1Toss the records out in games like this, they like to say. And I mean, sure. Pretend if you'd like that Alabama and Auburn are both 0-0 on Saturday. And we can entertain the only-plays-out-sometimes notion of an underdog rival ("rival" here being a word that doesn't feel nearly, idk, hateful enough) with not a damn thing to lose, doing that thing that rivals do: using real and imagined detestation, and contempt, and just outright hate, to wrench from their souls -- or maybe just their bodies -- the best damn performance they've ever performed. Because this is a rival, they say, this is sure to be the best So-and-so plays all season; because naturally, that well from which the now-exhausted players draw from all year has not only magically refilled itself, but also, somehow managed to become resupplied with a sort of special water. Like "Michael's secret stuff." They'd like for you to believe these things in all rivalry games, but especially in those like these. You may choose to believe that if Auburn wins on Saturday, it's because it managed to tap into a potential that only the dreaded and hated Alabama could catalyze. Believe this if you want; I will not argue against you.
2That El Tractorcito is the best player in the nation is an idea gaining steam, similar to El Tractorcito himself during his (bruising) runs. The Derrick Henry Heisman campaign has been in full bloom for a few weeks now, and another of those 30-plus carry, 200-some odd yard days could be the finisher. The Auburn run defense isn't exactly porous per se, but let's just say that Will Muschamp's coordinating hasn't been what we all thought it might be going into this season. There have been some injuries and whatever, sure, but frankly we may have overestimated AU's defensive talent. Once upon a time, Heisman fave Leonard Fournette practically built his reputation against Auburn; though the candidate they helped to springboard didn't quite make it to the finish line, it would seem fitting for the Tigers to help another runner cement his Heisman status.
3Alabama's players haven't done anything outright to disrespect Auburn, but they've been teetering awfully close this week. On Monday, Alabama center Ryan Kelly channeled Floyd Mayweather when asked about Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson: "I honestly don't know who that is." Kelly said. Instead of feigning ignorance on one of the team's better players, cornerback Cyrus Jones took it a bit further when asked about Auburn's receivers: "I don't think they're nothing special, honestly." Though Kelly and Jones are but two players on a team of many, it's hard not to believe their somewhat dismissive attitudes aren't being shared by team members. Which brings us back to point one.
4You should watch mostly just the guys wearing crimson and white on Saturday. But instead of naming offensive skill players, or maybe the occasional offensive tackle, I'll invite you to instead watch the Tide's defensive front(s): A'Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, Jonathan Allen, DJ Pettway, Darren Lake, Daron Payne, Dalvin Tomlinson. To watch these hefty yet nimble men work is a thing of beauty. It is not hyperbole to suggest that the Bama's D-line two-deep is among the best to ever do it, if not the best. And watching them break out of their stances, and tackle, and hurt people, is akin to watching a live-art performance.
5I was reviewing Auburn's 2015 season, and it's actually not like, horrendous. Except for LSU, AU almost pulled out some would-be wins over not-bad teams this year. Auburn's season has been a disappointment, sure, but that's only because the expectations were so high to begin with. A win Saturday would somewhat salvage an otherwise bummer of a season, and it could happen! Henry is the key to Bama's offense, we all know this; perhaps Muschamp concocts some great scheme that does the now-unthinkable, and makes Henry a non-factor? Probably not, though; and that said, I think Alabama wins on Saturday. But considering the fact this is a rivalry game, and Auburn's at home, and Auburn's being disrespected (somewhat) by both rival players and media, and Alabama has a lot on its mind, I'll say the game winds up being close: Alabama 30, Auburn 23. Enjoy your rivalry Saturday.