Auburn football: Tigers can ruin College Football Playoff hopes for Alabama

Bo Nix, Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Bo Nix, Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Auburn football lives to spoil Alabama football’s national championship aspirations.

Auburn can run rival Alabama’s College Football Playoff plans with a big win in the Iron Bowl.

Even if the Auburn Tigers have two losses on the season, they have been a top-five team in the SEC throughout the year and a fixture in the AP Top 25 Poll. Though they will be a massive underdog vs. the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, the No. 22 team in the nation is totally capable of stunning its bitter arch-rival and ruining the Crimson Tide’s playoff chances.

How Auburn keeps Alabama out of the 2021 College Football Playoff

Alabama is 7-0 on the season and the presumptive favorite to win the SEC West, defeat almost certainly the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game and clinch the program’s sixth playoff berth in seven seasons, very likely as the No. 1 overall seed. Though Alabama will be favored in every game the rest of the way, its home date vs. Auburn is a huge challenge it must overcome.

Auburn has won two of the last three Iron Bowls. However, both of those games were played at Jordan-Hare down on The Plains. By falling to Auburn last year, Alabama suffered its second SEC loss of the season. Not only did the Crimson Tide not get to play in its sixth straight College Football Playoff, but the team did not even get invited to a prestigious New Year’s Six bowl game.

So besides bragging rights, what would an upset win mean for Auburn? Better yet, what does it mean for Alabama going forward? Auburn would be playing with tremendous confidence when the Tigers host the Texas A&M Aggies. If the Tigers beat two top-five teams in a row and slaughter the Mississippi State Bulldogs at the end of the regular-season, their 8-2 record means New Year’s Six.

But if Alabama loses, all the pressure in the world is on the Tide. They would have two road dates vs. a resurgent Arkansas Razorbacks team and an LSU Tigers team with nothing left to lose. Though a second regular-season loss is not happening for the Crimson Tide in 2020, the Hogs or either Tigers team could have exposed something for Florida to exploit in the SEC Championship.

While Alabama would be favored over Florida in the neutral-site affair, only one of those teams is getting into the playoff if both have a loss on their resume up to that point. If Alabama was a perfect 10-0 heading into the SEC Championship, the Crimson Tide could feel confident about having already punched their ticket into the four-team field. Auburn can throw a wrench in it all.

Losing at home to a massive underdog in Auburn is exactly what Alabama has to avoid Saturday.

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