This in from the Associated Press: Everyone in Alabama is picking the Crimson Tide. Here is the complete breakdown.
Alabama is the favorite of 25 out of 25 state sports editors and college football writers heading into Saturday’s game with Auburn. The average score from their annual Iron Bowl predictions: Alabama 30.2, Auburn 13.2.
Here are their comments and picks:
Johnathan Bentley, Daily Mountain Eagle:
Twenty years ago Alabama came to Auburn for the first time in Iron Bowl history and left with an upset loss. History isn’t going to repeat itself. Alabama has the edge on offense, defense and everywhere in between heading into Friday’s meeting. This year’s game will be nothing more than an Alabama warm up for next week’s SEC Championship Game.
Alabama 31, Auburn 6
Andy Bitter, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:
Too much Mark Ingram. Too much defense. That’ll be the story Friday. Auburn won’t be able to hold Ingram in check for a full four quarters, when its lack of depth will start to show. The Tigers, like everyone else, will struggle to move the ball against the Tide’s defense. The result will be predictable.
Alabama 31, Auburn 13.
Luke Brietzke, The Anniston Star:
Alabama’s stout run defense puts too much pressure on Chris Todd and the passing game. Auburn doesn’t have enough depth defensively to slow Alabama’s power run game in the second half. It is a one-possession game at halftime but Alabama pulls away in the third quarter.
Alabama 31, Auburn 13.
Michael Casagrande, The Decatur Daily:
Alabama won’t likely bank on a Terrence Cody field goal block or a Julio Jones screen pass to win this one. Riding the emotional wave of the home crowd and an extra week of rest, the Tigers will hang around through three quarters. Ultimately, the gap in speed, size and overall talent will bite Auburn. The fourth quarter will again be the difference when Mark Ingram finishes off Auburn and the Tide’s second straight perfect regular season.
Alabama 23, Auburn 13
Kim Craft, The Gadsden Times:
Defense means everything in this game that shapes up on paper as lopsided with No. 2 Alabama bringing an explosive offense and crushing defense into Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn’s offense and defense won’t be able to keep pace with Alabama, which controls its emotions and remains focused on the task at hand. The Crimson Tide plays this game for what it is, another step to attaining a larger goal.
Alabama 28, Auburn 7.
Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News:
Auburn is better than last season, but so is Alabama.
Alabama 30, Auburn 10.
Gentry Estes, Mobile Press-Register;
Auburn will be fired up and ready in what’s sure to be a great atmosphere, but emotion can carry a team only so far. Alabama has made a habit of taking opposing crowds out of games and progressively wearing down the other side. I’d expect this to be no different.
Alabama 31, Auburn 16
Paul Gattis, The Huntsville Times:
Auburn could win because its offense. … no, not against the Alabama defense. Or Auburn could win because it’s defense. … no, not against the Alabama offense. This isn’t a difficult pick this season and that’s not a slight toward Auburn nor a pat on the back to Alabama. It’s just reality. Alabama has a better offense, a better defense and better special teams. Yes, for Alabama, it’s a return to the glorious days of Mike DuBose when the Tide last defeated Auburn in consecutive seasons in 1998-99.
Alabama 31, Auburn 10.
Chase Goodbread, The Tuscaloosa News:
Usually when the underdog in this series keeps the game close — whether it’s Alabama or Auburn — tough defense is the reason why. This year, a close game will almost certainly require a big night for the Auburn offense, because the Tigers’ defense has been abysmal. AU has held just one opponent under 20 points, and that was Louisiana Tech in the season opener.
Alabama 28, Auburn 14
Andrew Gribble, The Opelika-Auburn News:
Yeah, sure, Auburn is significantly better than it was in last year’s mess of a season. But so is Alabama. This won’t be the storybook ending those hearkening back to that 1989 Iron Bowl envision.
Alabama 38, Auburn 10.
Jon Johnson, The Dothan Eagle:
It was 20 years ago when an undefeated Alabama team rolled into Jordan-Hare Stadium only to be upset by Auburn in the first Iron Bowl to be played on the Tigers< campus. Can history repeat itself? Nope. This Alabama team is far superior. The emotionally-charged Tigers will hang tough for a half or so, but the Tide will eventually wear them down.
Alabama 31, Auburn 17.
Mike Herndon, Mobile Press-Register
Auburn may have a better shot in this year’s Iron Bowl than last year, but the Tigers remain dangerously thin on defense. Against an Alabama offense that makes its living by wearing down opponents, that’s not good news for the orange and blue.
Alabama 30, Auburn 17.
Tommy Hicks, Mobile Press-Register:
There’s no mystery here. Quite simply, Alabama has the better, deeper team and, with so much on the line heading into the SEC championship game against Florida, the Crimson Tide should be focused and ready to play. Auburn has played well at times this season, and it will have to call upon that type of performance to have a chance at the upset.
Alabama 27, Auburn 13.
Randy Kennedy, Mobile Press-Register:
Since Auburn beat Alabama two years ago, the Tide has not lost a game in the state, has not lost a regular-season game, has not lost a game outside a dome and has won nine in a row against SEC West opponents. It’s hard to imagine any of those streaks coming to an end now that the Tide is within three wins of a national title.
Alabama 34, Auburn 17.
Bryan Matthews, Rivals.com:
I expect Auburn to hang around for a while and make a game out of it but running back Mark Ingram should have a big second half against a thin and banged-up Auburn defense. The Tigers will need some big plays and several turnovers to pull off an upset.
Alabama 27, Auburn 10.
Brent Maze, The Alexander City Outlook:
Alabama will feel the pressure of being No. 2 and facing their biggest road crowd of the year. Both Ben Tate and Mark Ingram have 100-yard games. Auburn will lead 28-24 late in the game, but Greg McElroy will lead a game-winning TD drive to win it.
Alabama 31, Auburn 28.
Mark McCarter, Huntsville Times:
A couple of months ago, this would have been a cool upset special to pick. Not now. The Tide has loftier goals and more important games ahead. But even with that, Alabama is too balanced on offense, too stingy on defense and too focused overall to let a rested Auburn team derail it.
Alabama 27, Auburn 13.
Joe Medley, The Anniston Star:
Just don’t see Auburn’s thin defense holding up for four quarters against Alabama’s physical running game. And only three teams have scored as many as two offensive touchdowns against Alabama this season.
Alabama 31, Auburn 14.
Travis Reier, Rivals.com:
What the Tigers lack in talent, they will attempt to cover for with effort. While that will keep them within striking distance of Alabama, the Crimson Tide rushing attack will prove too much for the Auburn defense in the second half.
Alabama 27, Auburn 16.
Ken Rogers, The Dothan Eagle:
The team that runs for more yardage in this game almost always wins. I think that’s the case again this year. Mark Ingram is a great back, just ask anybody who has tried to tackle him. Ben Tate is a great back, just ask him. But Alabama’s run defense is scary good. The Tigers will keep it interesting for most of the afternoon, but the Tide rolls into Atlanta undefeated.
Alabama 31, Auburn 20
Jon Solomon, The Birmingham News:
Auburn’s only chance to be competitive is by forcing turnovers and keeping its defense off the field. Alabama will wear Auburn down with Mark Ingram, who will rush for at least 150 yards. A fine season for Ben Tate will be overshadowed by his inability to back up his claim that he’s the best running back in the state. Don’t worry, Ben. You’re not the first or the last who won’t crack 100 against Alabama.
Alabama 27, Auburn 6
Bran Strickland, The Anniston Star:
Even Jimmie Johnson would call this one a lock. No, not Jimmy Johns. Jimmie Johnson. He races in NASCAR. He’s won, like, four titles in a row. Last one this past weekend by a landslide. Yet the week before he wouldn’t call it a … Oh, nevermind.
Alabama 42, Auburn 10.
Christa Turner, The Anniston Star:
You’re asking a depleted defense — that just might be playing managers at this point — to slow down the likes of Heisman Trophy candidate Mark Ingram and Julio Jones? Not gonna happen. Ben Tate might be the best running back in the state, but his campaign never gets going in this one.
Alabama 31, Auburn 9.
Evan Woodbery, Mobile Press-Register:
Auburn’s weaknesses on defense don’t stack up favorably against Alabama’s pounding rushing attack. But if Auburn’s offense can put up a couple of early touchdowns and the Tigers can create a couple of turnovers on defense or special teams, this game might be closer than anyone expects.
Alabama 27, Auburn 17.
John Zenor, The Associated Press:
Alabama is just too physical, deep and talented for this Auburn team. Even if the Tigers play over their heads and keep it close, Mark Ingram & Co. will wear them down in the second half — and maybe in the second quarter. I still don’t think there will be a repeat of last year’s letdown. Auburn will keep fighting, at least.
Alabama 30, Auburn 10.