Monday, August 11, 2008

Previewing Auburn's 2008 Season (The Schedule)

this is part 3 in my ongoing saga of a realistic preview at the upcoming 2008 Auburn Football season.

The Tigers are coming off a year where they went 9-4 and won the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. they are replacing their offensive and defensive coordinators, their starting QB of the past 3 seasons, and are going from a classic power running team to a new Spread offense. expectations, as always, are high among the fans and Auburn sees itself as the favorite to win the SEC West and hopefully get into a BCS game.

here's a look at the Tigers 2008 Schedule and my predictions for each game.

game 1. Aug 30th vs Louisiana Monroe.

UL-Monroe is the school that upset Alabama last year. they've got zero NFL prospects on their roster that i am aware of and were a fairly mediocre Sun-Belt team. i fully expect the Tigers to come out guns blazing in week 1 and try and beat them by at least 30, if only to make Bama's loss last year seem all the more humiliating. this is a great first game of the year for the Tigers because it'll basically act as a pre-season game to get both quarterbacks some real game day experience and to tune up the new spread offense. this should be at least a 3 touchdown victory with lots of reserves seeing some action and a lot of padding the stats for the QBs and runningbacks. count this one as a win and move forward.

game 2. Sept 6th vs Southern Mississippi.

The Golden Eagles have knocked off Auburn in the past, so Auburn fans shouldn't just assume this one will be a cake walk. Southern Miss has an excellent running back in Damion Fletcher, so the Auburn D-Line will be asked to stop him and put the pressure on the QB. i expect a closer game than the experts will predict. Southern Miss will hang around and score a few but the Tigers depth and speed will help them pull away by the 4th quarter. i predict a 13 point victory.

game 3. Sept 13th @ Mississippi State.

Auburn's most embarrassing loss of the season came last year against Mississippi State. turnovers cost the Tigers that game so i look for Auburn to try and control the ball and i expect a lot of running, as they were able to move the ball pretty well on the ground last year against the Bulldogs. again this game is probably closer than it should be, especially since it's in Starkganistan...but Auburn's defense and running game should help them put this one away late. i predict a 10 point victory.

game 4. Sept 20th vs LSU.

forget UGA and Bama, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE SEASON. the winner of this game is likely to end up winning the West. for the past eight seasons victory has gone to the home team....that means it's Auburn's turn (hopefully). both LSU and Auburn have similar situations. really talented defenses, strong running games, good offensive lines, and in experienced QBs. LSU however may be starting a transfer from Harvard. I'll take Chris Todd or Kodi Burns over the Ivy League any day. this game should be close as hell with some insane play that makes me wanna shoot myself in the head. Auburn squeaks past LSU with a 3 point win and controls their destiny in the West.

game 5. Sept 27th vs Tennessee.

Auburn hasn't played the Vols since 2004, aka last time Auburn won the SEC title. that season Auburn beat them twice. this year the Tigers are likely to be ranked in the top 10 and favored to beat the Vols...unfortunately this is the week after the LSU game, and that always seems to result in some bizarre shit happening. Tennessee has a great running game and a solid defense and a QB (Jonathan Crompton) who could blossom into a star. i look for Tennessee to take advantage of a tired and possibly hurt Auburn team and hand Auburn their first loss of the season in a heartbreaker 24-20.

game 6. Oct 4th @ Vanderbilt.

following a loss at home to the Vols i fully expect an angry Auburn team to take it out on the poor Commodores. this one is gonna be ugly, like scoring 50 points and Auburn knocking one of Vandy's QBs out of the game ugly.

game 7. Oct 11th vs. Arkansas.

i'm usually scared of the Hawgs because no matter how much better a team the Tigers have, Arkansas almost always manages to play them close and pull off the occassional upset or two. this year i don't really see that happening. the Razorbacks have no big time playmakers with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones gone and their defense isn't really anything to speak of either. this game could be as ugly as the Vandy one...especially with the history between Bobby Petrino and Coach Tuberville. Tommy isn't really known for running up the score, but if the Tigers are able to jump out to a big lead against the Hawgs then i don't expect CTT to call off the dogs at all. this one should be a 20 point win at the very least.

game 8. October 23rd @ West Virginia.

Thursday Night. ESPN. Big East vs. SEC. likely a matchup between two teams in the top 10. possibly this game could have national title implications...especially for West Fucking Virginia who needs a win against a marquee team to legitimize their BCS title chances in case they find themselves in a log jam at the top of the BCS rankings at season's end. West Virginia has everything to lose in this game. Auburn however is going to be more concerned with SEC teams. a loss to West Virginia would likely knock Auburn out of the national title picture, but will have no effect on their quest for an SEC crown. this is gonna be a cold night game in the mountains. the perfect scenario for WV to knock off Auburn. but don't believe the hype. Auburn has had success against teams that run the spread...granted Pat White is a lot more fleet of foot than Tim Tebow but i still look for the Tigers to keep him in check. Auburn's defensive coordinator, Paul Rhodes came to Auburn from Pitt where he was able to stop the high powered West Virginia offense last year with a lot less talent than he'll have at his disposal this year. i look for Auburn to pull out a close, low scoring win in the cold mountain night. something of the 20-14 variety. West Virginia will be out of the national title picture and Auburn will jump up to possibly a top 5 ranking. but at the same time i could easily see West Virginia pulling off the win. this is the biggest question mark of the year for me.

game 9. Nov. 1st @ Ole' Miss.

this is by far the biggest trap game on the schedule for Auburn. i fully expect Ole' Miss to be the most improved team in the SEC under new head coach Houston Nutt. the Rebels will be hungry for a major upset and don't be surprised if they give Auburn everything they can handle. my gut tells me this one is gonna go down to the wire with Auburn possibly having to win it in overtime or maybe kick a late field goal in the 4th quarter to put Ole' Miss away.

game 10. Nov 8th vs Tennesse Martin.

it's homecoming for Auburn after a series of tough road games. everyone loves cupcakes. especially the Division IAA variety who've only had 3 winning seasons in the last 20 years. this one is gonna be over quick. expect something in the realm of of 67-3 with every one on the team getting the chance to play.

game 11. Nov 15th vs. Georgia.

right behind LSU, this is the most important game of the year for a variety of reasons. first of all Auburn is riding a two game losing streak against the Dawgs and they were the soul crushing blow out type of losses that deflate your season and leave you crying yourself to sleep at night into your pillow. after last year's Black Out debacle the Tigers will be looking to get some revenge. UGA will be favored in this one...and that might be a good thing as Auburn was favored in the last 2 matchups and only managed to get their asses handed to them. hopefully with interception machine Brandon Cox being gone the Tigers will finally have a chance. look for the Tigers to try and shut down Knowshon Moreno and make Matt Stafford beat them with his arm. this game should be a war. both teams could be in the top 5 and the winner of this game will probably be on it's way to the SEC title game and a BCS birth, the loser might end up in the Capital One bowl. i can't in my heart believe Auburn will lose 3 years in a row to the fucking Bulldogs, but Georgia is fucking loaded. i can't predict this game. too much is still a mystery. if you forced me to pick right now i'd probably go with the Dogs. just because i see 2 losses this season for my Tigers. Auburn is either losing this game or they are losing to West Virginia, but i wouldn't pick them to lose both.

game 12. Nov 29th @ Alabama.

lucky number 7. Auburn will be looking to tie up the SEC West by knocking off the Tide for a 7th year in a row. The Tide will be looking to end the blood letting and also looking to move into a better bowl position after an up and down year. as always rankings and records mean nothing in a rivalry game, Auburn still has enough of a talent advantage over Bama to keep the win streak alive, but i won't be shocked if the Tide finally ends the bleeding this season...especially if it would result in Auburn being knocked out of the SEC title game and the national championship picture. i predict a 24-14 win for Auburn over an Alabama team who will have a very young and not very deep defense this fall. i believe Bama is still a year away from being a serious contender in the West.

so is summation i think the Tigers are at the very very best 11-1 at the end of the regular season and will be facing Florida in the SEC title game. more realistically i'm thinking they'll be 10-2 but still SEC West champs and will face either Florida or Georgia in Atlanta. the worst case scenario for me would be 8-4 with losses to LSU, UGA, Tennessee, and West Virginia...but given Auburn's success against top 10 teams i just don't believe that will happen. this is Auburn's best chance to win an SEC title in the last few years. the schedule is tough, but most of the biggest games are at home. even if everything goes according to plan and the Tigers are 11-1 or 10-2, they'll still more than likely have to face Georgia again or Florida. if they are up against the Gators i don't know if i see Auburn beating Florida three years in a row. likely they'd lose a close SEC title game and end up in the Sugar Bowl while Florida went on to face either USC or Ohio State for the national title. i'd still consider that a successful season, especially given the amount of change that the team will have gone through in the off season. anyway i'm tired of predictions and speculation. August 30th can't get here soon enough. War Eagle!

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