- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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AUBURN, Ala. -- The rivalry feeling of the Iron Bowl is in full effect here in Auburn.
Friends aren't speaking to each other. Family members are parting ways. And opposing tents are competing in everything from food presentation to technological advantages ... but rarely sharing with the enemy.
From chants of "Thirteen. We've got 13 here," to, "Defending champs!" my first Iron Bowl has the exact atmosphere that I wanted.
Auburn isn't favored and isn't the team it was last year, while Alabama is a win away from probably securing a berth in the national championship. But the Tigers would love nothing more than to end the Tide's title hopes and ruin what was supposed to be a special season for those dressed in crimson. Auburn won't be holding back at all. Not for this game.
Auburn's student section filled up almost immediately after the gates opened and there is no lack of confidence swirling around down there.
As Alabama running back Trent Richardson said, records truly are thrown out for this game. Everyone wants it and everyone wants to ruin the other side's season.
Speaking of Richardson, he hasn't done well against Auburn in the past. His longest run has been for 7 yards, and he doesn't even have 100 total yards in two meetings with the Tigers. If he wants to get to the very top of the Heisman Trophy race, he needs a tremendous performance today on national television.
Alabama enters feeling pretty healthy on both sides. Offensive lineman Barrett Jones was back at practice this week since injuring his ankle. Nose guard Josh Chapman's knee appears to be healthier these days as well.
It sounds like linebackers Jonathan Evans and Jawara White will also be back for Auburn.
When talking to people around Alabama's program, revenge is definitely on the minds of these players. A chance at a national championship would make a win over the Tigers even sweeter.
I hear boos raining down from the stands, so Alabama's kickers must have taken the field for warmups.
11hEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
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