SEC West Game of The Week: Auburn Tigers vs. Miss. State Bulldogs

Jay HolgateContributor IIISeptember 11, 2009

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Offensive lineman Ryan Pugh #50, Tyronne Green #71, Lee Ziemba #73 and tight end Tommy Trott #5 of the Auburn Tigers prepare for a play while taking on the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Auburn, Alabama. LSU defeated Auburn 26-21.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Original Article Posted on SEC Sports Report

SEC West Game of the Week: Miss. State vs Auburn at Jordan Hare Stadium. Two new coaches, Auburn Coach Gene Chizik and at Miss State, Dan Mullen. High expectations for both programs.

Last year, this game was a 3-2 Auburn win. Nobody was happy. Last week, both teams got to evaluate their programs against lesser opponents. Easy games can build false confidence, so don’t put too much stock in the scores.

This week is for real. Everybody knows the winner moves up; the loser moves down. Auburn Coach Gene Chizik needs the win more than Miss State Coach Mullen.  Chizik is defending his home field.  Chizik is expected to win. 

This is a game Auburn cannot lose.  Early losses are very costly for new coaches.  They have a way of taking the wind out of the program.  Then trust has to be re-gained.  It's easier to fight like crazy to win the game.

The odds makers have Auburn a two touchdown favorite. I don’t see it. They must have some kind of inside scoop because that is a lot of points.  I see a hard hitting game with a bunch of touchdowns being scored.

The big question is will Auburn’s Gus Malzahn's offensive schemes work in the SEC?  I want to see if Auburn can move the ball in the air.  I know Auburn can move the ball on the ground, but that will shut down if there is not a passing threat.

Miss State will play better than last week and should be a good fight.  Mullen's spread offense gives a lot of options which will be a good test for the Auburn defense.  State will score some points.

I’ll take Auburn in a close one, 31-28.

Jay Holgate is a SEC sports analyst, freelance writer and editor of SEC Sports Report.  He can be heard around the South on sports radio.

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