Alabama is 7-1 after routing Tennessee, with their upset loss at Texas A&M the lone blemish. They have a cupcake non-conference game (New Mexico State) and three SEC battles left on the docket.
On the ESPN College Football podcast this week, Herbstreit said one of those league games in particular could be tricky for Nick Saban’s team. It is the Iron Bowl against Auburn in the final week of the season.
The Crimson Tide also still have to play LSU and Arkansas, but Herbstreit isn’t buying either of them being a threat to ‘Bama.
“If you look at LSU, let’s be honest. They may play hard, but they’re an uppercut in the first round away from, you know, it’s a weird year for them,” Herbstreit said, via Saturday Down South. “And then, you have Arkansas at home. I don’t think they throw the ball well enough to be a real threat.
“And then, you got to go to Jordan-Hare, which could be a little bit sneaky, because Auburn is sitting there at 5-2. Bryan Harsin and Mike Bobo — that’s the game where you can draw up ball plays with a veteran quarterback, and you realize, ‘What’s the kryptonite to Nick Saban’s defense?’ The kryptonite is multiple formations, up-tempo, return the tight ends, motion to go to trips in the boundary, bring the back over here. Make them have to think, ‘Now, we got a quarterback that can run and throw.’ It’s the formula to move the ball and hit some explosives (plays). Plus, it’s a rivalry game. They definitely have the offense, the mindset with Bryan Harsin, Bobo and Bo Nix to at least make it tough on Bama.”
Currently ranked 18th in the country, Auburn is 5-2 but has lost its two toughest games of the year against Penn State and Georgia. The Tigers will have some chances to make a statement in the next few weeks though.
Auburn hosts 10th-ranked Ole Miss this Saturday night before traveling to No. 14 Texas A&M next weekend. They will also play South Carolina and Mississippi State before their season finale against the Crimson Tide on November 27.
It should be noted that the Tigers have beaten Alabama the last two times they’ve met at Jordan-Hare. We’ll see if they can make it three in a row.