Alabama Football is the clear favorite in Saturday’s 88th Iron Bowl. There are several reasons why, but the simplest explanation is the Crimson Tide roster, categorized by position groups, gives Alabama a huge advantage.
A few Auburn fans may offer a counterclaim that Hugh Freeze knows how to beat Nick Saban. That ignores the fact that Freeze has never beaten Saban with a roster as talent-deficient as this season’s Auburn team.
Along with Auburn fans, even some Alabama football fans will bring up the ‘Jordan-Hare Voodoo’ factor. Nick Saban does not buy into the superstition and neither should anyone else.
Auburn’s one advantage is that it was given a reality check in the stunning loss to New Mexico State. It is difficult to believe that having learned a lesson, they will not give maximum effort to avoid being embarrassed by the Crimson Tide.
Alabama Football vs. Auburn by Position Groups
- Quarterback – Auburn QB Payton Thorne has improved during the last few weeks, but the Tigers are still the No. 14 Passing Offense in the SEC. The Auburn passing problems are more than Thorne or any of the QB backups. Even at his best, Thorne is far below Jalen Milroe. Big Advantage Alabama
- Running Back – A strong rushing attack is essential to Auburn’s offense. Because of Jarquez Hunter, the Tigers are effective on the ground. The Tigers have a couple of other good backs, but Auburn’s second-leading rusher is Thorne. Hunter is impressive, but if for no other reason, the Tide’s depth gives it an edge. Advantage Alabama
- Wide Receiver and Tight End – Auburn’s leading receiver is tight end Rivaldo Fairweather. Based on talent and depth the Crimson Tide has a big advantage. Advantage Alabama
- Offensive Line – With the progress made by Alabama left tackle, Kadyn Proctor and the impressive emergence of Jaeden Roberts at right guard, the Crimson Tide has one of the SEC’s best offensive lines. And Auburn doesn’t. Advantage Alabama
- Defensive Line – On the Auburn defensive line, Marcus Harris and his teammates are a solid group. But this position group is another situation in which the Crimson Tide has more talent and more depth. Advantage Alabama
- Linebacker – Auburn has a pair of good outside linebackers but is weak at inside linebacker. Again Alabama is better and deeper. Big Advantage Alabama (even if Deontae Lawson sits out another game).
- Defensive Backs – This is by far Auburn’s best position group. Jaylin Simpson, DJ James, Nehemiah Pritchett, and Keionte Scott are very good players. If Jaylen Key misses another game, maybe (giving every benefit of the doubt to Auburn) this comparison might be called even, but with a healthy Key the edge goes to the Tide. Advantage Alabama
- Special Teams – Auburn placekicker, Alex McPherson has not missed a kick all season. The sophomore has only missed one kick in his college career. Oscar Chapman is a solid punter for the Tigers. The pair would rate the best, except Alabama Football has Will Reichard and James Burnip. Advantage Alabama
Note: Player stats provided by Sports Reference
To guard against being called a homer, I probably should have given the Aubies an edge at one position group. But to do so would be lying.