When Gus Malzahn became Auburn's head coach in December 2012, the challenge facing him was immense.
The Tigers were coming off their worst season in recent history, an embarrassing 3-9 campaign that featured zero conference wins. Auburn would have to adjust to a new coaching staff while trying to preserve its recruiting prowess in the competitive SEC landscape.
A year-and-a-half later, after a dramatic turnaround that finished with an SEC championship and a spot in the final BCS title game, Malzahn's initial challenge has been accepted and conquered.
Now, the second-year head coach has to deal with a new set of tests.
Malzahn's Tigers will open the 2014 slate with great expectations, as they return a majority of their starters from last year's storybook season. But there are still holes to fill in the depth chart, tough matchups on the schedule and a shift from underdog to trendy preseason favorite.
Here is a look at six challenges standing in the way of Auburn's ultimate destination for 2014: a trip back to the college football's biggest stage to grab what it narrowly missed in 2013.