The 2013-14 season is going to be a tough one for the Auburn Tigers, as several games on their schedule will be close or blowouts going in the opposition’s favor.
The teams that Auburn will be facing are largely the same as those on the 2012-13 schedule. The problem is that the Tigers, who won three games last year, haven’t improved enough to compete with many of the other squads in the SEC—easily the toughest conference to play in.
Auburn will be taking on Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State and Ole Miss at home, among others. The Tigers will be on the road against LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Arkansas, among others.
Needless to say, it’s going to be a long season for Auburn football fans.
The Tigers’ schedule is a frightening one, but which matchups are going to be the hardest to win? Here’s a look at the three toughest games of the year for Auburn, what didn’t work a year ago and what’s to come this year.
3. September 21 at LSU
The third-toughest game on Auburn’s schedule is a bit of a toss-up. Georgia and LSU are both going to be difficult opponents, but seeing that Auburn plays Georgia at home and LSU on the road, the Tigers-Tigers matchup wins.
Auburn only won three games in 2012, but it would’ve been four if it could’ve put three more points on the board.
LSU, which was No. 2 in the country at the time, traveled to Jordan-Hare Stadium and nearly got upended. Auburn held a 10-9 lead at halftime, but LSU kicked a field goal in the third and the final score stood at 12-10.
Auburn couldn’t get much going on offense, totaling just 183 yards against its SEC foe. Part of the problem was the team’s inability to convert on third down. The Tigers—of Auburn—were 2-of-12 on third down and even just an additional conversion or two could’ve won the game for Auburn.
LSU isn't expected to be nearly as good as it was a year ago, losing a ton of talent on defense. This could end up being an upset if Auburn can put some points on the board.
If Auburn can win its first three games of the year, it could come into the Tigers-Tigers matchup with some momentum and the potential to win.
2. November 30 vs. Alabama
The Crimson Tide absolutely destroyed the Tigers in the regular-season finale a year ago. Auburn traveled to Alabama only to allow the eventual national champions to score 49 points while failing to put even two points up on the scoreboard.
It was the worst loss the Tigers suffered all year long.
Auburn’s biggest problem in the game was that it couldn’t get any offense going whatsoever and also didn’t have an answer for Bama’s run game. The Tigers only had 163 yards of offense—71 in the air and 92 on the yard. Alabama had 267 yards on the ground and 483 in total.
While Alabama sent a lot of players to the NFL via the draft, there are still many stars bound to give the Tigers headaches in the 2013 finale.
A.J. McCarron will be lethal through the air and T.J. Yeldon will torch the defense on the ground.
Alabama is the top team in the country and for good reason. The Crimson Tide have dominated nearly every other program in the nation, including Auburn. The reigning champions should have no problem winning the Iron Bowl for the fifth time in the last six years.
Hey, at least Auburn is home this year.
1. October 19 at Texas A&M
While playing Alabama is going to be a disaster, the toughest game Auburn will play in the upcoming season is when the Tigers have to travel to College Station. The Aggies are arguably the second-best team in the country behind the aforementioned Crimson Tide.
As long as Johnny Manziel is the quarterback for this game, Auburn is in trouble.
When these two teams faced off a year ago, Manziel and the Aggies put up 63 points on the Tigers, which was the most Auburn allowed all season long.
Manziel was a constant pain for the Tigers defense, as he was running and throwing all over the field en route to a 350-yard, five-touchdown performance.
There were four Aggies with at least 60 rushing yards and Texas A&M totaled 352 yards on the ground on the night. Auburn didn’t even have that many yards of total offense—although the Tigers were close with 211 through the air and 124 on the ground.
Even then, Auburn was lucky the game didn’t get any uglier.
Manziel is going to help the Aggies make a run toward a BCS National Championship and he isn’t going to allow the Tigers to stand in his program’s way. This should be a blowout, with a tally going in Texas A&M’s win column.