Years ago, back when college football schedules were born, nothing was known about the teams Auburn would face in 2011, nor the order of the schedule that would create such a gauntlet for the Tigers in October.
Schedules are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.
But, the month of October, 2011, from day one, literally, is a rough road for the Auburn Tigers and a true test for the young team.
The season-opener against Utah State, made fans speculative about the future of this season for the Tigers. The defense lacked the aggressiveness from last year, but somehow, the team pulled it out with inspired offense, special teams play and a brilliant on-side kick; all in the final two minutes.
This Auburn team is inexperienced for the most part, and there are many rotations early on at almost every position, as even head coach Gene Chizik has admitted.
He’s filled his depth chart with 26 freshmen, loads of talent, but little experience. But somehow, the Tigers have been able to pull it out in the final minutes with Utah State, and a bizarre game against Mississippi State that went right down to the final ten seconds. Yet, they were still able to win, early on.
Then came the Clemson Tigers.
Historically tied, as in the foundation of the Clemson program, these two teams have always had a rivalry that could rarely be explained, but yet, here we are, the Tigers from Clemson beating the Tigers of Auburn 34-20, ending their national winning streak and also ending the winning streak against Clemson. There is something to be learned from this defeat.
But the real test, and potentially the tale of the way the season will end for the Tigers, begins Oct. 1 and continues like an out-of-control freight train for five weeks.
All October opponents are very tough SEC conference games; three of the five are away games, four of the five are nationally-ranked teams at this point and there is no bye week until after the Tigers get through this scrub board.