Alabama is the favorite of 22 out of 23 state editors and college football writers heading into Saturday’s game with Auburn. The average score from their annual Iron Bowl predictions: Alabama 40.6, Auburn 8.7. Last year, Alabama was the pick of all 22 voters by an average score of 32.6-12.1 and won 42-14.
Here are their comments and picks:
‰ Aaron Brenner, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: I could actually see the Tigers hanging around ... for about seven or eight minutes. But even though Jonathan Wallace has given himself a fighter’s chance at the starting job in 2013, that’s one ticked-off defense he’ll face that won’t let him anywhere near the end zone more than once or twice. Alabama 48, Auburn 6.
‰ Kim Craft, The Gadsden Times: Auburn’s defense has allowed an average of 445 total yards in its seven Southeastern Conference games this season, and the Tigers will struggle early and often against Alabama’s balanced offense, regardless of whether AJ McCarron passes the ball or hands off to Eddie Lacy or T.J. Yeldon. Given its BCS life back after losses by Kansas State and Oregon, Alabama plays focused knowing a win in the Iron Bowl is another step in attaining the ultimate goal of playing in Miami for the national title. This year’s rivalry game comes down to talent. No. 2 Alabama simply has more of it and proves it Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama 42, Auburn 7.
‰ James Crepea, Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama’s defense is tailor-made to stop Auburn’s offense all game long. The Crimson Tide offense, particularly the running game, is built to plow through a dreadfully poor Auburn rush defense which is worst in the SEC. Alabama 52, Auburn 7.
‰ Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News: The rivalry is still special, but this game won’t be. Alabama is far better than Auburn and has more on the line. Alabama 42, Auburn 6.