Iron Bowl Preview: Time To Grab The Elephant By The Nuts
It’s finally time, it’s officially Iron Bowl Week and there are mixed feelings, not only with me but with the rest of the Auburn fan base. Every Auburn and Bama fan finds Iron Bowl week to be the most nerve racking and anxious week of the season, despite what some may tell you. It’s a game where just about anything can happen, there have been some big upsets in the past, as well as some big blowouts, which is why this truly is the best rivalry in College Football.
Everyone should know by now that GameDay is coming to Auburn, one hashtag that has made the rounds on Twitter in the past few days has been the #ironbowlgamedaysigns hashtag. Tons of good ones were thrown around, and if you aren’t on Twitter then I strongly advise you join, the Auburn Twitter fan base is fantastic, no doubt about it.
There is definitely mixed feelings over what Auburn fans are expecting out of this game, personally I’m excited for this game just because it’s the Iron Bowl. I appreciate College Football for what it is, and as an english born fan, I truly do dread it the off-season. I don’t get to go to things like the Spring Game, or Fan Day so for me, I’m excited about any game that Auburn plays, whether we are playing a highly ranked Bama, or a Division II scrub.
The Game could play out in two scenarios as far as I’m concerned. The first scenario, is that Bama comes into Jordan-Hare Stadium and beats the breaks off of us, it wouldn’t surprise me if they did, they have a team that needs to win badly (to stay in BCS NCG contention), as well as wanting revenge after last years 24-0 comeback. It truly could end up something like 45-3, but I hope like hell that it doesn’t.
The second scenario is that we come out fighting, and play a whole game of trying to keep it close, where we could either find ourselves in the 4th quarter and squeak out an upset, or we could barely lose a close game like in 2009. I don’t approve of mediocrity and I don’t believe in “moral wins”, but I wouldn’t be totally upset with losing a close game. As much as it pains me to say it, and for you to read it, Bama has a much more efficient team than Auburn, that’s just the way it is right now.
So what do I believe happens? I personally think we play a strong game against Bama, Chizik needs to drill into the team that we cannot get pushed around in our own house. At the very least, make Bama EARN a win against us, if we get down early then we have to keep on fighting, I begged for our team to develop leaders through the season and this is a crucial game where we MUST have someone step up and become a leader.
Offensively, Malzahn will have to scroll through to the back of the playbook and go all out against Bama. He needs to stick to what is working, if we are eating up 5-8 yards per carry up the middle, we can’t then proceed to getting cute and trying something like a Flea Flicker. Stay with what is familiar, but also give us enough chances to hit them on a sucker punch. I’ll take points off blown coverage if need be, and using some misdirection to confuse the defense might help as well.
It will be key that we try to establish something early, and maybe even take the ball first if we win the toss (we always defer). Getting the teams confidence going early will help us a lot, and then we can try to build off of that as the game goes on. With a team this young, it’s all about how we handle and control the teams confidence, and the coaches play a big part in this, including Roof, who in the past, has shown the ability to prepare for Bama well.
Overall, the one thing I just want is for us to fight through 60 minutes and make them earn a win, and if we can squeak out a win (which isn’t impossible) then that would be a massive bonus, for a team that will need the confidence going into bowl season. Get some pressure on McCarron, test their DB’s, get McCalebb in space, get Eltoro Freeman mad, and play your hearts out no matter what.
Prediction: Auburn 17-13 Bama
My younger brother thought I was “incredibly optimistic” when I told him my prediction for this game, and he is totally right. We haven’t shown an ability to play good teams well this season, so why should this be any different? Well, we are at home, the players know what this game means and so does the coaching staff, that’s some reasons to be optimistic.
To help get yourself excited for this game, I created an Iron Bowl pump up video for this particular occasion. It’s already fairly popular (kudos to those who have seen it and spread it around) so if you haven’t already seen it, have a look for yourself, you might like it.
Have a great day, War Damn Eagle.
P.S I did a “Five Burning Questions” with Crystal Ball Run recently, answering questions about my fan-hood of Auburn and this weekends Iron Bowl, have a read if you’re interested.