tough test for Alabama earlier in the season (a close 49-42 win for the No. 1 team), the Crimson Tide’s most important matchup will come Saturday.

There is a berth in the SEC Championship on the line, and in turn, a defacto BCS title berth as well.

Auburn boasts the nation’s second-ranked rushing attack, averaging 320.3 yards per game and has scored at least 43 points in each of its six games. The pass attack has struggled to make a serious impact with only 179.6 yards per game, but quarterback Nick Marshall’s ability to move the chains with his legs gives the Tigers a serious chance to outshine the No. 1 team.

As well as Auburn has been playing offensively, Alabama boasts the NCAA’s best defense.

Besides the 42 points surrendered to the Aggies, the Crimson Tide have only allowed 60 total points in 10 games. While Auburn will point to the success of versatile quarterback Johnny Manziel as the key to the program’s performance against Alabama, the Texas A&M star is a much more prolific passer than Marshall.

Unless the Tigers suddenly develop chemistry in the pass attack, the Crimson Tide will walk out of Auburn with another Iron Bowl title and the team’s BCS Championship dreams intact.

Predicted Final Score: Alabama 41, Auburn 27

 

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