HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama doesn’t play around when it comes to facing off against Auburn since the Kick Six in 2013.
The Tide have won each of the last two games by double digits, including a 55-44 victory in 2014 that was the highest-scoring game in Iron Bowl history. The 29-13 victory last season in Auburn helped seal an SEC West title and, eventually, Alabama won a national title.
Whether Auburn can rebound and pull off what would be, on paper in the preseason, a big upset at Alabama this season remains to be seen. Alabama coach Nick Saban, in his own distinct way, seemed a tad flustered about talking Wednesday about the season-ending game in the Iron Bowl during SEC Media Days.
“Well, first of all what happened the last two years, what happened last year at Auburn, what their record was last year, what our record was last year, who has won the last two games, will have absolutely no effect on the game that we play, when the Iron Bowl comes in November,” Saban said. “Absolutely none. They’re going to have a good team. They have good players.”
Gus Malzahn enters his fourth year at Auburn having lost nine of his last 11 SEC games, including an 0-4 mark at home last season. Alabama players were a well-coached bunch and didn’t provide much controversy when asked about the rivalry, though Eddie Jackson seemed confident the Tide will win a third straight Iron Bowl.
“Yes, sir,” Jackson said. “I mean, we’re taking it game by game.”
Malzahn opened his Auburn coaching career with a victory in the Iron Bowl thanks to a fourth-quarter rally, several defensive stands and, of course, the miraculous 109-yard return of a missed field goal at the end of regulation. The Kick Six will forever live as one of the best plays ever in college football history, but Auburn has struggled ever since. The Tigers have followed that 12-2 season with 8-5 and 7-6 records heading into 2016.
“Gus is a good coach, he does a great job with their offense,” Saban said. “Coach (Kevin) Steele does a really good job with their defense, they’ve got good (defensive) front people. This is a team I expect to be a very, very challenging team.”