Statistics favor Alabama as Tide finishes regular season at Auburn

Although football games are not won on paper, statistics through 11 games give the advantage to Alabama over Auburn

One of the interesting phrases from those on the inside (or even claiming to have inside knowledge) of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee is “how they have performed against ranked teams.” In the upcoming Alabama game at Auburn, the teams have played somewhat different schedules insofar as rankings.

Alabama has played six teams that were ranked at the time the Crimson Tide played them, three of them top 10 teams. Bama, 11-1 on the season and 6-1 in Southeastern Conference games, is 5-1 in those games against ranked teams. Auburn has played three teams that were ranked and is 1-2.

Both Bama and Auburn, which is 6-5 overall and 2-5 in SEC games, lost home games to Ole Miss. Alabama defeated Wisconsin in Arlington, Texas; Georgia, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State on the road; and LSU in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers defeated Texas A&M in College Station, lost to LSU in Baton Rouge.

It is interesting to see how the two teams have done against the best of the SEC by major statistics.

Against the top seven scoring teams they have played, Alabama is 5-1, Auburn 1-4. Playing vs. the top seven in scoring defense, the Tide is 3-0, the Tigers 0-2.

Bama is 5-0 and the Tigers 1-3 against the top seven rushing teams. The Tide is 2-1 and Auburn 0-3 against the top seven teams in defense against the rush.

Against the seven best passing teams in the SEC, Alabama is 3-1 and Auburn 2-3. In games played against the seven best pass defense teams, the Tide is 2-0, the Tigers 2-1.

Against the top seven in total offense, Bama is 5-1 and Auburn 1-4. Playing the seven best in total defense, the Tide is 3-0, the Tigers 0-2.

Insofar as head-to-head in statistics, Alabama is third in the SEC in scoring at 35 points per game and Auburn is eighth at 28.5 ppg. In scoring defense, Bama is tied (with Florida) for first, giving up 14.5 ppg. The Tigers are 13th, allowing 27.2.

Auburn is third in the league in rushing offense at 200.9 yards per game with Alabama fourth at 198.9. In rushing defense, the Tide is first, giving up 77.8 yards per game, and the Tigers are 11th, allowing 180.9.

Alabama is sixth in passing offense, 218.5 yards per game, Auburn 12th, 176.1. On defense, the Tide is fifth, giving up 187.2 yards per game, the Tigers 12th, allowing 237. Bama is fifth and Auburn 10th in passing efficiency, the Tide first and Tigers ninth in pass defense efficiency.

In total offense, Alabama is sixth at 417.4 yards per game, Auburn 10th at 377. The Tide leads the SEC in total defense, allowing 265 yards per game, and the Tigers are 12th, giving up 417.9.

Auburn is fourth in the league in third down conversions, 65-151 for 43 per cent, Bama 11th, 55-151 for 36.4 per cent. On defense, the Tide is third in the league, allowing 52-171 for 30.4 per cent, the Tigers 13th, 76-163 for 46.6 per cent.

Alabama is third in the conference in turnover margin at plus six. The Tide has 7 fumble recoveries and 15 interceptions for 22 takeaways and has lost 6 fumbles and 10 interceptions for 16 turnovers. Auburn is fifth at plus 5. The Tigers have 5 fumble recoveries and 13 interceptions for 18 takeaways and have lost 4 fumbles and 9 interceptions for 13 turnovers.

Auburn is best in the Red Zone (inside the 20-yard lines). On offense, the Tigers are tied for first with 40 scores (28 touchdowns, 12-14 field goals) in 45 opportunities for 88.9 per cent. The Tide is seventh with 39 scores (28 TDs, 11-15 FGs) in 48 trips for 81.2 per cent. On defense, the Tigers are tied for sixth, allowing 38 scores (27 TDs, 11-13 FGs) in 48 chances, 79.2 per cent. Bama is 12th, giving up 19 scores (11 TDs, 8-10 FGs) in 23 opportunities, 82.6 per cent.

Auburn is sixth in the league in penalties, 51 for 496 yards, 45.1 yards per game. Alabama is 13th with 69 penalties for 645 yards, 58.6 ypg.

Alabama is third in time of possession, 32.51 minutes per game, Auburn 10th, 28:09.

Alabama leads the league in sacks with 38, Auburn tied for 12th with 17. The Tigers have allowed only 16 sacks, tied for third in the league, while Bama is tied for fifth, giving up 15.

In kicking, Alabama leads the league in kickoff coverage, and Auburn is second in kickoff returns. The Tide is 10th in returns, the Tigers 11th in coverage. Auburn averages a half yard per punt more than Alabama. Bama is fourth in punt returns, the Tigers ninth.

Individuals at the top of SEC statistics include Alabama tailback Derrick Henry leading the league in scoring and in touchdowns and safety Eddie Jackson tied for the lead in interceptions.

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