Alabama and Auburn could play a game of chess and the rivalry would probably still be as intense.
So when the No. 2 Tigers and No. 11 Crimson Tide hook up Friday afternoon in Tuscaloosa for the annual Iron Bowl, don’t expect anything less than an all out war. Given the stakes of this bitter rivarly, look for both teams to leave it all on the field starting at 1:30 p.m. CT (CBS).
As the stakes go, Auburn is looking at SEC and national title hopes along with a desire to end recent Alabama control in the series. For defending champion Alabama, the prize is state bragging rights and BCS bowl birth aspirations, after a 24-21 loss earlier this month to LSU took the Tide out of the national title hunt.
For Auburn (11-0, SEC West champ), the news on and off the field this season has been star QB Cam Newton (2,038 yards passing, 21 TD’s and six interceptions; rushed for 1,297 yards and 17 TDs). Did he or didn’t he accept money to play at Mississippi State before finally ending up on the Plains?
For Alabama (9-2), losses to South Carolina (35-21) and the Tigers of LSU put a crack in the team’s armor, but make no mistake about it, the Tide is more than capable of knocking off Aubie and Co.
On offense, Alabama has been led by senior QB Greg McElroy (182-of-259 passes, 2,390 yards with 17 TDs and only five INT’s), the rushing duo of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson (1,414 yards rushing combined and 15 TDs), along with the receiving skills of Julio Jones (885 yards receiving).
“We’ve done pretty well over the past few years, and we have obviously walked away with a lot of trophies and a lot of rings and things of that nature,” McElroy told the Associated Press. “But this year we are obviously playing for something a little different. We understand that, but what we’re playing for is still something very impactful on the season.
“We can walk away feeling very good about ourselves with a 10-2 regular season. That is no easy task in the SEC,” McElroy added.
The Tide has been very successful in Tuscaloosa in front of more than 101,000 fans, winning 20 in a row to match the second-longest home winning streak in school history. Alabama has allowed only 39 points in six home games to date.
Alabama leads the series 40-33-1 after back-to-back victories over Auburn. The Tide scored a 26-21 come-from-behind victory a season ago in Auburn after a 36-0 win the last time the pair met in Tuscaloosa in 2008.
Much is on the line for War Eagle, while the Tide would like nothing better than to spoil the hopes of its hated rival.
Can you say Iron Bowl?
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Written by Dave Thomas