|There is no place like home. JHS at sunset|
After taking the time to come down off an emotional high, I wanted to discuss a few things about our Tigers with our readers. I recently posted an article over at Track Em Tigers the topic of which was centered around Auburn's chances to play for it all. Looking forward is a fan's pastime, and prerogative.
It seems that this subject, or variations of it, are surfacing all over the blAUgasphere(+$1 to my friends at TWER) . The most intriguing one being the Bowl projection post on the blog over at War Eagle Extra. Ryan Black even includes projected percentages that Auburn actually goes to each Bowl with a tie-in to the SEC. You might want to go read that one, it is worth your time.
Let's talk now about what the Tigers are actually up against in the remainder of their schedule. I am going to skip Florida Atlantic because I don't see them as a threat. You would have thought I learned my lesson with the way we played last season, but alas, old habits die hard.
This team presents a real challenge to the coaching staff. Everyone knows that the Hawgs are down this year. Getting this team ready will be difficult after two consecutive weeks of hearing how good they are.
Coach Malzahn keeps saying that they have not talked about last season. "It's a new day" is the slogan for the year. I think I would use the game last season as motivation to prepare the very best way possible. If you remember, last year many projected Auburn to win this game, because of how badly Arkansas was playing under John L. Smith. We didn't win the game, and most everyone had made up their mind that changes were going to be made at Auburn. There were howls for a change to be made right then.
This season however I see us being able to go on the road, and grab another victory. I think Gus could name the score he wants.
Tennessee is the most intriguing of the games left on the Tiger's schedule. They have improved, no doubt, but how much? Is Alabama so good that we won't be able to accurately judge how much the Vols have progressed? These questions and more make this game the hardest to forecast. Auburn should have two road conference victories as they stroll into Neyland Stadium. 105,000 plus fans will be trying to repel the invaders from the Plains of East Central Alabama.
As this is written the Vols are 4-3 and 1-2 in conference play. They are ranked 59th in scoring offense, and 66th in scoring defense, and not nationally ranked in any of the polls. They have to travel to Tuscaloosa to play Bama, and then to Columbia, MO to play the Eastern Division version of the Tigers. Auburn will be a favorite in this game, but this is a trap game by any definition.
Auburn itself should be inside the Top 10 by the time this game kicks off. Execution of the game plan without fault will be the order of the day. Any other performance, and Auburn will limp home with a sore tail. Even sitting here at the halfway point in the season, this game is too close to call, but so far the Tigers have improved dramatically each week with no reason to stop now. Auburn wins!
This years version of the Athens canines are a far cry from what many people thought we'd see. The polar opposite of what our Auburn Tigers are. The Dawgs are wounded, and in a tail spin as this is written. Mark Richt will have to do his very best coaching or this season can turn into a complete disaster. Georgia's record is currently 4-3 and they are coming off a road loss to Vanderbilt.
Georgia has a week off to get healthy, and partakes in the "World's Largest Cocktail Party" where they play an inept Florida team. Then they play host to App State before traveling to Jordan-Hare. That week of rest and winning their next two contests could give this team some confidence before our game with them, and that is exactly what we don't need.
I like our odds at home though, and it will be ours to win or lose.
There are no incentives needed for this game. They have manhandled us the last two seasons, and it's time for a little retribution. he biggest problem will be our offensive strength matches up evenly with their defensive strength.
Auburn currently sits at the 6th position in rushing offense according to national rankings, and Alabama sits 8th nationally in rushing defense. Strength vs. strength. Bama is 53rd in passing offense while Auburn is 99th. the edge here goes to the 5th year Senior QB at Alabama. Considering Auburn's defensive backfield woes right now, this may be the difference in the game.
Auburn's DL will have to have the game of their collective lives. We will need sacks, and QB hurries galore. I believe we can beat this talented Alabama team. It will take a flawless effort on both sides of the ball.
Our season and the post season destination will be completely up to our performances from here on out. We can win out and play in the Sugar Bowl, or even land in Pasedena and play for all the marbles. That we are even talking about this, after the lackluster season of a year ago, seems a fantasy.
We could also end up somewhere else completely. Where ever we end up visiting in the post season, Auburn football is fun again and I like that.