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Auburn quarterback Bo Nix will not get to play in the Iron Bowl Saturday against No. 2 Alabama as he is sidelined for the season with an ankle injury.
But he was able to fire a few strikes at the Crimson Tide during an appearance on The Next Round podcast in Birmingham. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS, and Alabama is a 19-point favorite by FanDuel.
Nix was asked about Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s school record setting performance of 561 yards and five touchdowns on 31-of-40 passing in the Tide’s 42-35 win over Arkansas Saturday.
He said “Arkansas almost did the same thing,” as he was referencing Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson, who completed 22 of 30 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns.
Then Nix added, “Just a few of those, obviously, controversial calls that were in that game raises some questions for sure, I guess, unless you’re an Alabama fan. But that’s just part of the game. We’ve discussed it over and over and over. That’s not going to change, no matter what happens. But it was a good one for sure.”
CBS announcer Gary Danielson criticized the officiating for being pro Alabama in the first half as Jefferson was whistled for intentional grounding in a surprise call, and there was a non-call on what looked like pass interference against the Tide.
Officials were roundly criticized for calling for Alabama on Twitter. And Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek seemed to be taking a shot at officials in a tweet after the game.
“Disappointed for everyone in the Razorback locker room,” he said. “Played and coached their hearts out, earned and deserved better. Two years in a row leaving this state with a bad taste in my mouth. Proud today and every day to be an Arkansas Razorback.”
But that last part wasn’t about Alabama bias. He was referencing a controversial call in Arkansas’ 30-28 loss at Auburn last season.
Later in the podcast with Nix, host Jim Dunaway asked Nix to elaborate on his comment about officiating.
“You’re not insinuating Alabama gets calls by the SEC officials or anything, right?” Dunaway asked with a laugh.
“I mean, legitimately, I think you can watch the game, and anybody unbiased will think that someting is different,” said Nix, who may be biased himself. He has been Auburn’s starting quarterback for three seasons. His dad Patrick was Auburn’s starting quarterback in 1994 and ’95, and his mother Krista went to Auburn.
“But it is what it is,” Nix said. “It’s kind of how it’s always been. But that’s part of the game. And they have good players. You can’t take that away from them.”
Nix tried to soften his comments as he described how talented Alabama’s and Arkansas’ receivers are.
“I think that can make officiating kind of hard,” he said. “Just with the speed of the game.”
Alabama has won six national championships beginning in the 2009 season under coach Nick Saban, who arrived in 2007. It should be noted that while Alabama had four losing seasons and a .500 season from 1997 through 2006, there were not a lot of allegations of officiating being pro Alabama.