No. 8 Alabama and Auburn will meet Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in the 2023 edition of their annual in-state Iron Bowl rivalry game as the Crimson Tide look to go unbeaten in SEC regular-season play and head into the SEC Championship Game holding onto a chance of making the College Football Playoff. With Alabama having a nonconference loss to one-loss Texas on the résumé, it's paramount the Tide dispatch of Auburn in the Iron Bowl to gain some style points the selection committee may consider. 

Auburn, on the other hand, is coming off one of its most embarrassing losses in the modern era. The Tigers fell at home to New Mexico State 31-10 last weekend, dropping their record to 6-5 and likely knocking them down to a lower-tier bowl. Coach Hugh Freeze has had a rollercoaster of a debut season on the Plains, so ending on a high note with an upset over the Tigers' in-state rival would go a long way toward calming down a disappointed fan base. 

What should you expect on Saturday afternoon? Let's break down the rivalry and make picks straight up and against the spread.

Check out LIVE updates from Alabama vs. Auburn

How to watch Auburn vs. Alabama live

Date: Saturday, Nov. 25 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium -- Auburn, Alabama
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.comCBS Sports App (Free)
Streaming on Paramount+ with Showtime (Try It Free)

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Auburn vs. Alabama: Need to know

Jalen Milroe is hot: It's been fascinating to watch Milroe's progression in his first season as starting quarterback. He has steadily progressed into one of the top signal-callers in the nation since being benched in Week 3 vs. South Florida. Milroe has only tossed three interceptions since the start of October, has accounted for 13 touchdowns since the start of November, is second in the nation in yards per attempt (10.6) -- behind only LSU's Jayden Daniels -- and is tied for second in the conference in rushing touchdowns (12). 

"I think he's been pretty effective in his choices of when to step up in the pocket, when to run, when he has an opportunity to make a play, when he doesn't," coach Nick Saban said on Monday. "But I think the thing he's developed is the ability to keep his eyes downfield and make plays in the passing game, even when the pocket breaks down. I think he's been an effective runner for us when we've had perimeter plays that involve reads on his part to get to the perimeter. I think both those things help us overall, offensively, in terms of what the defense has to defend."

Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, who was selected as a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, has done a tremendous job of working with Milroe and accentuating his strengths as the season has progressed. The marriage between the two has transformed the Alabama offense from a liability into a one of the most dangerous units in the game.

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What will Auburn's mindset be? All seemed right in the world after Auburn went to Arkansas and dominated the Razorbacks 48-10 on Nov. 11, but last week saw that momentum come to a screeching halt in the disastrous loss to New Mexico State. Where will the heads of Auburn's players and coaches be? It's easy to say that they've moved on, but it's a much different thing to actually do it -- especially for 18-to-22-year-old young men.

Freeze knows that this is one of the most important aspects of game-week preparation for the Tide.

"Now we've quickly got to turn the page and put that behind us for sure, because we all know what the Iron Bowl means to so many. And you can fix your feelings a whole heck of a lot with a good performance in that game," he said on Monday.

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Could Auburn have overlooked New Mexico State and spent more time getting ready for Alabama last week? It would explain last week's loss a little bit. We'll see when they come out of the tunnel on Saturday afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Ground-and-pound: It's unlikely that Alabama will feel threatened by the Auburn passing game as starting quarterback Payton Thorne has been far from a difference-maker in his first season since transferring from Michigan State. However, even though Auburn has been one-dimensional by necessity, its running game has still been able to have success despite defenses keying on it all season. It ranks third in the SEC in rushing offense at 194.27 yards per game, and running back Jarquez Hunter has topped the 100-yard mark on the ground in three of Auburn's last four games.

"No one is running too much on that defensive front," Freeze said. "We'll have a good plan. Our backs are good, our tight ends are good and our o-line is competitive, but we do need to establish the run game. It will be no fun if you're having to drop back and throw every down, that won't work. No. 15 (Dallas Turner) and No. 41 (Chris Braswell) off the edge for them are both really, really good. We need to stay balanced and make them have to honor the run game." 

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The Crimson Tide's rushing defense has held teams below 4 yards per play in five of their last six games. If they can shut down Auburn's rushing attack, it's unlikely that Thorne and the Tigers will be able to hang in this matchup.

Auburn vs. Alabama prediction, picks

Odds via SportsLine consensus

Weird things tend to happen at Jordan-Hare Stadium, including 10 years ago when the Tigers shocked the Crimson Tide in the "Kick Six." However, Auburn couldn't find that magic last week against the Aggies, and it won't find it this week against the Crimson Tide. The stingy Tide defense will shut down Auburn's rushing attack, set up shop in the Tigers backfield and force Thorne into multiple game-changing mistakes. Even if this game is close for a quarter or two, the Tide will turn it sideways in the second half en route to an easy cover. Pick: Alabama -14.5

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 13, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.

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