Monday Musings From The Plains
ESPN's College GameDay coming to Auburn for Kentucky game
After dropping two games due to poor shooting, Auburn basketball bounced back Saturday with a hot first half to win its SEC-Big 12 Classic game against Iowa State. The Tigers downed the Cyclones 80–76 with four Tigers scoring in double digits. Although the Cyclones made a game of it at the end, it was not enough to overcome Auburn’s fast start.
The win sets up what could possibly be the Tigers’ biggest ever home game this Saturday when Bruce Pearl’s Tigers play Kentucky in front of a national audience. ESPN’s College Basketball Game Day will be on campus for the first time ever when the Wildcats come to town.
The Media giant is already billing it as a rematch of last year’s Elite Eight game between the two SEC Schools when an Auburn victory put the Tigers in the Final Four. You can be sure the Wildcats will be looking for some revenge. However, the Auburn Arena is a tough place for visiting teams. One thing’s for sure, the place will be rocking.
But before the ESPN crew arrives to set up for Game Day, the Tigers have to take care of business on the road against Ole Miss on Tuesday in Oxford, Mississippi. The game is set to be broadcast at 8:00 p.m. CT by either ESPN or ESPNU.
There was a lot of pressure on Gus Malzahn to win in 2019, but it will rise exponentially in 2020. Can Auburn football be a national contender in 2020? I think they can.
Although the Tigers lost a ton of experience along the defensive line, Auburn has enough talent and resources to make a run at a national championship. And, the Tigers have momentum heading into the new year after Gus Malzahn outcoached Nick Saban in the Iron Bowl.
That momentum got a boost this week when Auburn announced it signed defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to a three-year contract. His $2.5 million dollar deal will make him the highest salaried DC in the nation. This writer believes Steele is probably worth every penny of the new contract.
If new offensive coordinator Chad Morris can help improve the passing game, keeping Steele around may be just what is needed to get the Tigers in the playoffs. We’ll see …
San Francisco defensive end Dee Ford was a freshman when Auburn won the 2010 BCS National Championship and a senior when the Tigers played for a national championship in 2013. This Sunday, he will be taking the field at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
His appearance on football’s biggest stage marks the fifth straight year for an Auburn player to be in the Super Bowl. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be pulling for Dee to win that coveted ring.
Until next time …