In case you missed it the Auburn Tigers dropped their second consecutive game this weekend in a 28-10 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. This has the Auburn Family in flames as the ‘Keep Calm and War Eagle’ crowd clashes with the ‘What an embarrassing disaster’ contingent. Given the disappointing results that we’ve seen on the field I felt it was time to take another look at Auburn’s remaining schedule and consider what our record may be.
Full Disclosure: I had us with 5 games on the Schedule (UA, LSU, UGA, Ark, Clemson) that we wouldn’t likely be favored in pre-season, and I had us winning 1-2 of those giving us an 8-4, 9-3 record. I had us winning both of our first two games though and likely stealing the game against Arkansas as I felt that was the most likely team for us to beat since they were all offense and no defense.
Auburn’s Remaining Schedule:
|9/1||Vs. 14 Clemson||L 19-26|
|9/8||@ Miss. State||L 10-28|
|9/15||Vs. Louisiana-Monroe||1-0 Beat Arkansas 34-31 in OT.|
|9/22||Vs. 3 LSU||2-0 Beat North Texas 41-14. Beat Washington 41-3.|
|10/6||Vs. Arkansas||1-1 Beat Jacksonville State 49-24. Lost to La-Mo.|
|10/13||@ Ole Miss||2-0 Beat Central Arkansas 29-27. Beat UTEP 28-10.|
|10/20||@Vanderbilt||0-2 Lost to South Carolina 17-13. Lost to Northwestern 23-13.|
|10/27||Vs. Texas A&M||0-1. Lost to Florida 20-17.|
|11/3||Vs. New Mexico State||1-1. Beat Sacramento State 49-19. Lost to Ohio 51-24.|
|11/10||Vs. 7 Georgia||2-0. Beat Buffalo 45-23. Beat Missouri 41-20.|
|11/17||Vs. Alabama A&M||2-0. Beat Tuskeegee 7-6. Beat Arkansas Pine Bluff 14-10|
|11/24||@ 1 Alabama||2-0. Beat Michigan 41-14. Beat WKU 35-0.|
Games that Auburn will win without question (2)
New Mexico State, Alabama A&M
I don’t believe either of these need much explanation, they should be paycheck games for these schools and we should win decisively. If we don’t I can’t imagine the fallout.
Games that Auburn should win but are now questionable (3)
Louisiana-Monroe, @Ole Miss, @Vanderbilt
Before kickoff of the La-Mo/Arkansas game I would have put La-Mo in a different category. Of course by that same token before the Miss State kickoff I wouldn’t have seen myself writing this article either. La-Mo was able to get pressure on the QB often in that game and they went 42/67 for 412 yards passing. Those two stats alone show that they have the ability to win next week’s game based on matching up with Auburn’s soft secondary and questionable QB play.
Ole Miss and Vanderbilt fall into the same category. Both games are on the road against teams that should be better than last year. Based on the play of our defense we should be competitive, but unless our offense get’s better all bets are off.
Games that Auburn could win (2)
Arkansas, Texas A&M
I almost put A&M into the previous category but they played Florida pretty close despite coming up short. A&M has a young quarterback but he performed well against his first SEC defense and it’s entirely probably that they will get better as they go. I haven’t seen much of A&M prior to this year so I don’t have much to evaluate them against; it’s possible that they will get better its possible this was the high point. But regardless they probably have enough to give Auburn a run for their money at this point.
Sure Arkansas got beat by La-Mo but prior to Wilson leaving at the half they seemed to be rolling along to a victory. It’s not surprising to me that their defense eventually let up yards and points because their defense hasn’t been a strength of theirs. If Wilson stays in that game I don’t believe La-Mo wins that game, and seeing as he’s not done for the season he could mean nightmares for Auburn.
Games where Auburn winning would be a huge upset (3)
LSU, Georgia, @Alabama
Let’s get the big two out of the way first. LSU and Alabama look as good as they did last year so far. Granted Alabama hasn’t played anyone of any caliber so far, but it’s likely that they’ll hold up when/if they play some decent competition.
Now I’m not entirely sold on Georgia yet, but they should have enough weapons to win the SEC east and by the time they get to us they should have a pretty lofty record and maybe some lofty hopes. If that’ the case I see them playing us a tough as anyone on the schedule.
What does this mean for Auburn in 2012?
If Auburn wins the games the low(er) hanging fruit (New Mexico State, Alabama A&M, Louisiana-Monroe, @Ole Miss, @Vanderbilt) they’ll be 5-2 in those seven games, counting our two so far. That means that Auburn will have to come up with a win somewhere in games with Arkansas, Texas A&M or even harder with LSU, Georgia, @Alabama to salvage a bowl game.
If Louisiana-Monroe comes in full of confidence off Arkansas and ready to prove that wasn’t a fluke win and manages the upset that means we’d have to pull two games out of remaining five, which given a 0-3 start would be feat itself.
I personally feel that Auburn could still end up with 7 wins this season, but it’s not likely. The consistency on offense whether it’s the talent, the play calling, or both/neither is killing this team’s ability to build any momentum. The defense gets the needed 3 and outs when their back is against it but then watches the offense lose ground and give the ball right back. Our Defense has work to do but is able to play well when they are rested and the longer they are on the field the looser they seem to get.
Winning fixes everything they say. If Auburn gets past Louisiana-Monroe like they should and can get some confidence to build on then maybe things turn around. I don’t believe that it’s a lack of talent on the field that is preventing Auburn from winning these games, I’d put the responsibility for this on the coaches. If the players don’t comes to the field ready to play I’m not sure that you can but the blame anywhere else. Sure maybe the players have attitude issues or aren’t taking the coaching to heart, but regardless it’s their job to correct those issues. I’m hopeful they will make those changes, but I know for the money that Auburn has invested in its coaching staff if they can’t make changes on the field, sooner or later changes will be made for them…. or to them.