Five X-Factors when the Tigers have the ball
#21 Tre Mason, 5-10, 198, so., RB, Auburn. We’ve discussed this during the week – as far as individual milestones go, really there’s none bigger than Mason needing 80 yards to get to 1,000. He’d be the fifth Auburn player to do that in Gene Chizik’s four seasons.
#80 Emory Blake, 6-2, 193, sr., Auburn. Speaking of milestones, and the number 80, Blake needs 33 yards to move into Auburn’s top-five all-time receiver. He needs 34 to reach 2,000 for his career. OC Scot Loeffler and QB Jonathan Wallace will be sure to get him there.
#51 Patrick Miller, 6-7, 288, fr., DB, Auburn. His name has been quiet recently. That’s a good thing for the young, previously-struggling tackle.
#32 C.J. Mosley, 6-2, 232, jr., LB, Alabama. Far and away the Tide’s top tackler, he’ll be Tre Mason’s worst enemy today.
#28 Dee Milliner, 6-1, 199, jr., DB, Alabama. Wallace has got to mark where No. 28 is on the field at all times.
Five X-Factors when the Crimson Tide has the ball
#4 T.J. Yeldon, 6-2, 216, fr., RB, Alabama. The former Auburn Tiger gets a chance to show the Plains up close what they’re missing.
#89 Michael Williams, 6-6, 269, sr., TE, Alabama. Security blanket for quarterback AJ McCarron to dump off in case Dee Ford and Corey Lemonier create some pressure. But also an excellent lead blocker to open lanes for Yeldon and Eddie Lacy.
#65 Chance Warmack, 6-3, 320, sr., LG, Alabama. Try not to get trucked by Warmack and Barrett Jones too much today, Angelo Blackson and Gabe Wright. You too, Jeff Whitaker and Ken Carter.
#55 Corey Lemonier, 6-4, 246, jr., DE, Auburn. Last chance to show NFL scouts he deserves to be a first-rounder. This junior season has not been a resounding audition.
#25 Daren Bates, 5-11, 215, sr., LB, Auburn. If he has a massive day, 18 tackles would tie him with Takeo Spikes for 10th all-time in the Auburn recordbooks. But more importantly, if Auburn has any prayer of an upset, Bates has shockingly been the defense’s top playmaker.
Five players you should watch since I can’t be at every game Saturday
#31 Kenny Miles, 5-9, 193, sr., RB, South Carolina. He’s got his starting job back since Marcus Lattimore went down. Of all the verbal bombs going back and forth between the head coaches, I loved this one the most from Clemson’s Dabo Swinney: “They’re never going to be Clemson, to be honest with you. No three-game win streak is going to change that … he’s exactly right. They ain’t Alabama. They ain’t LSU. And they’re certainly not Clemson. The university in this state always has been, always will be, Clemson. Print that. Tweet that. Whatever.” Get your popcorn ready, y’all.
#29 Jarvis Jones, 6-3, 241, jr., LB, Georgia. Tech runs that gimmicky triple option, so it’s important for the Bulldogs’ defense to fill their gaps all day long. This won’t be as great an opportunity for Jones to blow up a quarterback.
#17 Orwin Smith, 6-0, 202, sr., RB, Georgia Tech. Questionable with an ankle injury. The Yellow Jackets could really use the Central-Phenix City product, who’s averaging nine yards a tote for the team with more rushing yards than any other BCS school.
#14 Jaylen Watkins, 6-0, 187, jr., DB, Florida. One of the SEC’s top pass defenders will have to be active to slow Florida State’s top-flight attack.
#9 Marquis Lee, 6-1, 195, so., WR, USC. If the Trojans are to have a chance to shake up the national title picture again – another all-SEC affair, anyone? – without Matt Barkley, Lee’s gonna need to help out young QB Max Wittek big-time.