First off, I apologize for the lateness. I normally try to publish each installment of this series on Friday. But better late than never, I guess. Let’s get to the fourth team in our Over or Under series – Auburn (6.5 wins; over -110/under -110).
RANT: Was there a more disappointing player in college football last year than Jeremy Johnson at quarterback? I certainly can’t think of one. I mean, this guy was receiving considerable Heisman hype after one solid half against an Arkansas defense in the 2014 season opener. Before that, he had only thrown for more than 100 yards twice – vs. Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic.
That’s something else I’ve never understood either. National experts or even casual fans have are on the edge of their seats ready to accuse Arkansas of having a great secondary in recent years, but one good half and he’s suddenly a second team All-SEC quarterback the next preseason by the league media and deserving of Heisman talk?
And that 2014 Arkansas defense Johnson torched? The league media voted one Razorback – Trey Flowers – to the first, second or third team defenses. It makes no sense. RANT OVER.
The quarterback position is another area of emphasis this fall, and the Tigers may have one in John Franklin III. If he doesn’t work out then it all falls on Johnson or Sean White. Auburn also returns running back Jovon Robinson, who ran for 639 yards last season – all but 20 in the final six games of the year. Plain and simple, Gus Malzahn’s offense cannot rank 10th in the league in total offense again.
Defensively, Auburn could be pretty salty. Kevin Steele, after just one season at LSU, jumped ship and landed at Auburn as the new defensive coordinator. He’ll have some playmakers, too, with Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams (that’s an SEC name if I’ve ever seen it).
Auburn doesn’t leave the state of Alabama until Oct. 8, but I’m not so sure that’s going to help a whole lot. I broke the schedule down into three categories: losses, toss-ups and wins.
Losses: Clemson, LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State. Could Auburn totally pull some Auburn type s#!+ in any of these games? Absolutely, and I’m not going to act surprised when it happens.
Toss-ups: Arkansas. This is difficult. I no doubt believe Arkansas is a better team than Auburn, but this is a home game for the Tigers. Things can just flat-out get weird in Jordan-Hare. Plus, Auburn will be coming off a bye week for this one.
Wins: Louisiana-Monroe, Vanderbilt, Alabama A&M (WOO!), Arkansas State, Texas A&M. The Arkansas State game is very dangerous. Everyone is expecting Clemson to clobber Auburn in the opener, and if the Tigers are deflated coming out of that one, things could get even uglier hosting the Red Wolves week two.
Right now I’m sitting at five wins, and expecting at least one more from somewhere. When I’m in Vegas next weekend I’ll be taking the under. You?