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Jumbo Package: Can Bryce Young put an exclamation point on his Alabama career?

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Happy Friday, everyone. I trust that everyone had a good Thanksgiving, capped off by a resounding Tide hoops victory out in Portland. If the turkey dinner knocked you out too early to catch that one. make sure you tune in at 8:30 central tonight as they face off against the UConn Huskies in a battle of unbeatens. We will be along later with a full preview, per usual

Of course, tomorrow the football team has its annual scrimmage against that cow college from the other side of the state. Your previews:

This season’s Iron Bowl will be dramatic. If not on the field, it will at least be interesting to see what happens on the Auburn sideline. Cadillac Willams will be head coach for this game, but will Lane Kiffin be lurking in the shadows as dreams of ass chewings and Sugar Bowls dance in his head?

Will Alabama be able to bring enough energy to match what Cadillac has brought to the Auburn program? If this game were on the road, Auburn’s interim coach would have a huge win on his young resume. Because it’s in Tuscaloosa, I think the home field will be just enough for Alabama to escape with a victory and yet another 10-win season under Nick Saban.

PREDICTION: Alabama 28, Auburn 24

Alabama 27, Auburn 10: It could very well end up closer than this considering it’s the Iron Bowl, but on paper, the Crimson Tide should win by a couple touchdowns. If this is Young’s last game in an Alabama uniform, he won’t want to end on a lackluster performance.

SP+ prediction: The projection model created by ESPN’s Bill Connelly estimates that Alabama will defeat Auburn, 41-15, a margin of 26.5 points, with a 94 percent chance to win the game outright.

FPI prediction: Alabama has a 94.5 percent chance to win the game, according to the Football Power Index computers that predict winners by simulating a team’s season 20,000 times. Auburn has the 5.5 percent edge in the game.

Alabama 34, Auburn 10: This is the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Iron Bowl in which the Tigers scored two touchdowns on blocked punts to upset the Tide 17-16. The game was appropriately nicknamed “Punt Bama Punt.”

Although Alabama’s current team has lost only twice, it likely will be remembered for too many penalties, too many dropped passes, and two last-second losses.

But even if Auburn blocks two punts for touchdowns, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young still will find a way to win the game – just like he did last season.

The “Cadillac factor” under interim coach Carnell Williams has made a huge difference for the Auburn Tigers, but this is a different animal. This is the Iron Bowl against an Alabama team that is significantly more talented, and has a quarterback in Bryce Young who is likely making his last home start before moving on to the NFL. I fully expect this to be close(ish) for two-and-a-half quarters but for things to get sideways late and Young to go out with a bang. Pick: Alabama (-22)

Since firing Bryan Harsin, the Tigers took a decent Mississippi State squad to overtime, and beat Texas A&M and Western Kentucky. The vibes around the program under interim coach Cadillac Williams are on a different level.

Alabama is on a different talent and production level, but the Tide have been incredibly vulnerable in 2022. Nick Saban’s squad has won three games by one score, including a field goal as time expired against Texas and stopping Texas A&M at the goal line. Last week, the Tide scored just 17 first-half points against FCS opponent Austin Peay. Alabama isn’t Alabama this year, and a juiced-up Auburn team could take advantage. Pick: Auburn +1050

Phillip Marshall: ”It’s the Iron Bowl, so you can throw the records out the window, right? Not really. Significant upsets are rare in the Auburn-Alabama series. They are even rarer for the road team. In fact, the last time a road underdog won in the Iron Bowl was 2002, when an injury-riddled Auburn team won 17-7 in Tuscaloosa.

I don’t believe this Alabama team is nearly as imposing as in recent years. Auburn has been rejuvenated by interim head coach Cadillac Williams, but Alabama still has significantly more firepower. The Tigers will have to successfully run the ball to have a chance. I expect them to have some success, but not enough.

Alabama 31, Auburn 20

As you can see, even noted Auburn homer Phillip Marshall can’t quite get to an Auburn upset. The weather is going to be dreary in Tuscaloosa tomorrow with an 80% chance of rain, so don’t expect to see many passing game fireworks. Will the rivalry be enough to get this group of upperclassmen to put a full game together, against an Auburn team with bowl eligibility on the line and playing for an interim coach’s job?

Your guess is as good as mine. I’m going with an ugly slog that ends in a Tide victory, somewhere in the neighborhood of 27-9.

Of course that is merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.

Mississippi State lost the Egg Bowl, and Lane Kiffin said after the game that he plans to stay at Ole Miss.

Lane Kiffin kept it brief when asked about his future at Ole Miss after his team wrapped up its regular-season schedule.

Following the Rebels’ 24-22 loss in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night, Kiffin was asked if he anticipates being Ole Miss’ coach next season, even if he is offered the job at Auburn. His response was two words.

“I do,” he told reporters in Oxford, Miss.

Guess that settles that.

Last, as we have previously mentioned, Tennessee has thrown Jeremy Pruitt all the way under the proverbial bus.

Tennessee is defending itself against the NCAA’s Level I charge of failing to monitor the football program, saying former coach Jeremy Pruitt and nine others fired “repeatedly deceived” administrators and compliance staff overseeing the program.

“The University respectfully submits that it is unrealistic to expect an institution to prevent, or immediately detect, the intentional and concealed misconduct that occurred in this case,” Tennessee wrote in the 108-page response dated Monday and obtained first by Knox News on Thursday.

Tennessee started an internal investigation following a tip on Nov. 13, 2020, and found what the university chancellor called “serious violations of NCAA rules.” Pruitt and nine others were fired for cause in January 2021, negating Pruitt’s $12.6 million buyout after he went 16-19 in three seasons.

If you believe that this is seriously a case of nobody else knowing what was going on and not pure scapegoating in effort to nullify the buyout in court while avoiding the dreaded “Lack of Institutional Control” penalties that usual then I have some nice ocean view land in Idaho to show you.

To think that the nation briefly embraced that disgusting program.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.

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