Interesting matchups abound on Week 13's loaded college football slate, and it's time to make this week a little more enjoyable by finding some winning tickets.
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We’ll look to keep it rolling after a 3-1 effort last week, which was aided by Notre Dame and Boise State‘s shutouts. There are three totals that stick out this week compared to my projections, and PFF Greenline shows an edge on two of the three as well.
This Alabama offense is a freight train, specifically in the passing game, where the Tide leads the nation in EPA per pass. At quarterback, Bryce Young ranks top three in passing grade and adjusted completion percentage while receiver Jameson Williams leads the country in 50-plus-yard receiving touchdowns.
The combination of Williams and fellow receiver John Metchie has proved to be one of the most fearsome duos in the nation, as the two have combined for over 2,000 receiving yards, 20 touchdowns and 48 explosive gains. There aren’t many defenses that can stop this passing attack, and an Auburn unit that ranks 84th in EPA allowed per pass certainly isn't one of them. Cornerback Roger McCreary has been a stud, but some Auburn defensive backs will be overmatched against Williams, Metchie and this loaded Alabama receiving corps.
The Tide’s ground game hasn’t been as dominant as many Alabama rushing attacks through the years, but it still ranks 19th in rushing grade. Brian Robinson leads the team in carries and the SEC in missed tackles forced. He has a very solid 89.5 rushing grade. Auburn ranks 65th in rushing success rate allowed. To date, the Tide have only been held below 40 points three times and should be able to produce through the air and on the ground against Auburn's defense.
On offense, Auburn enters this game ranked seventh in EPA per carrying, but will admittedly be in for a tough test against a strong Alabama run defense. Running back Tank Bigsby ranks top 20 in rushing grade and explosive runs. The Tide have been more vulnerable is against the pass, though, ranking outside the top 40 in EPA per pass and passing success rate allowed. The Tigers’ passing game has been hit-or-miss, but I wouldn’t expect the Alabama pass defense to dominate Auburn's passing attack.
This rivalry has produced some shootouts in recent years but don’t expect that to unfold this year. Neither offense has been very good, which is especially true for South Florida, which ranks 103rd in points per drive. The Bulls' passing game has really struggled due in large part to the quarterback position, as Timmy McClain ranks 113th in passing grade among 122 quarterbacks with at least 200 dropbacks. Those struggles will likely continue against UCF‘s defense, which ranks 15th in coverage grade and 14th in yards allowed per coverage snap.