The 85th Iron Bowl game featuring Auburn and Alabama battling against each other in an in-state and SEC rivalry game will take place at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are coming off of a 63-3 shellacking of Kentucky, while the No.. 22 Tigers dispatched of Tennessee 30-17 last weekend on The Plains.
The undefeated Crimson Tide are on a beeline toward the SEC Championship Game and a berth in the College Football Playoff behind one of the most potent offenses in the country. Quarterback Mac Jones is averaging 346.6 passing yards per game, has an 18-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and is second in the nation in completion percentage (77.1%) among qualifying quarterbacks. However, the Tide will be playing without coach Nick Saban on the sidelines following his positive COVID-19 test Wednesday in which he was showing symptoms.
The Tigers aren't scared of the crimson and white, though. The Tigers have won two of the last three meetings in the rivalry and coach Gus Malzahn's 3-4 record against Alabama makes him the most successful coach in the SEC against the Tide.
Let's break down the matchup and make picks straight up and against the spread.
Alabama: Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle torched Auburn last year, but the electric wide receiver for the Crimson Tide won't be around this weekend after injuring his leg in October. That puts pressure on John Metchie III to provide support to all-everything star DeVonta Smith outside. Running back Najee Harris should be a big part of the game plan on Saturday. The senior has 797 rushing yards and a nation's best 16 touchdowns. He will be going up against an Auburn run defense that leaves a lot to be desired. Alabama's defense has given up less than four yards per play over the last two games, which will come in handy against an Auburn offense that is predicated on loosening up defenses with explosive plays.
Auburn: Quarterback Bo Nix and the Tigers offensive line has found a spark after Malzahn and offensive coordinator Chad Morris incorporated more zone read and quick crossing routes into the game plan. Nix has five touchdowns and only one interception, and has added 143 rushing yards over the last three games. The status of running back Tank Bigsby will be a big storyline to watch. The star true freshman injured his hip against the Volunteers and is questionable heading into the matchup. Shaun Shivers and D.J. Williams picked up the slack last weekend after he went down.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 28 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)
Alabama vs. Auburn prediction, picks
Jones might not need to throw a single pass. Auburn's defensive front has been brutal against the run and star linebacker K.J. Britt is still out with an injury. Because of that, expect Harris to run over, around and through the Tigers defense. With that said, can he do enough to cover? Nope. Malzahn always has a trick or two (or five) up his sleeve in the Iron Bowl, and there's no doubt that they'll be used in key spots in order to either keep momentum or swing it back on the side of the orange and blue. It'll be enough to cover ... even if Alabama dominates the majority of the 60 minutes. Pick: Auburn +24.5
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