TicketCity’s weekly ranking of the 10 hottest games in college football is designed to identify the match-ups with the strongest ticket demand on a weekly basis. This week LSU vs. Alabama ranks #1 on our list. Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.
Why Auburn will win the biggest game of the week:
What a difference a season can make. Last year Auburn struggled through a 3-9 season. The Tigers went winless in SEC play. Fast forward to 2013 and Auburn is just two wins from playing for the SEC Championship. Head coach Guz Malzhan has brought a new attitude to Auburn.
One of the reasons for Auburn’s resurgence is the running game. The Tigers average 320 yards per game, third in the country. Runningback Tre Mason has scored seven touchdowns in Auburn’s last two games. Quarterback Nick Marshall, a Georgia transfer, rushed for 214 yards and two scores last week against Tennessee. Georgia ranks 31st in the country in run defense, giving up 138 yards per game. If Auburn can run the ball, and keep Georgia’s offense off the field, the Tigers should go into the season finale against Alabama with a shot at winning the SEC West.
Why I could be wrong:
Georgia has battled injuries throughout the season. The Bulldogs have been missing key playmakers on offense. Keith Marshall and Justin Scott-Wesley were lost for the season in the Tennessee game. Runningback Todd Gurley has missed three games. Wide receivers Chris Conley and Michael Bennett have missed multiple games. Despite all of the injuries, Georgia has kept fighting. Quarterback Aaron Murray has been the constant in the lineup. Murray set the record for career touchdown passes in the SEC during Georgia’s win over Appalachian State last week. Murray should get Conley and tight end Arthur Lynch back for the Auburn game. With some of his injured weapons returning, Murray gives Georgia a chance on Saturday. Auburn’s pass defense has been suspect, ranking 91st in the country while giving up 252 yards passing per game.
Why you don’t want to miss this one:
Auburn can’t look past Georgia towards the upcoming Iron Bowl. The wounded Bulldogs still have fight left in them. Georgia has dominated this series, winning six out of the last seven meetings. They would love to spoil Auburn’s magical run this season.
Jeff Kubiszyn is a long-time college football fan and joins TicketCity this season to highlight the biggest game of the week. He is by no means a college football expert, except at the dinner table.