Auburn Football: The Tigers' Path to Climbing the BCS Rankings

Matthew BrennanCorrespondent IIOctober 10, 2011

Auburn Football: The Tigers' Path to Climbing the BCS Rankings

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    The first BCS rankings of the 2011 season will be released on Sunday, Oct. 16, then weekly through Dec. 4.

    The Auburn Tigers almost certainly need a win over Florida over Saturday to appear in the BCS rankings, which consists of 25 teams.

    The Tigers fell out of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, an important component of the BCS rankings, after losing to Arkansas on Saturday. Auburn also currently has the 26th most points in the Harris Poll, another important factor to the BCS rankings. The other component of the rankings is the computer rankings, a combination of six other college football rankings from various sources.

    Click here for the full explanation of how the BCS rankings are put together.

    In this slideshow, we will take a look at Auburn’s remaining schedule and how each game will affect how they can move up in the BCS Rankings.

Vs. Florida: October 15

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    Auburn will have an outside chance to sneak into the first BCS rankings if they can get past Florida on Saturday.

    The Gators are currently the 25th team in the Harris Poll and the top team in the receiving votes column of the Coaches’ Poll.

    Florida is also coming off a disappointing SEC loss after getting manhandled by LSU on Saturday. This game will be key in determining who can step up as one of the leaders of the second echelon of SEC contenders behind the likes of Alabama and LSU.  The Tigers will return home to Jordan-Hare Stadium, where they’ve won 11 straight games.

    In addition to a win, some losses by other teams in the lower reaches of the Top 25 would help Auburn’s cause. An upset of No. 25 Penn State by Purdue or a loss by No. 21 Texas to Oklahoma State would help the Tigers, provided they beat Florida.

    A loss to the Gators will be Auburn’s third on the year and pretty much eliminate any chance of reaching a BCS game.

At LSU: October 22

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    The Tigers will face their toughest challenge yet when they travel to Baton Rouge to face LSU. The Tigers (of Louisiana) appear to be one of the top teams in the country and legitimate contenders to win the SEC and reach the BCS title game.

    Auburn’s offense will be tested by the rugged LSU defense in a hostile environment. LSU also has plenty of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, which will also test Auburn’s inconsistent defense.

    A win in Death Valley will have a major impact in terms of moving Auburn up the BSC rankings. It will also have a major impact on the rankings as a whole, since LSU should be among the top three teams in the initial rankings if they get past Tennessee this weekend.

Vs. Ole Miss: October 29

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    Winning this game won’t have a major impact on the Tigers’ climb up the BCS rankings, as Ole Miss appears to be one of the weaker teams in the SEC this season. Unless they pull off a major upset over Alabama or Arkansas over the next two weeks, the Rebels should be 2-5 heading into this game.

    Auburn simply can’t loss to Ole Miss at home and have any chance of reaching a BCS game, unless they otherwise run the table. The Rebels were demolished by a Vanderbilt team that has since been outscored 55-3 in their next two games. They also struggled to defeat a Fresno State team that went on to lose 57-7 to Boise State on Friday.

At Georgia: November 12

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    This could be another opportunity to move up the BCS Rankings with a quality SEC road win. The Bulldogs are another team in Auburn’s shoes, hovering on the fringes of the various polls that make up the BCS rankings.

    Georgia has a chance to be 7-2 by the time they face Auburn, with winnable games against Vanderbilt, Florida and New Mexico State on the schedule. The Tigers have lost their last two trips to Athens, but need this one for a chance to move up the BCS Rankings.

Vs. Samford: November 19

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    Beating up on the FBS Bulldogs won’t have much of an effect on Auburn’s place in the polls. The Tigers have never lost to Samford in 26 meetings between the teams.

    Obviously, a loss to Samford would be disastrous, as well as one of the biggest upsets in college football this season.

    Samford is 3-2 so far in 2011 and will be playing their season finale when they travel to Auburn.

Vs. Alabama: November 26

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    Depending on the outcome of the huge Nov. 5 game against LSU and any shocking upset by the other teams on their schedule (Tennessee, Mississippi State, Georgia Southern), the Crimson Tide could be one of the top two teams in the BCS rankings heading into the Iron Bowl.

    Just like the LSU game, a win here for the Tigers will not only vault them up the BCS Rankings, but also cause other teams to move up due to a loss by Alabama.

    The Tigers are winners of three of the last five meetings and get Alabama at home, but a win would be considered an upset. Auburn will be challenged by both a stingy defense filled with NFL prospects and perhaps the best running back in college football, Trent Richardson.