Auburn Tigers Football: Can the Tigers Actually Run the Table in the SEC?

Nathan DealCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2010

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Michael Dyer #5 of the Auburn Tigers against the Clemson Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It isn't a crazy thought.

The thought being that Auburn can go 12-0 on the season. Really, it isn't crazy.

Right now, Auburn sits at No. 10 in the polls after a big win over South Carolina. They have overcome a tough Starkville crowd, a 17-0 deficit to Clemson, and a 20-7 deficit against the USC Gamecocks to enter October an impressive 4-0.

The defense has been its best when it's most needed. The offense, simply, is soaring with Cameron Newton at QB. Newton gives them a chance in every single game they play. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, however. Still, ranked in the top ten entering October is a good sign. This team has the tools to do it for the first time since 2004.

Here are some things Auburn must do (Besides when every single game, that's too obvious) to go a stunning 12-0 in the regular season:

Win the Iron Bowl: Bet you didn't see that one coming! On the road, in Tuscaloosa, it's tough. But then again, Auburn does have a winning record there, even though that has nothing to do with the current season. To go 12-0, simply put, Auburn must beat Alabama on the road, because all of the other big SEC West games are at home. Also, Auburn has already beaten one of the best teams on the schedule in South Carolina, so the Tigers have shown they can win big games.


Don't make Cam run too much: Even though Cam hasn't come close to showing signs of pain or fatigue, it's important he doesn't run 25 times a game. While it is true he dishes out more punishment that he takes, any given play can change the season with an injury. Ask the University of Oklahoma or the New England Patriots. If Cam stays healthy, this team could be better than you average Auburn.

Improve the secondary: You can't deny the secondary has struggled this year. Demond Washington's interception against South Carolina was the first interception by the secondary this season. Against USC, the Gamecocks took advantage of busted coverage in the third quarter right after Auburn had taken a 21-20 lead. The two QBs combined to throw for 305 yards, the second opponent to throw for over 300 yards this season. The secondary needs to work on some things so this can be a great defense. The defensive line is one of the best in college football, and the linebackers are pretty good too. AU needs help from the secondary.

Don't get big heads: This is a very unlikely problem when somebody like Gene Chizik is the head coach. Still, you don't want to beat Arkansas and LSU in two straight weeks and then lose to an Ole Miss team that's been abysmal to this point. I doubt this will be a problem.

Whatever the defense is doing in the fourth quarter... KEEP DOING IT: This season, Auburn has given up 10 points combined in the fourth quarter. Clemson was the first team to convert a third down in the fourth quarter. Last year, this was the worst quarter for the defense, as many leads were lost in this final 15 minutes, including losses to Georgia, Alabama, and Kentucky, and allowing offensive outbursts in wins over Tennessee and Northwestern. This year, that is not the case. While they must improve in the first half of games, they've shown their ability now to not be worn out by the final quarter thanks to depth. Whatever it is Ted Roof is telling these guys after the third quarter is working.


Remain as physical as you were against South Carolina: After three weeks of being soft, Chizik finally threw down the gauntlet in practice on the offensive line. They had their "feelings hurt a little bit," Ryan Pugh said, but the result was great: 29 first downs, 334 rushing yards, and over 31 minutes of possession. If they can keep that up physically, Auburn might be able to run effectively on every opponent they face.

Fan support: Auburn has Arkansas, LSU, and Georgia still coming to the Plains in big games. The more fans there, a tougher environment it is. Jordan-Hare Stadium is one of the loudest stadiums in the country. If the fans sell out the remaining home games (Auburn-USC wasn't a sellout, mind you), Auburn will be even tougher to beat at home.

Just to be funny, I can go ahead and also say that the team wants to live up to its intro music. The name of the song that Auburn enters to? "All I Do Is Win".