Dye-Gest: Tigers Need Aggressive Aproach

College Football Hall of Fame Coach Pat Dye writes about the Tigers-Tide matchup and gives his picks on this week's SEC football games.

Auburn senior running back Cameron Artis-Payne (above) leads the SEC in rushing.

It’s that time year that football fans in this state look forward to with the Iron Bowl coming up on Saturday. A lot of times you can kind of get a feel for a football game, but I really don’t know what is going to happen on Saturday night.

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I actually have a better for feel for this year’s Alabama team than I do Auburn because I believe it is more predictable than the Tigers have been. Because of that I could see a variety of scenarios playing out in this year’s Iron Bowl. I think the Tigers could win this game or it could go either way in a close one. I could also see the Tigers getting rolled out of the stadium.

I have no doubt that Auburn can go into Tuscaloosa and win if the team puts together its best 60 minutes of football. However, I have seen this group of Tigers play sporadically with spurts of good and bad play on both offense and defense.

Something that stands out about the 2014 Auburn team is that it has seldom played really well on both offense and defense at the same time, and it has seldom played poorly on both offense and defense at the same time, which is really strange. With teams that are winning a lot of their games often the offense needs to feed off the defense and the defense needs to feed off the offense. There has not been a lot of that going on with this year’s Auburn team.

The best thing Coach Gus Malzahn’s Tigers can do this week is to go into Tuscaloosa and play aggressively and not get uptight. They need to arrive in Tuscaloosa with the intention of putting together their best all-around performance of the season. If that happens I really believe the Tigers will have a great chance to come home a winner.

Looking at this week’s SEC games:

LSU at Texas A&M--This should be a close one on Thanksgiving night. The Aggies have homefield advantage, but I don’t believe they can stop LSU from running the football so I expect Les Miles and his Tigers to head home with a victory.

Arkansas at Missouri--Although it is surprising to me, Missouri can return to the SEC Championship Game for a second consecutive season if the Tigers win at home on Saturday. This year’s Mizzou team isn’t nearly as potent on offense as last year’s was, but has played solid defense and that could be enough to earn a return trip to Atlanta. However, it won’t be easy because Arkansas is playing well now.

It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the Razorbacks win, but with their quarterback questionable and Missouri playing at home with a strong defensive front I expect Missouri to win a trip to the league championship game.

Georgia Tech at Georgia--The Georgia Bulldogs look like they are playing as well as anybody in the SEC. The Yellow Jackets will be in the ACC Championship Game and have a strong running attack that could cause problems for the Bulldogs, but I don’t think that will be enough to beat Georgia.

South Carolina at Clemson--I know Clemson is the favorite and playing at home, but the Ol’ Ball Coach has had success against his in-state rival and I expect Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks to find a way to win on Saturday.

Kentucky at Louisville--The Wildcats have not been playing well the second half of the season and will likely continue the trend with a loss at Louisville.

Mississippi State at Ole Miss--Mississippi State is the better all-around team and has a lot to play for on Saturday against the Rebels, who have not been the same since losing at home to Auburn.

Florida at Florida State--I think this is going to be a close ball game. The Seminoles have become escape artists by finding ways to pull out close games, but I have a feeling that Coach Will Muschamp’s final day as head coach at Florida will provide a memorable win for the Gators.

Tennessee at Vandy-The Vols will gain bowl eligibility and put to an end a disappointing season for the Commodores, who are still looking for their first SEC win. Tennessee should take this game with room to spare.

Auburn at Alabama--Alabama has struggled at times this season, but looks like a team that is putting things together and playing pretty well down the stretch. However, if the Tigers can keep mistakes to a minimum, and that includes penalties, this could be a close game. I think the Tigers will find a way to pull off an upset.

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