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We'll stick in the SEC for our next program on the list: Auburn.
The Tigers took the much-anticipated step backwards last season. Any program in the nation that losses that much talent all at once is going to experience some drop in success. Auburn actually did a nice job of not falling into complete irrelevance after the departure of Cam Newton and pals—which was certainly possible.
Now, Gene Chizik will welcome back 18 starters from last season, and it's entirely possible Auburn could be a big factor in the SEC West in 2012.
But there are still the big boys on the SEC block, and Auburn is going to find itself over-matched in at least a few of these games.
Auburn is lucky enough to get LSU at home, and the now-questionable Razorbacks come to town after an Auburn bye week just after that.
The Tigers get the Aggies at Jordan-Hare, too, and Georgia is also coming to town. From the looks of things, it seems as if most of the tough games for Auburn will occur after a good night's sleep in their own beds.
But there's still that lingering question about knocking off Alabama at Alabama.
If—and that's a big if—Auburn can make it all the way to November 24 without a blemish on the record, the Tigers will still be tasked with knocking off the defending BCS National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium in what could be one of the most anticipated games of the season.
With all of the top teams appearing on the schedule, we have to wonder what the realistic chances are that Auburn manages to finish without a loss.
We're thinking not too good.