As a member of the SEC West, Auburn frequently has one of the toughest schedules in the country. They are in the same division as Alabama and LSU, and their rivalry with Georgia assures they will play the Bulldogs every year in a crossover game.
ESPN’s Chris Low took a deep dive into 2019 college football schedules and released his findings today. He thinks Auburn has the “toughest overall Power 5 schedule.”
That’s not exactly great news for a head coach on the hot set like Gus Malzahn.
The Tigers face six of the top 12 teams in ESPN’s latest Way-Too-Early preseason rankings, and four of those games are away from home. The Aug. 31 opener is against No. 10 Oregon in Arlington, Texas, followed by true road games against No. 12 Texas A&M on Sept. 21, No. 8 Florida on Oct. 5 and No. 9 LSU on Oct. 26. Of course, the “good news” is that Auburn returns home for its November grind … against No. 3 Georgia on Nov. 16 and No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 30.
In our annual preseason Top 25, released yesterday, we ranked the Tigers 14th. However, we also cautioned that their schedule, particularly early on, will be rugged and revealing.
By the end of September, we’ll be able to tell if Auburn is going to improve on last year’s 7-5 regular season mark or is headed for more of the same.
We should know right away if his team is up to the task, as Auburn plays Oregon, Texas A&M and Mississippi State in the season’s first five weeks.
Whether or not the Tigers can remain a factor in the SEC West will likely rest on the performance of their first-time starting quarterback, whether it is Joey Gatewood or Bo Nix.
The potential is there on the roster for nine or 10 wins, but that requires a 3-3 or 4-2 record in that gauntlet of games described above.