The day has finally arrived. The 2015 Iron Bowl is here and you can feel rivalry in the air of Auburn, Alabama. The Crimson Tide come in as 14.5 point road favorites and the second-ranked team in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. Nick Saban’s squad can win the SEC West with a victory on Saturday, setting them up for Auburn clinched bowl eligibility last week with a big win over Idaho and may have fixed some of their issues on the offensive side of the ball.
Many people expect this game to get out of hand early on but everyone knows that rivalries do not always go as expected. The Tide will be looking to get Heisman front runner Derrick Henry often, hoping to wear down an Auburn defense that allows 4.5 yards per rush. The running game could help open up the passing game for Jake Coker and allow him to hit Calvin Ridley and Richard Mullaney for some big plays.
The Tigers are hoping to get their committee of running backs going early on. Alabama’s defensive front is one of the deepest and most talented groups in the country and Auburn will want to stay fresh to be able to compete. Peyton Barber has been the leading rusher this season but expect Jovon Robinson, Kerryon Johnson and even wide receiver Ricardo Louis to get involved in the running game. Whether Gus Malzahn goes with Jeremy Johnson or Sean White at quarterback, the Tigers likely will not put too much stock in the passing game against a secondary that leads the SEC in interceptions.