HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-This year's edition of the Iron Bowl will once again have national championship implications, and it appears many local fans and sportswriters are not giving Auburn (3-8) much of a chance against second-ranked Alabama (10-1).
The Crimson Tide are a whopping 33 point favorite against the Tigers on Saturday, the largest pre-game spread in Iron Bowl history. Most pundits predict that Alabama will return to the BCS National Champinship game if they defeat Auburn and then Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
Huntsville Times columnist Mark McCarter has been covering the Iron Bowl for decades, and calls the 2012 edition one of the least buzzworthy in recent years.
"It's a mismatch, and occasionally in this rivalry that happens," said McCarter, who predicts a large Alabama victory Saturday. "It kind of just comes down to one word: Talent. Almost at every position, Alabama is just a better football team...For Auburn, it has to be sort of a relaxed, nothing to lose attitude you take. But is that enough to overcome the talent disparity? I don't see it."
Local fans of both teams agreed that Alabama has a decisive edge, but a few Tiger die-hards predicted that Auburn will at least make things interesting.
"We always stand a chance, simple as that," said Auburn fan Brian Davis. "I think it's going to be a good game. I know everyone is hoping for a blowout, but obviously, that's not going to happen."
Alabama fans we talked to dismissed talk of a competitive game, with some already making plans for post-game gloating.
"I don't think they [Auburn] has a chance at all," said Crimson Tide supporter Ashley Carmichael. "My sister, who's my best friend, is an Auburn fan, and for those three hours we are not good friends. I can't wait to rub it in her face this year when we win again."