The rivalry between Alabama and Auburn is among the most intense in college football. However, the 2013 matchup between the two teams is about much more than bragging rights. With the teams coming in at No.1 and No.4, respectively, in the nation, the contest will have national title implications.
The Crimson Tide have been atop the polls all seasons long, and would remain the frontrunners to reach the BCS National Championship Game with a victory. Because of Auburn’s one loss, they’d still likely need defeats by Florida State and Ohio State to have a shot at the national title. Still, a win would put them in the SEC title game against either Missouri or South Carolina.
Saturday afternoon marks the 78th ever Iron Bowl, with Alabama leading the all-time matchup at 42-34-1. Despite all the games between the two, this contest will be one of the biggest ever. Only one other time have the two sides met when both were ranked in the Top 25. Never has it happened when one was the No.1 team in the country.
Even if the contest didn’t have major BCS implications, it would still be considered a “must-win” on both sides.
"You step on the campus and that's the first thing you hear," Auburn tight end C.J. Uzomah said. "You get recruited and that's the focal point that can define the season, like it is this upcoming Saturday."
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Nick Marshall will look to do what no quarterback has done this year and move the ball successfully against college football’s best defense. The Tigers have the second-best rushing offense in the nation, led by Tre Mason and Marshall, who has 823 total yards on the ground, himself. However, the Crimson Tide may force him to make plays with his arm. The last two ranked opponents Alabama faced, Ole Miss and LSU, both failed to average at least two yards per carry.
Alabama signal caller AJ McCarron may not have the gaudy numbers of Heisman candidates Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston, but he hasn’t made many big mistakes and he’s made the big plays when need. In the Crimson Tide’s lone game that was decided by one score, he had his best game of the season, throwing for 334 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions against Texas A&M.
Player To Watch: Nick Marshall
TIME: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
PLACE: Jordan-Hare Stadium
Online Stream: CBS Sports
Updated Betting Odds: Alabama by 10.5
Prediction: Alabama over Auburn, 34-20