Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers: Predicting the Iron Bowl Winner by the Numbers

By Scott Page

How does the old saying go again? Something like, you can throw out the numbers in a rivalry game. As much could be said about the biggest Iron Bowl in history, featuring No. 1 Alabama (11-0, 7-0) and No. 4 Auburn (10-1, 6-1). But still, the stats are there. And we’re going to plug them into a very simple formula to predict the winner of the de-facto SEC West championship game.

First we calculate the mean offensive and defensive scoring averages of the Tide and Tigers common opponents – Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas A&M. In other words, these teams’ combined average offensive score is 30.9 against all competition with a defensive average of 27.5 points per game.

We then compared those to Auburn and Alabama’s averages against those six teams and took the difference. Alabama scored an average of 38.2 points against those teams and gave up an average of 12.7 points. That means the Crimson Tide put up 10.7 points more than those teams’ mean defensive average and held them 18.2 points below their mean offensive average.

Auburn, on the other hand, scored an average of 35 points against those six teams while yielding 26.3 points. So the Tigers scored 7.1 points more than those teams’ mean defensive average and held them 4.6 points below their mean offensive average.

The next step involved is applying those scoring differences against the six common opponents to Alabama and Auburn’s overall offensive and defensive scoring averages. Alabama’s season scoring averages are 39.7 (offense) and 9.3 (defense). Auburn’s are 39 (offense) and 22 (defense).

So Alabama’s offensive average is adjusted by the -4.6 points Auburn held those six teams below their mean scoring average for a new offensive figure of 35.1. The Tide’s defensive average was adjusted by the Tigers’ +3.1 points offensive difference to 16.4. In the same manner, Auburn’s season averages were adjusted to 20.8 (offense) and 32.7 (defense).

For the final step, we simply took the average of each team’s adjusted offensive and defensive figures to predict the final score. Alabama’s offense (35.1) averaged with Auburn’s defense (32.7) predicts 33.9 points for the Crimson Tide. Auburn’s offense (20.8) averaged with Alabama’s defense (16.4) predicts 18.6 points for the Tigers.

Based on this Archimedean mathematical analysis, Alabama will win the Iron bowl by a score of 34-19.

Now that you’ve read this article, there’s no need to waste your time watching the game. In short, you’re welcome. I just saved you three and a half precious hours of your Saturday.

Scott Page is a college football writer for Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Alabama Crimson Tide: 5 Keys to Victory in Iron Bowl

Auburn Tigers: 5 Keys to Victory in Iron Bowl

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