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Could Auburn Football Be A Contender For The Playoffs In 2017?

By on June 19th, 2017 in Football, News 13 Comments »
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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.

13 Comments

  1. uglyjoe says:

    Kiss of death?

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      I'm glad to see the Tigers ranked in the top 10. But I know where you're coming from but it doesn't have to be the "kiss of death." We all know Auburn has a rep of not being able to handle high expectations. But to get to that next level, Auburn has got to get to the place where high expectations do not bring anxiety but are embraced.

  2. AUNation AUNation says:

    Phil Steele's is the ONLY preseason magazine that I take any stock in. If you have ever looked at one of his mags, he is an analytical / statistical genius and he has a formula for picking winners. The info that he digs out of every team and packs into that magazine (through use of a TON of abbreviations…) is amazing.

    His picks are based on returning starters, combined starts on the OL, coaching fits, history, trends, etc. A lot of things that even seasoned "experts" fail to consider as they should. He is right much more than he is wrong because very little of his predictions are based solely on hype or what the other guys are buying into. If he believes in this team then I think we are going to witness something special.

    • DBAU81 says:

      In 2010 Steele wrote that we had a chance to go into the Iron Bowl undefeated and contend for the national title. This was before anybody knew we had Superman at QB. If I recall correctly, I think that much of his assessment was based on our very experienced O-line. Let’s hope he’s right again.

  3. AUwaterboy AUwaterboy says:

    Thanks for the link to Stidham’s video interview.

    I love his attitude and I think he could be someone special. If he pans out, which I think he will, Auburn should definitely be a contender in 2017.

  4. WarSamEagle WarSamEagle says:

    I see 3 big “ifs” in this story: Clemson, LSU, and Alabama. Get by those teams and yes they will be in the CFP. Lose to Bama and one other and they will be lucky to play in the Outback Bowl.

    • AUNation AUNation says:

      Not sure if I agree with your assessment. You’re saying that if we lose to a certain top 5 team (bama) and one other probably top 5 team then we will be lucky to play in the Outback? Sure, last year was an SEC anomaly, but we were 8-4 and played in the Sugar Bowl. We could drop all three to Clemson, LSU, and UA and still be in the top ten depending on how their seasons play out. We could even lose to two of the three, have a three way tie situation in the West, and have a shot to get to ATL and the play-offs. Lots of scenarios here, but if we went 10-2 with our only two losses coming from that group of three you listed, we will be in the discussion for something worthwhile at the end.

      • WarSamEagle WarSamEagle says:

        Of course you're right especially if one of the losses is to non conference Clemson. But Steele also predicted that Auburn would most likely win 10 games and play in the Outback Bowl, so I'm not the only one with that opinion.

  5. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..The team needs to stay relatively healthy. We have a few spots where there is a huge dropoff if the starter goes down. QB, Corner, tight end, H-back. Both the O-line and D-line have a couple of new starters, too. We’ll have to see how they gel.

    …..We screamed about the Wing-T and the play calling early last season, but another big factor in Auburn losing to Clemson and Texas A&M was offensive line play. We could not block either team’s defensive ends. Thanks to injury, Austin Golson moved back to center, and Darius James came in and solidified the left tackle spot. On the other side, Robert Leff really improved as the year went on, and he’s in the NFL, now.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      No doubt staying healthy was our achilles heel last season. If the Tigers can get through the season "relatively healthy," I believe they stand a good chance at doing something special in 2017.

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