#1 ALABAMA (11-0,7-0 SEC) @AUBURN (7-4, 3-4 SEC)
Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo
TUSCALOOSA,ALA– “Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.”- John Wooden.
Nicky Saban and his Bama Boys may still be undefeated on their way to yet another SEC Championship game. Oh wait after 13 weeks of football still remain the #`1 team in the country don’t think for a minute they are going to just put it into cruise control for the final game of the regular season especially when it comes to the Iron Bowl. If anything you can expect the Crimson to put it into hyper drive for this match-up!
As for Malzahn and the Tigers they are hoping that even in their shortcomings that they can find something from within that only these sorts of match-ups tend to bring out in a team and spoil the party and find a way to end Bamas’ perfect run! While it doesn’t put them back on top or get the a place at the head of the table just the fact that they could be the ones that were able to do it is more than enough satisfaction for this ball club.
Week 13: Saturday, Nov. 24th,2018
Kick-Off: 2:30 PM CT
Venue: BRYANT-DENNY STADIUM, TUSCALOOSA,ALA
The Crimson Tide has defied the odds yet again this college football season showing that if there is a will there is always a way to stay on top and get back on glory road. Week in and week out it seemed that the disbelief that this Tide team couldn’t possibly do what they have done no longer seems to be an issue. Say what you will this may not be the prototypical “BAMA BEST” ball club in the programs history but hell Nicky and the Tide haven’t seemed to show signs of being stopped or slowing down. Yes, there was a bit of scare against the Citadel but come on folks love or hate this ball club one must still have to tip their hats to a job more than well done!
Plain and simple Malzahn and the Tigers have had their ups and downs this season not to mention it still seems that there are a great deal of kinks that haven’t seemed to be worked out over the course of this season. Quite frankly if they haven’t been resolved yet there probably not going to get resolved playing a team like Alabama. However, Auburn is riding off a high from Week 12 shutting out Liberty-53-0. Like I have always said in rivalry games especially the history this one has you can bet that while the Tigers may not have been playing like a team that could be a thorn in the side of the Crimson don’t hold count your chickens just yet Bama Fans. In moments like these there are a lot more factors than just looking good on a stat sheet and being stacked that will secure a win. The fact that Auburn has the chance to spoil the Crimson undefeated roll and make their road to the CFP a little less cushiony could be a huge factor and game changer for Auburn on the road. Stranger things have happened folks!
Kick-Off Keys To The Game
Keys for the Crimson
Revenge & Scorned
While the saying may go , “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” The principle behind that saying easily can be applied in today’s match up. While Nicky Saban may not publicly be announcing the bitter taste that still lingers from the Tides only loss last season courtesy of Auburn which also kept them out of the SEC Championship last season doesn’t mean that won’t be a driving force in today’s key and motivations to this match-up. While Saban is not “plotting” or “scheming” his entire playbook on this you can be sure he has found someway to make sure his personnel and his staff will not make this game a repeat again especially on the road to the CFP. So you can be sure the Tide will be using this monkey on their back as a means to keep the intensity coming for 4 QTRS today at Bryant-Denny.
Keep On Rolling
While Tua has been the dominant signal caller leading this explosive Tide Offensive Arsenal the fact that they have been able to bring in Hurts as well as brought a unique dynamic for Bama that has proven to make all the difference this season in their production department. While there have been bumps in the road the Tide offensively has found their niche in producing and needs to keep sticking to what works today. The adaptability of this offensive makes it tough to really be able to stop or slow down and with the intensity of the rivalry factor you can be sure Saban and company will be running and rolling all over the Tigers till their red or blue in the face.
Many have said this isn’t Alabama’s “signature” defense but where I have been standing from most of the season it’s pretty damn good to say the least. The Alabama D shouldn’t have too big a challenge to shake up what Auburn is cooking up but of course they can’t ignore it either. Alabama can’t afford to just hand out opportunities for the Tigers to even get an inch of production and points rolling if they don’t want to have a repeat. The defense needs to put pressure on the weak points of offense which is their lack of protection by the O-Line and limiting their limited running field. More importantly they bet not let the little cub, WR Anthony Schwartz conjure up some speed in the backfield to make some impact plays on running and receiving . He may just be one player but it just takes one player to make change things around if in the right position.
Keys for the Tigers
Germinate the Offense
The Tigers Offense led by Jarrett Stidham have had their issues this seasons. This game will be no different especially when you have the Alabama Defense across you breathing down your neck every chance they get. Aside from simply needing to put up as many points on the board before they get to far behind. Auburn needs to find a way to get their Offensive Line to step up big this afternoon and do a better job of protecting their signal caller and opening up some running room to get things rolling quickly and consistently.
May The Schwartz Be With You
If there ever was a moment for a “Cub” to emerge it is going to be in this game if nowhere else. Look for the Tigers to rely on their Freshman WR, Anthony Schwartz to be their go to play maker. If Schwartz can put his speed into overdrive to produce some impact run & receiving plays that could be the difference in this game.
Showing Up & Stepping Out
Let’s be realistic the Auburn D is not going to completely be able to stop or slow down the Tide (if it’s any consolation no one really has been able to ) but doesn’t mean that it’s a time to be dormant or complacent. After all a little can go a long way just ask the little engine that could. Today, it will be about putting the past in their rear view and looking for whatever it is to be ignited even if it’s just for one game. The Auburn D may not be able to completely halt the production for the Tide but they can find ways not just to hand them this game on silver platter with some of their personnel and play calling.
While Alabama takes the cake on both sides of the ball their special teams has struggled. However, this is where Auburn has been solid this season. Don’t be surprised if Malzahn has something special in store with special teams to possibly be the difference maker if it gets close today in Tuscaloosa.
Pure and simple in rivalry games of this intensity and magnitude it really can be any teams game if they can find a way to make it work in their favor. No matter how great or poorly a ball club has played up until now its moments like these where anything is still possible and the impossible is still alive for those teams that stay hungrier than their opponent.
Folks grab those libations and kick up your boots for this year’s edition of the Iron Bowl.
ROLL TIDE WAR EAGLE
FEATURE PHOTO COURTESY OF: ALABAMA FOOTBALL
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Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a Senior Editor and writer for Main Event Sports. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist, NFL Network content writer, and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ Misskyus2