Auburn Tigers Must Save the Championship Talk for November

Matthew DonaldsonCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2010

Auburn Quarterback Cameron Newton
Auburn Quarterback Cameron NewtonKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Coming off a dominating 52-3 win over Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn jumped up to No. 8 in the latest AP and Coaches' Polls.

More and more of the national media members are buying the hype initiated by Kirk Herbstreit in the preseason.

The bandwagon for Gus Malzahn's offense and his new quarterback Cam Newton is getting mighty full.

Talk has increased about Auburn being the biggest threat to Alabama in the SEC West, while others are already worried about where an undefeated Auburn would stack up in the rankings with Oregon, Ohio State, and others. 

Maybe Auburn is worthy of that kind of discussion and hype. Maybe they're not. But as of now, they are nowhere near being able to talk championships. We'll know a lot more about Auburn (and the rest of the SEC) by the end of October.  

Auburn enters a daunting four-week stretch this Saturday in Lexington. After playing at Kentucky, they return home for games against Arkansas and LSU in Jordan-Hare. Then they travel to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. 

LSU (however lucky it may be) is still undefeated, and Arkansas' only loss was to Alabama late in the fourth quarter. Both will be strong challenges to Auburn.

Road trips in the SEC are never easy, especially going to Lexington. The combination of Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke beat Auburn last year. 

With only a few conference games in the books for each team, much of the 2010 SEC story is still left to be told. Any of the remaining teams on Auburn's schedule can rise up and beat them—with the exception of UT-Chattanooga. 

If you're an Auburn fan, you know how dangerous looking ahead and big expectations early in the season can be. In 2003, some named Auburn the preseason No. 1 team in the country. They lost their first two games and went 8-5.

In 2006, a No. 2 ranking about this time in the season went away due to home losses to underdog Arkansas and Georgia teams. 

In 2008, Auburn cracked the Top 10 early before finishing 5-7.  

Last year, Auburn started 5-0 as well. Despite the lack of a high national ranking, many began to predict big things. They went 3-5 the rest of the way. 

In contrast, the seasons where Auburn was under the radar have generally been their most successful ones—see 1993, 2000, 2004, and 2007. 

So, let's see what happens in the next few weeks. This Auburn team definitely has a lot of potential, loads of talent, and better depth than in the last couple years. But they still must defeat some very worthy opponents. Instead of looking ahead, enjoy the ride that the next few weeks will bring.

This coaching staff hasn't shown how they and their team will handle the national spotlight for many weeks in a row. If Auburn can simply take care of business week by week, they will be right in the middle of the SEC Championship hunt when November comes around. 

But for now, the only place Auburn players, coaches, and fans should be looking is at the three teams coming up on the schedule. After all, each one of them beat Auburn last year.