No Surprise Tide Leads Statistically

It will come as a surprise to no one that Alabama has a substantial advantage over Auburn statistically. Bama is one of the top teams in the nation this year, while the Tigers are limping to the end of the season still in search of their first Southeastern Conference victory.

Alabama is 10-1 overall and 6-1 in SEC games and ranked second in the nation. Bama will wrap up the SEC Western Division championship and earn the right to play Georgia in the SEC Championship Game if the Crimson Tide came defeat Auburn Saturday. The Tigers are 3-8 overall and 0-7 in conference games, facing the prospect of a winless SEC record.

Alabama will host Auburn at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium with CBS televising the game.

Although Bama has struggled in its last two conference games against LSU and Texas A&M, those teams were relatively even with the Tide statistically. There are few categories where Alabama and Auburn are comparable.

Considering the ultimate statistics, scoring, Alabama is second in the league putting up 38.1 points per game (19th in the nation) and Auburn is 13th in the conference with 20.4 points per game (107th nationally). Bama is first in the league and in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 10.1 points per game. The Tigers are 10th in the SEC and 58th in the nation, giving up 26.5 points per game.

Almost all coaches in the SEC put a lot of stock in being able to run the football and being able to stop the run. Alabama is second in the SEC and 27th nationally in rushing at 209.4 yards per game. Auburn is ninth in the league and 73rd in the nation at 153.5 yards per game. Alabama is first in the conference and third in the nation, holding opponents to 75.6 yards per game. Auburn is 14th – last -- in the SEC and 93rd nationally, allowing 191.3 yards per game.

Bama is only ninth in the SEC and 78th in the nation in passing offense at 219.1 yards per game, but the Tigers are 13th in the league and 111th nationally with only 164.4 yards per game. In pass defense, the Tide is first in the conference and fourth nationally, holding opponents to 164.5 yards per game. Auburn is eighth in the league and 44th in the nation, surrendering 223.5 yards per game.

On the basis of pass efficiency, Alabama is second in the SEC both offensively and defensively and Auburn is 12th offensively and 11th defensively.

Alabama's balanced offense (209.4 rushing, 219.1 passing) is fourth in the SEC and 44th in the nation at 428.5 yards per game total offense. Auburn's offense is also balanced (153.5 rushing, 164.4 passing), but that's good for only 13th in the SEC and 112th in the nation. In total defense, the Tide is first in the conference and second nationally, allowing 240.1 yards per game. The Tigers are 12th in the SEC and 74th in the nation, giving up 414.8 yards per game.

Turnover margin is a key statistic in determining winning percentage. Alabama is fourth in the SEC and 13th in the nation at plus 12 (10 fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions for 24 takeaways against 10 fumbles lost and 2 passes intercepted for 12 turnovers). Auburn is 13th in the conference and 106th in the nation at minus 10 (10 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions for 12 takeaways, 9 fumbles lost and 13 passes intercepted for 22 turnovers).

Red Zone performance (inside the 20 yards line) is another indicator of success. Alabama is first in the league both offensively and defensively. Auburn is eighth in the league on offense, 13th on defense. Bama has scored 44-47 trips for 93.6 per cent with 35 touchdowns and 9-9 field goals. The Tigers have scored 23-28 trips for 82.1 per cent with 14 touchdowns and 9-10 field goals. On defense, the Tide has allowed 14-23 scores on 11 touchdowns and 3-6 field goals. Auburn has allowed 37-43 for 86 per cent on 28 touchdowns and 9-14 field goals.

Note the Alabama advantages on trips into the Red Zone, 47-28, and on allowing the opponent inside the 20, Bama 23, Auburn 43.

On third downs, Alabama is third in converting to first downs or touchdowns, 57-128 for 44.5 per cent, and Auburn is 14th at 40-131 for 30.5 per cent. Defensively, Bama is sixth, allowing 51-158 for 32.3 per cent and the Tigers are 10th, 58-155 for 37.4 per cent.

Penalties are considered a measure of discipline. Alabama is third in the league with 46 for 402 yards and Auburn is ninth with 67 for 524 yards.

Although sacks are not considered a meaningful statistic by all coaches (including Bama's Nick Saban), the Tide is fifth in the league with 28 sacks and fourth in not allowing sacks, giving up 20, while the Tigers are 11th in sacks, 22, and Auburn has been sacked more than any other league team with 35.

The only individuals ranked first in SEC statistics are placekickers Jeremy Shelley of Alabama with 53-53 and Auburn's Cody Parkey with 27-27 on extra point kicks and Crimson Tide cornerback Dee Milliner who leads the league with 16 passes defended (14 break-ups, 2 interceptions).

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