Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers
Date and Time: Saturday, November 25, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
Opening College Football Odds: Alabama -4.5
Alabama vs. Auburn TV Coverage: CBS
The Crimson Tide might be the best team in America, but there's a legitimate question as to who they've played at this point in the season. Nick Saban's crew has probably already done enough to get into the playoff regardless as to what happens the rest of the way, but if this game is lost, there are going to be some questions for sure.
The best wins of the season for Alabama are against Mississippi State (who just looked awful against Arkansas), LSU (who already has three losses and really hasn't beaten much of anyone this year) and Texas A&M (who is in line for a third straight 8-5 season under the beleaguered Kevin Sumlin). Aside from that, the schedule hasn't been anything to write home about, and a 41-23 win over Colorado State probably showcases that this team can be had against the right foe.
Still, the raw stats for the Tide are once against alarming. They've got the top defense in America once again, allowing 245.4 yards per game 10.2 points per game, and this year, Jalen Hurts has this offense on the move to back it up. Alabama is averaging 479.7 yards and 41.4 points per game, and the argument could be made that Hurts should be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy this season.
Auburn has played its way back into the playoff discussion by blowing the doors off of Arkansas, Texas A&M, Georgia and Louisiana-Monroe in four straight weeks. The Tigers won't score 40+ against Alabama the same way they did against all four of those teams, but it's hard to argue with anything they've done this season. Auburn has put at least 40 on the board in eight of its 11 games this season, the exceptions were games against Clemson, LSU and Mercer.
Had we told any Tiger fan that Kamryn Pettway would have 76 rushing attempts in the regular season yet the team would have been fine offensively this year, they probably wouldn't have believed us. That said, Kerryon Johnson has been a beast, running for 1,172 yards and 16 touchdowns, and he'll be the focal point against Alabama on Saturday at Jordan-Hare.
Matchup to Watch
We say this every year in the Iron Bowl: If Auburn can hold its own in the trenches and dominate at the point of attack, it's going to have a shot. If it can't, it'll get blown out.
The Tigers probably have a better chance this year than most seasons against Alabama, particularly when it comes to running the football. The Crimson Tide are playing without Christian Miller, Mack Wilson and Shaun Dion Hamilton, and it's anyone's guess if the captain of this defense, Minkah Fitzpatrick will play thanks to his hamstring injury. Sitting out against Mercer was one thing, but Fitzpatrick would have a huge role here against Auburn and could be a massive difference-maker.
Alabama vs. Auburn Free Picks
It's not going to be a popular pick, but we think Auburn is absolutely live in this game at Jordan-Hare. Dare we say that the Tigers are the better of these two teams? We think it's believable, certainly more so than the top college football sportsbooks are leading on to believe.
If the Tigers can figure out how to keep the ball moving on the ground with Johnson and Kam Martin – something they've done successfully against everyone else in America this season – they're going to have a shot at keeping their name in the hat for the College Football Playoff.
College Football ATS Pick: Auburn +4.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Auburn 30, Alabama 20