For Auburn to get a rematch with the Georgia Bulldogs at the league championship game in Atlanta, Auburn must defeat ninth-ranked Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. from Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama's role has been reduced to that of a spoiler because the Crimson Tide is on NCAA probation. Bama just avoided the dreaded NCAA "death penalty" early this year, NCAA officials said after announcing the Tide was going on five years of probation, which includes a two-year ban on postseason play, making the Tide ineligible for the SEC Championship.
Karlos Dansby (11) runs a practice drill as linebackers coach Joe Whitt, Mark Brown (52) and Jake Slaughter (44) watch the action.
For Dansby and the Tigers to reach their goal, Auburn must upset Bama in Tuscaloosa and get help from others. The Tigers are 4-3 in the SEC play and need 4-2 LSU to lose at least one of its games vs. Ole Miss and Arkansas. The Tigers also need for Arkansas, which is 3-3 in the league, to lose a game because the Razorbacks win the head-to-head tiebreaker vs. Auburn. Arkansas plays at Mississippi State this Saturday and closes the regular season vs. LSU in Little Rock on Friday, Nov. 29th.
Coach Tommy Tuberville's Tigers, who are 7-4 overall, are an underdog going into Bryant-Denny Stadium vs. Alabama. However, Dansby notes that an underdog Tide team defeated Auburn last year at Jordan-Hare Stadium. "It is a rivalry game so everything is on the line right now, bragging rights and all, so we are going to have to handle our part," he says.
Dansby and fellow linebackers Mark Brown and Dontarrious Thomas are expected to face one of their toughest challenges of the season from a potent Alabama ground attack.
Dansby was less than full speed with an ankle problem as his Tigers lost a heartbreaker 24-21 to Georgia last Saturday. The junior says it is frustrating, but adds, "It bothers me a lot, but I have to play through it because everything is on the line. If you are a ballplayer, you have to fight through some adversity to do what you need to do to help your team."