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Don't Sleep On La Tech: Auburn Football Season Opener

Robert BrooksCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2009

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback Chris Todd #12 of the Auburn Tigers rolls out to pass against the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Auburn, Alabama. LSU defeated Auburn 26-21.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

We all know what the opening weekend in college football usually brings. Excitement and hype for every team across the country that embodies fans and players alike.

Lately, that first weekend has brought something else to fans who least expected it: Upsets. Appalachian State over Michigan? C'mon, who saw that coming. Alabama over Clemson by such a significant margin last season? A little more plausible, but still unexpected.

Auburn Football has been on both sides of the upset spectrum the last few seasons, beating teams that they weren't expected to beat, but dropping some games that cost the Tigers chances at bigger and better things.

The non-conference schedule the Tigers are accustomed to playing has a little different feel this season. It's not uncommon for the Tigers to play one, maybe two higher-profile opponents, and fill the rest with bottom of the barrel programs.

As UT-Martin tried to show the Tigers last year, those bottom of the barrel teams can give you quite the scare. Ask Nick Saban and Alabama about Louisiana-Monroe.

Not many know what to expect from the 2009 Auburn Tigers, and while the schedule may not be daunting, don't expect the Tigers to walk all over anyone.

Louisiana Tech, a team that Auburn has trounced as of late, will roll onto the Plains for the September 5th opener. Not only will this be Gene Chizik's first game as new head coach, but it has the opportunity to the set the tone for the new era of Auburn Football.

This season though, La Tech will be no pushover. Lets not forget that they also have some recent experience in opening up with a win over an SEC team. They did this to Mississippi State in 2008.

Coming off an 8-5 season where the Bulldogs won the Independence Bowl, the expectations are unusually high for Coach Derek Dooley's squad.

If you think back a little bit, Dooley's name was thrown around for the Auburn job early in the coaching search.

His team can play a little football. They return sixteen starters, including WR/KR specialist Philip Livas. Livas is an explosive player who was named an SI.com Honorable Mention All-American last season.

He could create some havoc and uncertainty with an Auburn team that hasn't been tested and may have some new faces on special teams due to the lack of depth the Tigers have dealt with.

Bulldog tailback Daniel Porter is on pace to become the top rusher in Louisiana Tech history after having rushed for more than 1000 yards in each of the last two seasons.

Where it may get dicey for La Tech is on the defensive side of the ball. They allowed 273 yards a game through the air, and just over 100 on the ground. Not shabby numbers considering the WAC is known as an offensive conference, but this is the SEC, and the players are a lot more talented.

With the new offense being implemented, Auburn should have the tools to run and throw right past the Bulldogs in the season opener.

All in all, the Tigers are a better team. They're better than the MSU team from last season, and they're better than Louisiana Tech this season.

If you know anything about Gene Chizik at all, he preaches preparation, and having his team lose out of the gate to a capable yet lesser opponent isn't likely. The Tigers are too determined to allow something like that to happen.

A close game is a definite possibility, but look for the Tigers to put this one in the win column.

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