Nutt: Auburn's Defense Could Spoil Alabama's Hopes

With the Iron Bowl looming, Alabama fans probaby shouldn't assume the Tide will win out

Reiter Than You
November 14, 2019 - 9:27 am
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No. 5 Alabama (8-1) has taken center stage in the College Football Playoff debate, with talking heads already trying to handicap whether the Tide will once again make the playoff despite not winning an SEC Championship. Many believe that if the Tide win out, they’re in.

There are just two problems with that line of thinking: one, Alabama would likely need help elsewhere, and two, Alabama still has to play No. 12 Auburn (7-2) on the road on Nov. 30.

The Tide have won four of the last five Iron Bowls, but what are the chances Auburn gets it done this season?

“The one thing about a rival game, the old cliche of you can always throw out the records, there’s a lot of truth to that,” CBS Sports college football analyst Houston Nutt said on Reiter Than You. “The emotion of that game, it’s strong – very strong. Auburn offensively, probably not as good as in years past, has some trouble scoring and being consistent. But the one thing they don’t have trouble with is playing defense.”

Auburn held LSU to 23 points in their Oct. 26 clash in Baton Rouge and are allowing just 17.4 points per game on the season.

“Kevin Steele’s defense right now may be – may be – the best defense in the country,” Nutt said. “if not, it would be (one of the best). So that always gives you a chance when you have a defense that can do what they do. They can stop the run. They can stop big plays, the explosive ways, and get the ball back to the offense. The offense has to take care of it and score just a few points because that defense is going to be tough.

“Saying all that, they haven’t faced anybody like Tua Tagovailoa all year with four receivers that are NFL-ready,” Nutt continued, referring to DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle. “All these guys are phenomenal, and so their work is cut out for them. But that defense, they always have a chance. They’re going to have a chance against Georgia. Why? Defense. They’re going to have a chance against Alabama. Why? Defense.”

Auburn faces No. 4 Georgia (8-1) this Saturday, while Alabama will square off with Mississippi State (4-5) in Starkville.