Could Auburn Football Be A Contender For The Playoffs In 2017?
Jarrett Stidham is not the only reason Auburn is being viewed as a Top 10 team in 2017. (photo: Julie Bennett/al.com)
It’s that time of the year when conversations about the upcoming college football season begin. Last Thursday the SEC Network broadcast an interview with Auburn’s presumed starting quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, in which the former Baylor quarterback seemed to be high on the Tigers’ chances in the SEC.
Stidham told interviewer Tom Luginbill, “All the pieces of the puzzle are there. We got play makers all over the field. I think it’s just a matter of time, of getting everybody on the same page, and the ultimate goal is to win the SEC. Like I said, everything after that takes care of itself.”
While a quarterback being excited about his team’s prospects is to be expected, the pundits and polls seem to agree with the former Baylor standout’s optimism. ESPN and Athlon both have the Tigers ranked in the preseason at No. 8 in the country.
And a few days ago, noted prognosticator Phil Steele said the Tigers could be one of the teams to make the College Football Playoffs. His magazine is the most respected of the preseason dossiers. It doesn’t hit the stands for another week, but his online version says Auburn should win at least 9 to 10 games in 2018 and maybe more.
Steele says the Tigers biggest flaw last year was at the signal caller position, a problem he expects Stidham to fix. However, his enthusiasm for the Tigers this year is based as much in confidence in the Tigers’ offensive line as with Stidham’s ability. Phil says the O-Line will be one of the most veteran units in the country while the Tiger D should be just as stout as last season.
Although Steele projects Auburn to ultimately finish second in the SEC West behind Alabama, he nevertheless sees a path to the playoffs if the Tigers can get by Clemson. “They can slip up against LSU,” Steele said. [But,] if they beat Alabama, they can get there. They are one of the more experienced teams in the SEC.”
So here we go again, more preseason high expectations for an Auburn football season.