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Sport Alabama vying to 'make a big statement' in annual Iron Bowl rivalry with Playoff in question

01:15  26 november  2019
01:15  26 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The Alabama –Ole Miss football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ole Miss Rebels. They are charter members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and both have competed in the SEC West since 1992.

TUSCALOOSA — There’s no downplaying it this week: it all comes down to the Iron Bowl.

Nick Saban wearing a hat: Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Alabama head coach Nick Saban talk as their teams warm up before the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.© Jake Crandall Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Alabama head coach Nick Saban talk as their teams warm up before the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.

Even Alabama head coach Nick Saban didn’t mince words when discussing the importance of Saturday’s regular-season finale in Auburn.

“I think the Iron Bowl is one of the great rivalries in college football. If you’re a competitor, you love to play in games like this game this week, and playing against a really good team,” Saban said Monday. “And maybe as it should be, a lot comes down to this game. It’s kind of the season within the season, so to speak, and I think if you have to explain that to your team or your players, they don’t really know what’s going on in football.”

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This edition of the sport's greatest rivalry will go down in history as one of the most important.

The winner will play for the Southeastern Conference title and a spot in the College Football Playoff . In the past eight seasons, the winner of the Iron Bowl has won the SEC championship seven times, and the By the next Rose Bowl , in which Alabama was to play Stanford, the governor invoked the

Despite having already surrendered its opportunity to play in next week’s SEC Championship game by virtue of its 46-41 loss to No. 1 LSU earlier this month, the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide (10-1, 6-1 SEC) remains in the hunt for a sixth straight College Football Playoff appearance.

Of course, with other playoff contenders with their own conference championship opportunities ahead, where Alabama ends up is wholly dependent on what happens at No. 15 Auburn (8-3, 4-3 SEC).

“We can’t control anything else, so we’re going to try and play as well as we can and hopefully the results show that we’re worthy of being in that top four,” junior safety Xavier McKinney said Monday. “We know what’s at stake, we know how much this game means to us, for our team. So we’re going to come out there and try to make a big statement.”

A different feel to this Iron Bowl

  A different feel to this Iron Bowl Perhaps no Iron Bowl had buzz quite like 2013’s. A year before the College Football Playoff began, it was a quarterfinal played between the No.1 Crimson Tide at the fourth-ranked Tigers. With two philosophically different offenses and Alabama’s three-peat hopes hanging in the balance, the pregame hype undersold what happened in Jordan-Hare. Dubbed the “Mother of all Iron Bowls” in the buildup, the game will forever be known for the Kick 6. The iconic ending decided the SEC West title on an evening Alabama knew it had to modernize its offense.The 84th Iron Bowl to kickoff Saturday afternoon on the same Auburn turf will look a little different.

GAME OF THE WEEK: The Iron Bowl . There are plenty of solid rivalry games this week, but it Alabama is undefeated this season while Auburn has looked very impressive over the past month Georgia's Nick Chubb could move into second place on the SEC's career rushing list with a big game

AUBURN, Ala. — There are fourth-year seniors at Auburn who, before Saturday, had never beaten Alabama in the annual showdown known as the Iron Bowl . These young men were still in high school during the famed Kick Six game here four years ago.

But simply winning — which is admittedly far from a certainty against the battle-tested Tigers — might not be enough.

“I think Auburn has an outstanding team, they have some very impressive wins over top-10 teams, top-20 teams,” Saban said. “The only teams they’ve lost to are teams that were ranked in the top 10. So they’ve been very competitive and played really well in all those games.”

One of those “impressive” wins came in the season opener against a then-No. 11 Oregon, though that doesn't look as good after the sixth-ranked Ducks suffered a 31-28 loss to an unranked Arizona State last Saturday.

Still, depending on how conference championship weekend play out, especially the SEC title game between No. 1 LSU and No. 4 Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC), the fourth and final playoff seed is expected to be up for grabs a week from Sunday.

Of course, both No. 7 Utah (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) and No. 9 Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) could feasibly leapfrog an idle Alabama for the final playoff spot if they win their respective conference championship games, which makes an impressive showing at Auburn all the more important.

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  No. 20 Iowa knocks Nebraska out of bowl consideration with last-second field goal Keith Duncan kicked a field goal with one second left to lift No. 20 Iowa past Nebraska and end the bowl hopes of the Cornhuskers.Some call it a rivalry; others say it doesn’t have the historical oomph. Clarity is hard to find on Black Friday.

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Punt Bama Punt is the nickname given to a football game between the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide, in which Auburn blocked two Alabama punts and ran them back for touchdowns to win the game. The game was played on December 2, 1972, at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama .

“Man, obviously this is a big rivalry game for us, that’s been emphasized,”  junior center Landon Dickerson said Monday. “Hopefully we can handle our business.”

That said, not being able to control anything beyond what happens on the field Saturday also provides a bit of relief and focus heading into such a competitive game.

“It’s easier, really. We’re just worrying about us right now, putting our team in the best situation (to win),” Dickerson said. “We’re really worried about this week and that’s all that we can handle right now.”

Not that it’s stopped Saban from doing his pregame politicking.

“This is the best team we’ve played, probably, so far this year,” Saban said of Auburn, “and it will be the most challenging place that we’ve played. So, a real challenge for the players on our team.”

How healthy some of those players will be for the game has yet to be determined.

The four Alabama players who sat out the Western Carolina game with minor injuries — senior defensive end Raekwon Davis (ankle), freshman nose guard D.J. Dale (knee), redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis (undisclosed) and junior receiver Henry Ruggs III (ribs) — remain “day-to-day” this week, while freshman kicker/punter Will Reichard (hip) is still out.

Wild Iron Bowl 1st half ends with 5 touchdowns in 5 minutes

  Wild Iron Bowl 1st half ends with 5 touchdowns in 5 minutes The Iron Bowl has certainly had its moments over the years.At halftime, Alabama leads Auburn 31-24 in a wild shootout that included a five-minute stretch at the end of the second quarter that included six scores and five total touchdowns.

The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will host the No. 15 Auburn Tigers for the 2016 edition of the Iron Bowl on Nov. Although Auburn has explosive potential, Alabama doesn't give up many big plays . Adams might not make a huge impact on the box score, but his disruptive ability is a key to

Making his first Iron Bowl start Saturday, the junior said the moment is something he's fantasized Alabama is also the only undefeated team remaining in the College Football Playoff race and could "It's that rivalry , it makes you just want to play to your best just knowing that there's going to be a

a person sitting in a chair talking on the phone: Injured players Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) and wide receiver Henry Ruggs, III, (11) watch the game against Western Carolina from a cart in the team area at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, November 23, 2019.© Mickey Welsh Injured players Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) and wide receiver Henry Ruggs, III, (11) watch the game against Western Carolina from a cart in the team area at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, November 23, 2019.

It’s also uncertain if injured Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (hip surgery) will travel with the team to Auburn, though Saban reaffirmed that’s a decision for Tagovailoa, his family and the team’s medical/training staff.

“We expect Tua to do what he needs to do to get healthy himself,” Saban said. “He knows he’s welcome around here any time, but if he feels up to it. I think it’s always uplifting to the team when he’s around. I’ve talked before about his spirit and leadership, having a positive impact on everybody around here and certainly we’d love to see him as much as possible.

“But he’s also got to feel up to it. The guy’s been through a lot here. We’ll kind of leave that up to him.”

Contact Montgomery Advertiser sports reporter Alex Byington at abyington@montgome.gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @_AlexByington.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama vying to 'make a big statement' in annual Iron Bowl rivalry with Playoff in question

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