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Week 13 – Auburn at Alabama
Posted Nov 22, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Auburn at Alabama

Auburn (3-8) at Alabama (10-1) Nov. 24, 3:30, CBS

Here’s The Deal: It’s the old cliché coming to life. If your team went 1-11, but that one win was against the rival, the season was a success.

At least that’s what fans of bad teams say.

There might have been some heartbreaking losses over the years in the Iron Bowl, and the road to the national title has travelled through this game over the last three seasons, but is there a possibility of something truly wacky ready to happen this year? Is it remotely possible that the upset of all upsets could blow up the BCS? Probably not, but it’s worth giving more than just a passing glance in what normally would be blown off as an ugly mismatch.

Auburn is 0-7 in SEC play and its only FBS wins this season came in overtime against ULM and in a blowout over New Mexico State. Last week’s 51-7 layup against Alabama A&M was a fun exercise, but it’s going to take something special – like ruining an archrival’s national championship dream – to 100% insure that Gene Chizik is going to be back next season and to make everyone realize that this is a young team that just might need a little bit of time.

In all the BCS championship scenarios and possibilities, everyone has to put what would happen in if Auburn wins this game, but there’s nothing to suggest that this might be close. Out of all the parts of the puzzle left to fit, this appears to be the only corner piece remaining.

The Tide got its second chance at life when Oregon and Kansas State gagged within minutes of each other last Saturday night, and now it’ll only take a win over a bad team this week and against Georgia in the SEC championship to get to a second straight BCS championship with a shot at a third national title in four seasons.

Cam Auburn pull off the miracle? Can Alabama keep struggling and not playing up to its hype? With Florida-Florida State, Oregon-Oregon State and Oklahoma State-Oklahoma all happening at the same time, the Iron Bowl might not get more attention than the crawl at the bottom of the screen, but it’s still the Iron Bowl. Whatever happens, the other 364 days of the year will revolve around it.

Why Auburn Might Win: Beyond all of the hokey “it’s a rivalry game” rhetoric, Auburn might have a shot to make this interesting if running attack can do just enough to shorten the game. Alabama might be No. 2 in the nation in total defense, No. 1 in scoring defense, and third against the run, but it had problems against Texas A&M and LSU when push came to shove, giving up over 100 yards on the ground for the first two times all season. Auburn might not have the offensive line to do what the other Tigers or the Aggies did, but the offense started to find something against the cupcakes cranking out 311 yards and four touchdowns against New Mexico State and 341 yards and five scores against Alabama A&M. Obviously the competition had a little something to do with it, but Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb went off in both games with each tearing off over 100 yards.

Why Alabama Might Win: Alabama isn’t Alabama A&M or New Mexico State. The Tide’s defensive front three won’t allow the Tigers to make anything happen up the middle, while the speed at linebacker will keep Mason and McCalebb from doing anything of note on the outside. The offense isn’t going to go on any long drives and it’s not going to come up with any home runs, so it’s going to need to win the turnover battle and hope beyond hope that it can convert on every mistake. The problem is that the defense doesn’t come up with big plays with just two picks on the year and two fumble recoveries in the last four games. Alabama is 13th in the nation in turnover margin.

What To Watch Out For: Auburn quarterback Jonathan Wallace has looked the part after being thrown into the fire. The freshman has completed 41-of-66 passes for 640 yards and four touchdowns with two picks in his limited time, and while he hasn’t made the offense special has hasn’t been a liability. The offense has come down to Mason and McCalebb, with Mason 80 yards away from getting to 1,000 helped by 152 yards against NMSU and 181 against Alabama A&M, while McCalebb ran for 217 yards and four scores in those two games. McCalebb has never had much luck against the Tide, but he’ll be used in a variety of ways.

What Will Happen: Alabama got the breaks it needed, and it’s not going to blow it now. The Tide will get up early with a few quick scores, and the defense will take care of the rest in a cakewalk to the SEC championship.

CFN Prediction: Alabama 41 … Auburn 10
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Alabama -32 O/U: 46
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 2.5