Starting a season with the number four recruiting class, Auburn is in the excavation phase of building a foundation which will solidify them for future SEC title runs. Last year I predicted a paltry 5-7 season. They reversed my numbers and pulled out a 7-5 season. Let us see what I think the Tigers can do this year.
September 4th, Arkansas State: A good game to get starting quarterback Cameron Newton familiar with his receivers. The defense comes out swinging and makes a statement. It is Arkansas State. -W-
September 11th, at Mississippi State: The Bulldogs usually need two solid conference games under their belt in order to get the season going. This season is no exception and Auburn is the wrong team to start with. Without Anthony Dixon and starting a new quarterback, State will have to add more cowbells if they want to win this game. -W-
September 18th, Clemson: The "Fighting Dabos" come to Jordan Hare and they bring with them....nothing. When you don't have lightning or thunder, hell I don't know which one left after '08 or which one is which, then you don't have anything. Second year quarterback, Kyle Parker, will give them a run for their money, but too many errant passes will mean the money is running the other way. -W-
September 25th, South Carolina: Spurrier brings the Gamecocks to the plains. With returning starting quarterback Stephen Garcia looking to have a break out year this game just might surprise you. Marcus Lattimore chose USC over Auburn so he is going to try and prove something. However, it will be up to the Tiger defense to hold this team to it's growing reputation of not being able to win on the road. -W-
October 2nd, Louisiana Monroe: For a much needed break after a few competitive games you would think Auburn would look to pull their starting quarterback early. No can do, look for astronomical offensive numbers. Chizik is looking to prep his quarterback for late season play. Not a bad idea. -W-
October 9th, at Kentucky: After losing to UK at home the Tigers know they gave up a storied record. The Wildcats will have some comeback confidence left over from last season. But, that is about all they will have. Losing some crucial defensive players and transitioning head coaches the Tigers will have every opportunity to pummel the Wildcats. -W-
October 16th, Arkansas: Auburn's first early morning game of 2009 was not a pretty one. The Hogs showed the Tigers what can happen when you get a big head and wake up with a hang over. Once again the Tigers will have a big head and Ryan will use his Mallet and exploit Auburn's secondary. The pass opens up the run, even when Michael Smith isn't running. This time it is Broderick Green. -L-
October 23rd, Louisiana State: Auburn was told they were going to lose this game last year and some how they believed it. It is a different story this year. Auburn will be told they are going to win it and they will. Chavis is working hard on the LSU defense but having six new starters doesn't help. This want be easy because LSU still recruits talent. -W-
October 30th, at Mississippi: Nutt ain't got nuttin' for 'em! After playing Bama and then Arkansas prior to the Tigers the Rebels will be flat worn out. Replacing all purpose back, Dexter McCluster and wide receiver Shay Hodge is not a good thing. However, replacing head case Jevan Snead is a good thing. But not good enough to beat the Tigers -W-
November 6th, UT Chattanooga: Time to beat another Tennessee team. UGA is just around the corner and the Tigers are using this game as practice. -W-
November 13th, Georgia: When was the last time Auburn beat UGA? 2005. It has been four years and it is not to say that the Tigers haven't had the opportunities. This year they will have every opportunity in the books. Unless Logan Grey comes out of the gates hitting on all cylinders UGA looks to have an uninspiring season. Defensively the Dawgs will be porous so there is the potential for a shoot out. At home I give it to the Tigers -W-
November 26th, at Alabama: The Tigers came close last year. This game could be for the right to go to Atlanta. However, as one Auburn poster put it, "Auburn will have a better team than last year, while Bama's stays the same". When you return a Heisman trophy winner, the MVP from the SECCG, and the offense from the 2009 BCS National Championship team I would say staying the same isn't that bad. Alabama loses key defensive players but fills the gap with some proven talent. Bryant-Tubberville Denny Stadium West is becoming just Bryant Denny Stadium for the Tigers. -L-
End Notes: As we all know key positions at quarterback and tail back must be met. Leadership needs to be installed and some depth issues overcome.
To jump out to a 10-2 season in Chizik's second year is nothing short of great.
However, if Camron Newton is unable to grasp the Malzahn offense it could become very vanilla for the Tigers and a roller coaster season. Which, is what you saw this past year. There was always the question of how much of the playbook they could use.
The one team to watch out for is South Carolina. And, the Arkansas game could be a swing game if someone steps up past the level of Walter McFadden. He had interceptions in four games this past season. In all but one of those games his interceptions helped change the momentum or was a direct factor in the Tigers winning the game.
Wow, if this happens that would mean Auburn is looking at major title hopes.
I just believe that with the level of some coaching in the SEC coupled with the lack of returning starters for some opponents gives Auburn a chance to have an excellent year.
I could be wrong, but I guess I have more faith in the Tigers than most of my fellow Bama fans.