Saturday’s Iron Bowl will be Nick Saban‘s 18th against Auburn. The world’s greatest living college football coach led his team in five Tiger Bowls while at LSU and, Saturday’s Iron Bowl will be his 13th as head coach of the Crimson Tide.
He enters the Iron Bowl a commendable 10-7 lifetime against Auburn but, as former AL.com columnist Kevin Scarbinsky points out, those 10 wins and seven losses are split starkly across one divide. Saban is 10-0 against Auburn teams that finish the season with fewer than nine wins, and a perfect 0-7 against Auburn teams that go on to win nine or more games.
Allow us to show our work:
- 2000: LSU loses 34-17 to an eventual 9-4 Auburn
- 2001: LSU wins 24-17, Auburn finishes 7-5
- 2002: LSU loses 31-7 to a 9-4 Auburn team
- 2003: LSU wins 31-7, Auburn finishes 8-5
- 2004: LSU loses 10-9 to a 13-0 Auburn team
- 2007: Alabama loses 17-10 to a 9-4 Auburn team
- 2008: Alabama wins 36-0, Auburn finishes 5-7
- 2009: Alabama wins 26-21, Auburn finishes 8-5
- 2010: Alabama loses 28-27 to a 14-0 Auburn team
- 2011: Alabama wins 42-14, Auburn finishes 8-5
- 2012: Alabama wins 49-0, Auburn finishes 3-9
- 2013: Alabama loses 34-28 to a 12-2 Auburn team
- 2014: Alabama wins 55-44, Auburn finishes 8-5
- 2015: Alabama wins 29-13, Auburn finishes 7-6
- 2016: Alabama wins 30-12, Auburn finishes 8-5
- 2017: Alabama loses 26-14 to a 10-4 Auburn team
- 2018: Alabama wins 52-21, Alabama finishes 8-5
If you’re a believer in some sort of supernatural force governing the balance between Saban’s strength and Auburn, the circumstances of this year’s game may tell us more about Auburn than Alabama.
Auburn enters Saturday at 8-3, which means either Auburn will win and this statistic will go a perfect 18-for-18, or Auburn will lose and you can bet the house on the Tigers losing their bowl game.