Auburn Football: Schedule Still Challenging After Brutal October Slate

Matthew BrennanCorrespondent IIOctober 23, 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 22:  Michael Dyer #5 of the Auburn Tigers is brought down by Jalen Collins #32 and Craig Loston #6 of the LSU Tigers during the game at Tiger Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Heading into October, the Auburn Tigers’ schedule for the month looked absolutely daunting. When they took the field against South Carolina on October 1, Auburn’s next four opponents were all ranked in the AP Top 25.

After Saturday’s 45-10 loss to No. 1 LSU, the Tigers exit that stretch with a 2-2 record. Auburn upset South Carolina and handled Florida at home, but showed they are not in the same class as two top teams in Arkansas and LSU.

Now, Auburn (5-3, 3-2 SEC) will get ready for the final stretch of their schedule that consists of four remaining games. Earlier in the season, this looked like a bit of a respite after the tough October stretch, but recent developments show that this may not be the case.

First up is a home game against Ole Miss, who nearly upset Arkansas on Saturday; leading by as many as 17 points early in their game. The Rebels’ overall body of work suggests that Auburn should be able to handle them on Saturday, but that’s why they play the games.

Their showing against Arkansas demonstrates that any SEC team has the capability of beating a conference foe, and there’s no doubt that the Auburn coaching staff will not be taking the Rebels lightly.

The next week sees Auburn travel to Georgia, who looks a lot tougher than the program that was supposedly in disarray after a 0-2 start. The Bulldogs have ripped off five straight wins and are still in contention to reach the SEC Championship Game.

After a game with FCS Samford, Auburn closes out the regular season with a visit from Alabama. The Crimson Tide look to be on LSU’s level as one of the nation’s top teams, but you can throw all of the rankings and stats out the window when it comes to the Iron Bowl.

Despite the disappointment of lopsided losses to LSU and Ole Miss, going 2-2 over the last month has to be considered a positive, as some expected that Auburn could possibly lose all four. The remaining schedule still has potential pitfalls, but the Tigers should enter the home stretch with more confidence than expected after some flat efforts in September.