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 series of battles 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, is a rough road for the Auburn Tigers and a true test for the young team that to date, hasn't shown much against even mediocre opponents.
The season opener against Utah State made fans speculative about the future of this season due to an aggressive-less defense and inconsistent offense. Somehow, the team pulled it out with inspired last-minute offense, special teams play and a brilliant on-side kick, all in the final two minutes.
The depth chart is filled with freshmen with loads of talent, but little experience. The second Tigers' game against Mississippi State went right down to the final 10 seconds. Yet, they were still able to win to go 2-0 and 1-0 in the SEC.
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 38-24, ending their national winning streak and also ending the winning streak against Clemson.
There is something to be learned from this defeat. The loss of both streaks was more devastating than the actual loss was to the AU season record, at least in the press and to the fans.
The next game against Florida Atlantic was nothing more than a workout for adjustments the team had to make on both sides of the ball.
It gave them a chance to work out some of the inexperienced players, rest some starters and get those adjustments down since they'll be necessary to execute better, starting off down the rough road of October.
That's when the test starts, beginning Oct. 1 and continuing like an out-of-control freight train for five weeks.
All October opponents are tough SEC conference games. Three of the five are away games; four of the five are nationally-ranked teams, and the No. 1 team in the county. And, there is no bye week until after the Tigers get through this scrub board.