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November 25, 2013

INSIDER REPORT: Iron Bowl a hot ticket

If you're still looking for reasonably priced Iron Bowl tickets you're not alone.

According to SeatGeek.com, a secondary ticket market, tickets average $476, up 58 percent from before Auburn's last-second win over Georgia. The game is more in demand than the following week's Southeastern Conference Championship Game. It is the second highest ticket price of the season behind only Alabama-Texas A&M, which averaged $639 per ticket.

To put in perspective, other rivalry games this week are selling for much less than that of an Iron Bowl ticket. Ohio State-Michigan is averaging $272 per ticket, Clemson-South Carolina $240.

Not having a ticket isn't expected to keep some away from the Plains. Auburn & Opelika Tourism Bureau president John Wild said the city is expecting a conservative estimate of more than 100.000 people. The capacity at Jordan-Hare Stadium is 87,451.

Auburn Arena will open for fans without tickets complete with concessions for sale and the game shown on a big screen.

Awaiting the challenge
Players can be especially tight-lipped during big-game weeks. There's always the fear of saying the wrong thing.

Senior quarterback AJ McCarron said he doesn't put any added pressure on this week. It's just another game.

"You guys like to make this game a lot bigger than every other game of the century bigger than what it is," McCarron said. "It's just another Saturday, it's just another team. Let's just go out and take care of our business, play the way we're supposed to play. We'll be fine."

However, sophomore safety Landon Collins loves playing in these type of matchups.

"Playing in these big games is just overlooking what you have been through and saying, 'I can do this. I've done this before, why can't I do it again?'" Collins said. "That's how we're looking at this game when we're going into it.

"I love these kinds of games. They're going to talk a lot of trash and that's the type of thing I like. I don't like quiet games, it takes that fire out of me. You have to stay focused, you have to stay mentally focused more. These are the types of games that are very, very crazy and these are the types of games I like."

Blue Grass Miracle
Nick Saban knows a thing or two about being on the receiving end of a last-second, improbable win like the one Auburn pulled out against Georgia. Saban was the coach at LSU in 2002 when the Tigers completed a 74-yard pass for a touchdown as time expired.

That pass, like the one Auburn completed, was tipped. But that's about the only thing Saban thinks the two games have in common.

"I think there's a big difference in those two games," he said. "First of all, I thought when we played at Kentucky, we didn't play a very good game. I think Auburn played a very good game against Georgia. And they made a play at the end of the game that won the game for them.

"I just felt like we didn't play a very good game at Kentucky and we got kind of lucky to win, which to me was not a good thing. In their case, they played a very good game. I don't think they were lucky to win."

Mosley makes cut for Butkus
C.J. Mosley made the list for another end-of-the-season award Monday morning when the Butkus Award finalists were released.

The senior linebacker from Mobile was one of five finalists to make the cut, including Anthony Barr, UCLA; Khalil Mack, Buffalo; Ryan Shazier, Ohio State; and Shayne Skov, Stanford.

Mosley would be the third Alabama player to capture the award along with Derrick Thomas (1988) and Rolando McClain (2009). Mosley has 88 tackles, including nine tackles for loss.

It will be a busy award season for Mosley, who is also a finalist for the Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy, as well as a semifinalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Lott IMPACT Trophy.

"C.J.'s played fantastic football every game this year," Saban said. "I can't recall that he's ever had a bad game."

Injuries
Saban said the only player that will be hold out of practice Monday is left guard Arie Kouandjio.

"He will practice (today)," Saban said. "I think everybody else will be able to practice."

McCarron named a finalist
McCarron was named a finalist for the Maxwell Award and Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award on Monday afternoon.

The senior quarterback has thrown for 2,399 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Tide facing highest ranked team as No. 1
Saturday's game will feature the highest ranked opponent Alabama has ever faced in the regular season when the Crimson Tide has been ranked No. 1 in the country.

Auburn ranks No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and the BCS Standings. The Tigers are fifth in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The previous highest was when Alabama took on No. 5 LSU on Nov. 3, 2012.

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0229.

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Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron.suttles@tuscaloosanews.com or 205.722.0229. 

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