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AUBURN FOOTBALL PREVIEW: How Close Is The Return To Prominence?

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PST Contributor: Des Boodram

August 4th, 2016

Like many SEC teams Auburn has a few glaring question marks that they will need to sort out if they are going to be competitive in what still may be the toughest division in college football.  Getting the QB position hashed out will be at the top of the checklist, but as a whole this Tigers team should be more efficient offensively than they have the past two seasons. To put it into perspective the Tigers had the 94th ranked offense in D1 football last season, and that’s nothing to brag about.  In fact considering this team was ranked in the top 5 in the country in almost every major offensive category in 2013 this is quite a steep fall off.

Even though this team doesn’t play their first road game until October and only travels twice through October 29th, their schedule is brutal from start to finish as they play National Runner-up Clemson to open and National Champion Alabama to close.  Like most of the SEC though, it’s still going to come down to player and coaching personnel over schedule so check out what the Tigers are looking at this fall.

In Gus we Trust?

Not even Gus Malzahn knows what Gus Malzahn is going to do at the QB position this season, but all signs point to three decent options.  The sooner the decision is made the better for all, including Auburn, because who wants to answer questions from dopey beat writers in Auburn, Alabama about who the starting QB will be versus Clemson.  Aside from QB play, the running game is a bit of a concern.  Until someone else emerges Jovon Robinson is the guy in the backfield.  Help should arrive, but losing guys to the draft or via transfer may catch up to the Tigers in the backfield.

The O-line is packed full of Seniors and Juniors, and will need to start performing in week 1.  Star Guard Alex Kozan will be the center-piece of the O-line that must stay committed to dominating the trenches against a continuous onslaught of above average D-lines on their schedule.  If The Tigers can get solid production from the O-line all other pieces will fall into place.

Yet another SEC team that is loaded on defense and that will have to carry an offense that has some developing to do.  DC Kevin Steele already looks like a genius, and should have an even better unit in place this season.  Carl Lawson will make a triumphant return to the D-line and bolster a unit that is already one of the top 3-4 in the SEC.  The linebacker position thinned out last season but there is a heap of athleticism there that should figure out how to contribute right away.  Auburn’s ability to stop the run and pressure the QB will determine how far this defense will go.

How Many Wins this Season?

Auburn is not going to win the West especially with Georgia on the schedule.  They may lose games to teams that aren’t as good as they are, but they are good enough to beat teams that are better than them.  8-4 would be a great season, and they should be better than last year’s 6-6 season.  7-5 is realistic, and 9 wins means they have to win all three of their “toss-up” games AND upset either LSU, Alabama, Clemson, or Georgia and right now that’s not happening.

Still dangerous, but still just a 7 win team.

The Auburn Tigers are a +7.5 home underdog in week 1 vs. Clemson, get all of your college football odds in our daily lines section.