It’s not easy being Gus Malzahn. The Auburn coach makes his living in the same state as Alabama’s Nick Saban, the king of college football for more than a decade, and Malzahn is expected to win his fair share of their head-to-head duels.
Malzahn has done a respectable job, leading the Tigers to a 3-4 record against the Crimson Tide. Saban won’t be on the sideline Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19 this week, but his absence has not impacted the point spread in the Iron Bowl. At most books, top-ranked Alabama is a 24.5-point home favorite without Saban, who will watch from home while offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian runs the team. There’s no way to know exactly how much the Tide might miss Saban’s menacing presence and, more importantly, his in-game adjustments.