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NCAA Football Auburn Tigers

Auburn Tigers Face Challenging 2014 Schedule

Shanna Lockwood, USA TODAY SPORTS

Shanna Lockwood, USA TODAY SPORTS

The Auburn Tigers were the surprise team in college football last season. After going just 3-9 in 2012, Auburn rebounded in a big way, winning the SEC Western Division title, the SEC Championship Game and coming within an eyelash of winning the BCS National Championship.

It was a magical ride for head coach Gus Malzahn and his team. Malzahn’s offense rolled through opponents, especially late in the season. Auburn actually led the country in rushing yardage last season, which is quite an accomplishment when a team regularly faces SEC defenses.

Things seemed to fall into place for Auburn last season. There was a tipped-ball touchdown in the win over the Georgia Bulldogs. There was the 109-yard return of a missed field goal for the winning touchdown in the win over the Alabama Crimson Tide. The ball simply bounced Auburn’s way.

If the Tigers are to repeat the magic of last season, they will have to do it against one of the nation’s toughest schedules.

In non-conference action, Auburn visits the Kansas State Wildcats in a Thursday night affair in Manhattan. The Tigers also get perhaps the toughest draw they could have gotten from the SEC East, as they must visit Georgia and host the South Carolina Gamecocks, probably the two best teams in that division.

Auburn also visits the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the Ole Miss Rebels and Alabama in SEC West action. The Tigers host the LSU Tigers, the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies.

The Tigers are not going to sneak up on anyone this season, and they will be forced to navigate a very tough schedule while defending their SEC title.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.