Could Auburn’s First Road Trip in 2014 set up as a Trap Game?
Auburn Athletics released some important information yesterday about the upcoming football season. The Tigers first road game scheduled for September 20th has been moved to a Thursday night to accommodate ESPN.
Why is that so significant? Because the Tigers already are playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, now have to face a Big 12 team in a midweek game.
Make no mistake; this is not your father’s Kansas State. This is a team that has seen resurgence under Head Coach Bill Snyder. Last year the Wildcats went 8-5 and defeated Michigan in their fourth consecutive bowl trip.
In 2012 KSU was ranked No.1 in the BCS standings after starting the season 10–0 before a loss to Baylor in the 11th week of the season. The Cats went on to win their sixth Big 12 Conference Championship and played in the Fiesta Bowl. As a result Coach Snyder won his second Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year Award as well as the Big 12 Coach of the year for the seventh time in his career.
The 2011 team finished second in the Big 12 Conference with a 10-2 record and a berth in the Cotton Bowl. That year Snyder was named Sporting News National Coach of the Year and the Big 12 Coach of the year.
The last time these two teams met was in 2007. Auburn defeated Kansas State 23-13 in the season-opener at Jordan-Hare Stadium. This time the Tigers will probably be ranked in the top 10 going into Manhattan September 18th. And historically, Thursday night games have not been kind to top 10 ranked teams, especially the ones that are playing on the road.
So this will be a critical game for Auburn at an early juncture in the season. It sets up well for Kansas State to pull the perfect trap game on the Tigers. You can bet Coach Snyder and his staff will have the Wildcats ready and the fans will be excited and pumped to be playing the defending SEC Champions on national television.
Still if Auburn is to continue to play at a championship level, it’s this kind of road game the Tigers will have to successfully navigate. Besides, Coach Malzahn and his staff know something about how to prepare a team for a tough road test – see Auburn vs. Texas A&M in 2013.