Staff Predictions for Alabama vs Auburn
There is a lot on the line during rivalry week, but there is no game bigger than the one in the state of Alabama.
The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers meet for the 82nd time in the two programs history with this game having high stakes with the SEC West and a SEC Championship bid is on the line. Gus Malzahn has only beat the Crimson Tide once and that was in 2014 at home.
Will luck go in favor with the Auburn Tigers once again, or will the Crimson Tide remain undefeated and play the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta? Here is who the Tide 102.9 staff has coming away with the Iron Bowl victory.
Martin Houston, Host of The Blitz
The mother of all college football rivalries is finally here! The King of the Hill is in for a big test, but have an opportunity to silence the critics in a big way. Nick Saban has probably done his best job of coaching in sometime, but will it be enough. It will not rest on him, but on his assistants. This game is filled with Broyles Assistant Coaches of the Year Candidates on both sides of the ball and on both team. There are so many potential X-factors, the line of scrimmage, young LBs, dominant RBs, QB play, the crowd, emotions,etc. But I️ think everything hinges on the Daboll vs Steele, and Pruitt vs Lindsey matchups. Daboll will have to call his best game, unhinging Jalen, incorporating Jacobs, running Harris and Scarbrough and mixing in a passing game the includes screens, TEs, RBs & a Calvin Ridley that touches the ball from Slot, wideout and maybe even the sweep! If he does that and Jeremy Pruitt continues his dominance of Gus and the Tigers, Alabama will be fine. Bama moves to 12-0, as Pruitt gets the Defense back on track and repeats the performances he had at FSU, Georgia & Bama, coupled with Bama’s Best Offensive Game in over a month. This score will seem a little Homer, but if Bama can strike First to a 10-14 point lead, they win by 17 plus. Alabama 34 - Auburn 17
Wimp Sanderson, Co-Host of Inside the Locker Room
This will be a hard fought game with a lot ahead for winner. I always side with the more talented team and I believe that's Bama. Look for Jalen Hurts to be the difference. Alabama 24 - Auburn 21
Barry Sanderson, Co-Host of Inside the Locker Room
I believe Jalen Hurts demeanor will prove to be a huge factor in the game. He will keep the offense calm and help the Tide pull away in the fourth quarter with a late score. Alabama 31 - Auburn 20
Gary Harris, Host of The Gary Harris Show
The 82nd Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium will decide which team, Alabama or Auburn represents the SEC West in the conference championship game against Georgia. The game will also go a long way in deciding what the college football playoffs look like. Alabama fans are nervous because the last two times that Auburn had championship caliber teams, in 2010 and 2013, the Tigers defeated Alabama in dramatic fashion. This is 2017 though, and this Alabama team isn't concerned with the past. This Alabama team is concerned with Saturday and while Auburn is an excellent football team, Alabama is better! The Tide will prove that in the Iron Bowl. Alabama 33 - Auburn 23
Travis Reier, Host of Southern Fried Sports
Two things we can usually count on in Iron Bowl: a hotly-contested affair and plenty of field goals. We’ll get both on Saturday. Alabama 30 - Auburn 23.
Aaron Suttles, Host of The Suttles Approach
Alabama has Jalen Hurts, Auburn doesn’t. That’s the difference in my mind. JK Scott will play a key factor also. Fiend position and turnovers will also have their say. Alabama 24 - Auburn 23
Ryan Fowler, Host of The Game
All week long, I have struggled with my prediction for the Iron Bowl game. I feel strongly that we are about to witness what could the greatest game in this long rivalry. When you begin breaking down the 2 teams, they are evenly matched and it hard to find a significant difference for either. Except when it comes to coaching, Nick Saban at Alabama is 27-7 against AP top 10 teams and Gus Malzahn is 5-9 against top 10 teams. I just believe that Saban, Daboll, and Pruitt is much better than Malzahn, Steele, and Lindsey and I trust them more in these type of games. I also think Jalen Hurts will have a great game and will be the difference for the Crimson Tide. Alabama 34 - Auburn 21
Ben George, Digital Managing Editor
You could have asked me how I felt about this game every month this season and I'd probably give you a different answer each time. These two programs seemed close early in the season. Then Auburn looked very beatable against Clemson and the second half against LSU. Now this game looks like a toss-up and oddsmakers agree. There's no doubt this is a spot that the Auburn program loves and usually thrives in, but Jalen Hurts didn't grow up around this series and won't pay any attention to history. I think this one could go the way of 2009 with Hurts orchestrating a fourth-quarter drive for the win. Alabama 30 - Auburn 26
Thomas Paradiso, Producer
The Iron Bowl. The match-up that everyone in the SEC will be watching. Both Alabama and Auburn seem to peaking at the right time. The only problem is, only one can get to the SEC Championship. The last time we saw this Alabama team on the road was against Mississippi State, and while the Tide looked rusty, they still pulled out the win. Both now they travel to Auburn, which will be just as loud and just as intimidating. I think Alabama wins, but this will be a close one in Jordan-Hare. Push all the chips to the center of the table, let the cards fall where they may, and most importantly of all, grab some heart medication, everything is on the line. Alabama 28 - Auburn 25
Josh Smith, Producer
Seeking to earn their 46th victory over the Tigers, and eighth under head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide will travel to Jordan-Hare, where Auburn has the slight advantage with eight wins over Bama's five. In the last 10 years Alabama has averaged 33 points, while Auburn has averaged 18. Be prepared and expect a close one this year, Auburn has won four out of the seven times both teams have been ranked in the top ten facing each other Thanksgiving weekend. Alabama 31 - Auburn 27
James Hardy, Producer
Iconic plays and All-American players have come to define college football's top rivalry. Expect another classic inside Jordan-Hare Stadium as the likes of Jarrett Stidham, Jalen Hurts, Damien Harris and Kerryon Johnson will have their opportunity to shine throughout the game. The primary key for Alabama will be their ability to stay poised in one of college football's most hostile atmospheres. That's where the biggest strength for Jalen Hurts comes into play, his poise. Expect his leadership and big play ability in crunch time to be the difference. Alabama 31 - Auburn 30
Marquis Munson, Brand Manager
This game has all the makings of another instant classic. The Tigers have a ton of weapons on both ends of the football and Kerryon Johnson is a stud. Even Auburn's kicker is a player to watch in this game because of his ability to kick from 50 plus. But Auburn has some holes in their secondary and Georgia could have took advantage of that but Fromm misfired on a few. If the line can protect Jalen and he looks downfield to his receivers, this could be a big win for the Crimson Tide. Auburn will keep it close, but not close enough in the Iron Bowl. Alabama 34 - Auburn 24