As I did with my previous two articles with LSU and Alabama, we are going to take a dive into the 2008-2009 Auburn Tigers football team.
As of now, I have Alabama at 9-3 (6-2 SEC), and LSU 9-3 (5-3 SEC) respectively. Before we jump into Auburn's season lets review what happened last year. The Tigers finished with a 9-4 record after a pretty bad start to the season. Their best win of the season came in week 5 when they handed the Florida Gators their first loss. They also lost a classic battle to the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge on a last second touchdown pass.
Exiting last year's team was quarterback Brandon Cox, safety Eric Brock, and linebacker Quentin Groves. There was also a few losses at the DB and O-line positions. Overall they return a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball that performed very well last year, giving up only 17 point per game. However, their offense is the biggest question, last year when facing those tough SEC defenses Auburn only managed 19.5 points per game, while against everyone else they averaged 32 point per game.
The big question for Auburn this year is on offense. They have a nice pair of running backs, but how is Kodi Burns going to do? He's a good scrambler but he's going to have to make some throws if Auburn is to win the West.
Group 1: Louisiana Monroe, Southern Mississippi, @ Mississippi State. This stretch should end 3-0 but Miss. St. did go into Auburn's house and beat them last year. However, Auburn returns the favor this year. The other two should be easy victories. Update: after three games 3-0 (1-0 SEC).
Group 2: LSU, Tennessee, @ Vanderbilt.This stretch should end either 3-0 or 2-1. LSU or Tennessee could be the loss here. In my other articles I picked Auburn to beat LSU so I'm sticking with that one. Tennessee isn't being talked about a lot and most people don't know what to expect from them. I know Auburn fans will scream if I give them a loss at home so lets go with the Tigers here. Playing on the road in the SEC is always tough but the Tigers should take care of Vandy. Update: after six games 6-0 (4-0 SEC)
Group 3: Arkansas, @ West Virgina, Ole Miss.This stretch will end 2-1. The only loss will be to WVU. Heisman candidate Pat White is looking for another chance at a National Championship with his running mate Noel Devine.This could be a match-up of undefeated teams if Auburn makes it past LSU and Tennessee. This will be the Tigers second loss in two year to a Big East opponent. Arkansas at home should be a victory because Casey Dick could be their best offensive weapon, now that's scary to think about. Ole Miss will be a victory as well. Update: after nine games 8-1 (6-0 SEC).
Group 4: Tennessee Martin, Georgia, @ Alabama.This stretch will end either 2-1 or 1-2. The Tigers' season will on the line in the last two weeks. A powerful Georgia team will come to town on November 15th looking for a big victory over another good team to boost their hopes for a National Championships. The Bulldogs have a better quarterback, running back, wide receiver core, and just as good of a defense as Auburn. It might be a close one but Georgia takes it. Possibly the biggest game of the year for both Alabama and Auburn. I predicted that Bama will come into this game with a 5-2 SEC record and if you're paying attention you know that Auburn has a 6-1 SEC record. That being said, this game is for the West (only because LSU has lost to Auburn, UGA and UF already, 5-3). Will Nick Saban deliver in Tuscaloosa against the hated Auburn Tigers? This game could really go either way in my honest opinion. I wouldn't be surprised either way. However, with an experienced quarterback and his legacy at Alabama on the line I have to say that John Parker Wilson comes through with a big win. I promise you Auburn fans, I'm trying to be objective here, if Auburn was clearly better than Alabama I would've given the victory to you guys, but I just don't see Auburn being heads and shoulders better than Bama. Well find out though.
That being said both Bama and Auburn end the season 9-3 (6-2 SEC) but off course since Bama won the tie breaker they win the West.
Now as I've said there is flexibility with my predictions. I really believe that either LSU, Alabama, or Auburn could come out of the West. Neither of the three would surprise me. It's all going to come down to the little things like it did last year. Will there be a last second touchdown to pull out a victory, or an upset loss to Mississippi St, Arkansas, or Ole Miss?
The big key is how will LSU, Bama, and Auburn play against each other. In my predictions I have them all going 1-1 against each other. If somehow one of these teams can come out 2-0 in those games they'll be the clear cut winner of the West. Last year LSU went 2-0, Auburn, 1-1 and Bama 0-2.
I promise you one thing though, it will be a three team race in the West. Like I've stated in my previous two articles, whoever comes out of the West will lose to either Georgia or Florida in the SEC Championship game.