Auburn Hosts the Flames
Liberty is in its first year of FBS football
War Eagle, everybody! This week, the Auburn Tigers host the Liberty flames, in what, hopefully, will be a pre-Iron-Bowl tuneup. The Flames come into the game at 4–5 and need at least a pair of wins to go to a bowl this year. After the game in Auburn, the Flames will host New Mexico State and Norfolk State to close out the season. Liberty has played only one Power Five opponent and got blown out in Charlottesville last weekend in a 45–24 loss to Virginia. The Flames have also played independents Army and UMass and lost both of those games as well.
There are a couple of positive ways Auburn can approach this game. It could be used as a glorified practice to try and improve on issues. Or, Auburn could try to jump on Liberty early, take a big lead and rest the starters. The worst-case scenario would be to put forth a bad effort and struggle.
Auburn is on pace this season to have the worst offensive output in the Gus Malzahn era since the 2011 season. In 2011, Auburn managed to score just 25.7 points per game. This year’s edition is currently averaging 26.5. The worst output in the Malzahn head-coaching era was the 2015 season at 27.3. At this point in the 2015 season, Auburn was averaging 25.6 points per game.
Liberty has been known to put up some points, but the Flames have not faced a defense like Auburn’s. The Liberty defense has been porus, to put it mildly. The Flames are currently giving up 39 points per game with the only defensive sign of life coming against Troy a few weeks ago, when they inexplicably held the Trojans to just 16 points. Otherwise, Liberty has given up 38 or more points each game.
The weather should be great. It is expected to be sunny with a high in the mid-60’s F around kickoff. Temps will fall into the 50’s after sunset. There should be waxing gibbous moon high above Jordan-Hare Stadium for this one. We will have our usual Trackemtigers.com Open Thread up and running, and I’ll do my usual play-by-play.
A look at other SEC games this weekend, after the jump!
It is mostly cupcake week in the SEC, and Alabama gets the party started early, hosting The Citadel. Also for SEC brunch we have Florida hosting Idaho, and Kentucky hosting Middle Tennessee.
Also at 11:00 AM Central Time, Mississippi State hosts Arkansas. The Razorbacks have already been eliminated from the bowl picture and are still looking for their first SEC win. MSU can’t take this game lightly after watching Arkansas take LSU to the wire last week in a 24–17 loss. At 6–4, the Bulldogs are playing for bowl position.
Missouri at Tennessee is the CBS game this week at 2:30 PM Central. Mizzou stands at 6–4, and Tennessee is 5–5. Both are looking to improve their bowl chances.
UMass visits Georgia, and Liberty visits Auburn in the 3:00 PM time slot. I’d be shocked if either of these games is competitive.
There is one game of interest for this Tragic City native as the UAB Blazers visit Texas A&M at 6:00 PM. The Blazers have already clinched their division, but I suspect that UAB would really like to add an SEC scalp to its record. I think that the Aggies are too strong for that, even if the coaches continue to make crazy decisions during the game.
In 6:30 PM cupcake action, Rice visits LSU, and Chattanooga visits South Carolina.
Also at 6:30, Ole Miss visits Vanderbilt for their annual showdown. Ole Miss is 5–5 and playing for pride, on probation this year. Vanderbilt is 4–6 and must beat both Ole Miss and Tennessee to go bowling.