With Auburn off and Alabama only scrimmaging this weekend, it's been like an Indian summer in the state of Alabama. College football talk has pretty much gone underground. But we know that come Sunday morning that all changes. Iron Bowl week will finally be here.
Be it fans or pundits across the state and around the country, it seems to be a forgone conclusion that Alabama will roll into Auburn a week from today and have its way with the Tigers. Flip on the television or fire up the computer and all you hear is talk of the Alabama-Florida game in two weeks.
Alabama is an early nine point favorite for the Iron Bowl and on paper it seems that Auburn has little chance of a win. If I'm an Alabama fan, I'm a little concerned today. These are the kind of situations where disaster often strikes. Of course, few Alabama fans seem too worried at this point. Let's hope that attitude carries over to the team.
I've never been one to believe you can throw out the record book when these two get together. More times than not, the better team wins. But there have been exceptions. The 1984 and 2002 contests are the first to come to mind. Auburn was a win away from a second straight Sugar Bowl in Pat Dye's fourth season when the unthinkable happened. Bo Jackson ran the wrong way and unranked Alabama upset the 11th ranked Tigers 17-15.
The tables turned in 2002. This time, ninth-ranked Alabama was expected to have an easy day of it against the Tigers, especially considering Auburn was starting its fourth-string tailback, Tre Smith. Few if any, in the state gave the 7-4 Tigers a chance against the Tyler Watts led Crimson Tide.
Former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson set the tone in his pregame talk to the team. "Knock somebody out. If you deliver the lick first, eventually they're going to start playing soft. They're going to try to play careful. Don't go out there and wait on them to hit you. Hit them first."
Hit them Auburn did. By the end of the afternoon, the Tigers pushed Alabama coach Dennis Franchione to Texas A&M and notched the first of what would be six straight victories over "the school down the road." While Alabama will be big favorites to win next Friday, they've still got to make the trip to The Loveliest Village where anything can happen. Right Coach Fran?
You've got to love all of these bowl projections floating around the internet. Nearly every national sports site has projections on who's going where beginning in late December. Where's Auburn heading? Take your pick. A quick check of four sites has the Tigers going four different places. Take a look...
Music City Bowl - Auburn vs. North Carolina
Cotton Bowl - Auburn vs. Oklahoma State
Chick-Fil-A Bowl - Auburn vs. Clemson
Liberty Bowl - Auburn vs. Houston
Auburn has also been connected with the Outback and Independence bowls in recent days. So there's a place for everybody - at least right now. It would seem the Cotton and Outback would be a stretch unless Auburn pulls off the upset next week. With that said, there's still a lot of football left to be played around the conference. Auburn's destination is almost certain not to be decided until after the SEC Championship Game. What's your pick? Vote in the poll below.
I hope all of you enjoy this off weekend. Have a great one and War Eagle!