Iron Bowl still stands out even without CFP implications

A look at Week 13 in the Southeastern Conference:


Auburn (5-6, 2-5) at No. 8 Alabama (9-2, 5-2, No. 8 CFP).

In a week full of traditional rivals, the Iron Bowl stands out. There’s no trip to the Southeastern Conference title game on the line, but there’s plenty of drama for both teams. The Crimson Tide had only been outside the College Football Playoff once in the first six years through 2022. A loss in this one could drop Alabama outside the six rows of New Year’s bowls. Alabama’s two losses account for a total of four points. Alabama is led by Heisman Troph-winning quarterback Bryce Young, who passed for 2,664 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. Auburn has beaten Texas A&M and Western Kentucky in the past two weeks. The Tigers and interim coach Carnell Williams hope to win against rival Alabama for the third time in the past nine games. Tigers tailback Jarquez Hunter has run 100 yards or more in both wins. He also rushed for a touchdown and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Koy Moore.


State of Mississippi (7-3, 3-4) ranked No. 20 Mississippi (8-3, 4-3)

The Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night should be entertaining just for the sideline photos of Mississippi State coach Mike Leach and Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin. The Bulldogs lead the SEC with 549 pass attempts. No one else in the league has scored 400 this season. Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers averages 303 yards of offense per game to lead the SEC. Ole Miss relies on his run game and freshman Quinshon Judkins, who leads the league with 1,385 yards and 16 touchdowns. The series between the state rivals has been fiercely contested, with each school winning 15 of the past 30 meetings. The Rebels come in on a two game win streak.


Mississippi State Junior Emmanuel Forbes leads the SEC with six interceptions, double all others this season. Forbes returned three of them for touchdowns, extending his FBS record of six. He has 14 career picks and is the active leader among FBS players. Forbes intercepted return touchdowns against Texas A&M, Kentucky and East Tennessee State. Against the Aggies, Forbes also blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown.


Florida has gone 434 games without being shut out, a streak dating back to 1988 and a 16-0 loss to Auburn. …Arkansas defensive back Kris Abrams-Draine is tied for the SEC lead with 11 pass breakups. …Georgia has scored on 59 of its 61 possessions within the opposing team’s 20-yard line. That leads the country by 97%. … Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez tied the school score last week with his 19th 100-yard rushing game. … LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels passed 3,000 yards of total offense last week to become the fourth player in school history to accomplish that in a season.


No. 9 Tennessee (9-2, 5-2) will have to keep their heads straight so that the loss to South Carolina doesn’t hurt them twice at Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5). The Commodores are on a two game win streak and would love to add the Vols to their success. Tennessee will have to do without star QB Hendon Hooker, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in South Carolina and is out for the year.


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