Tuberville: Players are smiling

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville senses a difference in his players once the Iron Bowl comes around.

Most notably, more of them are smiling in practice. The Tigers (5-6, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) are hoping to restore a little joy to a disappointing season entering Saturday's visit to No. 1 Alabama.

The Tigers still have plenty riding on the game, even if it's nowhere near as grandiose as the national or SEC title that are within Alabama's grasp. A potential bowl bid. Extending the Iron Bowl winning streak to seven years. And a chance to play the role of spoiler against the team's biggest rival.

Auburn cornerback Jerraud Powers doesn't think the poor season detracts from the excitement swirling around the game.

The Tide is favored by two touchdowns.

Tuberville said Monday wants his players to enjoy the experience of what he calls "a rival game like no other."

Auburn has dropped four SEC games by five points or less, including a 17-13 defeat to Georgia two weeks ago.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)