The Auburn Tigers, Alabama's Second Team

By Daniel Ellington
John David Mercer-US Presswire

Quietly standing in the shadows of the giants down in Tuscaloosa and the mystic that is the Roll Tide; Alabama’s second city is reinvigorated and ready to start a new season after a quite respectable signing day. If the Auburn Tigers can transfer this enthusiasm and optimism to the field they should be able to maintain a winning record despite an unforgiving schedule in 2013.

Auburn’s schedule starts relatively lightly which should allow them to pick up some early momentum.  With three perfectly winnable games against the Washington State Cougars, the Arkansas State Red Wolves and the Mississippi State Bulldogs before they go to Baton Rouge to play the LSU Tigers in week four and the Ole Miss Rebels in week five Auburn can build up some much needed steam. The Tigers need to win their first three to cushion themselves for an eventually conference loss.

The LSU and Ole Miss bouts more than any other will determine how far Auburn advances toward playing in a major bowl game; these games are important because they are against other SEC West opponents, and playing better teams will sharpen Auburn’s skills in preparation for possibly their single biggest mid-season challenge waiting in Texas. By this time in the season they should have built team continuity which they’ll need for some late season battles with the big boys.

In week seven the Tigers travel to College Station to meet Mr. Johnny Heisman and the Texas A&M Aggies. This game might determine how the second-half of the season plays out for Auburn and a win here would position the Tigers to be 5-1 overall, given they run the board in their first three games and steal one from LSU or Ole Miss. In addition, this would also be a huge psychological boost that could catapult them into future success down the stretch.

Similarly to Auburn’s first three games their next three are also totally winnable. They host the Florida Atlantic Owls in week eight then travel to play the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Tennessee Volunteers.

Subsequently they host the Georgia Bulldogs, which will be another big test, and finally they wrap up their season in a match-up with arch nemesis Alabama. Here is where the importance of beating Texas A&M comes into play. If Auburn manages to beat A&M, and A&M beat Alabama, then why can’t Auburn beat Alabama?  If Auburn can beat LSU and Texas A&M then they have a slim chance to beat Alabama. And slim is better than none.

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