How Auburn Plays Against LSU Will Determine Season Success

Jon Lunceford@jlunceCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2008

Three games into the season, Auburn is still struggling.  Don't let the 3-0 start fool you: Auburn's amazing new spread offense has yet to produce more than one passing touchdown.  With the quarterback struggles continuing through the fourth week, the future is not looking very bright. 

A state of dismay is just what LSU is looking to take advantage of as they head to Jordan-Hare this weekend.  A loss to LSU could very well disrupt Auburn's season as they will then face Eastern foe Tennessee the very next week.

After the 3-2 victory in Starkville last week, Kodi Burns is beginning to struggle with the lack of playing time. 

"We're going to go in with the idea of obviously Chris being our starter and if Kodi gets in the game, it will be for reasons of gameplan and what they're doing to us on defense," Tuberville told this week. "The one thing about Kodi is he's stayed prepared. He works hard in practice. He's into it. He's into the gameplan.

"We're not going to throw him out there just to throw one or two plays. I want him to be able to throw the ball deep, throw screens, run the ball, run the entire offense."

If Auburn cannot turn their offense on this week, the season could be a long one for Tiger fans.  Brad Lester is out for now after leaving the Miss. St. game in the third quarter last week when he fell awkwardly on his head.  The MRIs were negative, but Lester isn't ready to jump back in 100 percent just yet.

Auburn's defense, however, is the one option they've got left.  Allowing only five points a game and ranked 11th in the nation in yards allowed, Auburn's defense is no laughing matter.

The question is, can they carry their offense to more wins than losses throughout the rest of the year? 

"I'm real proud of the defensive coaches and players...our guys play with a lot of determination," Tuberville said. "We've got some smart guys on defense that understand what this defense is about. Paul Rhoads has done a good job with carrying on the enthusiasm with what we've been doing."

So far, even against the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe, the defense has had to step it up to keep this Auburn team impressive in the top 10.

For the remainder of conference play, Auburn will struggle and have a hard time making it to the SEC Championship if LSU defeats them.  This week is extremely important for figuring out the Tigers' future, and it will finally give us a shot to see this new offense against a top team to see if they can really hang with the other top 10 teams.

Auburn's national outlook is at a standstill right now.  State foe Alabama even jumped them in the polls after that dreadful 3-2 win last weekend.  The LSU game is the first of many difficult SEC teams the Tigers will have to face. However, it will provide the Tigers their first proof that they deserve to be where they are in the polls. 

The interest for the next few weeks will lie with the offense since the defense has shown that they can stop anything so far.  If Kodi Burns can become a solid QB to turn to if Todd goes down, Auburn might could finally turn this offense around to be more than mediocre for the rest of the season.

A nine-win season is still very possible, but many questions will be answered this weekend as they finally play some decent competition.