Miss St: Most Important Game of the Season?
On the surface, the above headline may sound stupid. When has Miss St. ever been the most important anything when it comes to football? Saturday may be a first. It’s not a reach to say that Auburn must win against the visiting Bulldogs to realistically have a shot at a bowl game and a winning record.
We’ve seen the “must win” term thrown around a lot during the first two weeks of the season. Georgia’s been carrying that weight since visiting Clemson on opening weekend. Now Alabama and Texas A&M will hear it all week.
For Auburn, it’s all too real.
A win over Miss St. gets the Tigers to 3-0 heading to Baton Rouge a week from Saturday. Barring an upset at LSU, Auburn will either be 3-1 or 2-2 with Ole Miss coming to town Oct. 5.
A win against the Bulldogs and Auburn will need one more conference victory (assuming non-conference wins over Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic) to become bowl eligible. A loss and that number doubles heading into the meat of the SEC schedule.
Auburn’s remaining conference schedule after Saturday looks like this: at LSU; Ole Miss; at Texas A&M; at Arkansas; at Tennessee; Georgia and Alabama.
A loss to Dan Mullin and statistically speaking Auburn will likely have to grab consecutive road wins in Knoxville and Fayetteville to be bowl eligible with six wins. Ole Miss remains a possibility, but they’ll be favorites heading to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Either way you slice it, Saturday night is huge for this Auburn program. It’s dangerous to predict the future in the SEC, so my prognosticating is potentially way off. What I do know is that heading to LSU at 3-0 does give you a little wind at your back.
The early Vegas betting lines have Auburn a solid 6 ½ point favorite against State…
If you were in the stands Saturday, you surely felt a change back to normalcy. While nobody is predicting a New Year’s Day game for Gus Malzahn’s first team, you do get the feeling that old Auburn football is returning – especially on defense.
Sure Ellis Johnson’s unit gave up some big numbers, but for the first time since Will Muschamp roamed the Auburn sidelines, this group played nasty. They got after the ball and laid hit after hit.
We are starting to see the ability these kids possessed in high school taken to the next level. It’s called coaching and it’s what got Gene Chizik fired. There are surely rough roads ahead, but count me a believer in Johnson and his staff…
When it comes to attendance there are a lot of things working against Auburn. Many season ticket holders last season felt burned by the product on the field and didn’t return this year.
While there was no ticket price increase for 2013, Auburn prices remain out-of-reach for most fans. Throw in big screen televisions and air conditioning and you can see why the upper decks have had swaths of empty seats during the first two weeks.
Let’s hope the crowd returns this week. There’s no arguing that Gus is bringing the excitement back. Now it’s time for the fans to return the favor. Crowd noise must be a factor against Miss St. for Auburn to win.
If you haven’t made your way over to the Plains yet, Saturday is a good time to start. Auburn needs you.