arrow-circle arrow-long-stroke arrow-stroke arrow-thick arrow-thin arrow-triangle icon 2 baseballCreated with Sketch. basketball calendar category check-circle check-square check comment facebook-circle facebook-icon facebook-rounded facebook-square facebook-stroke football instagram-circle instagram-icon instagram-square long-arrow-right rss-circle rss-rounded rss-square rss-stroke rss twitter-circle twitter-icon twitter-rounded twitter-square twitter-stroke user-group user

November’s Gauntlet

By on November 1st, 2017 in Football, News 11 Comments »
Oct 14, 2017; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn against the LSU Tigers during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Auburn 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

Since 2013, Auburn is 0–6 against Georgia and Alabama. In those six games, Auburn lost by a combined score of 181–96 and averaged just 300 yards of total offense per game. If Auburn drops both games this season, that brings Malzahn’s record against the Tigers’ two biggest rivals to 0–8 since 2013. 

That’s just simply not enough for Jay Jacobs or whomever is in his position at that time to keep Gus around. If Coach Malzahn wants to keep his job, he must, at the very least, split those rivalry games and get one win out of it. The head coach at Auburn University just simply cannot go four straight seasons without a win against the program’s two biggest rivals. 

While the loss of Kamryn Pettway hurts, Auburn has three more than competent running backs in Kerryon Johnson, Kam Martin and Malik Miller to make up for the loss at that position. Coach Malzahn has no reason to use Pettway’s injury as a scapegoat this year. Any offensive struggles will and should be chalked up to a lack of balance between the run and mid-yardage passing game. 

The key difference between Auburn and Georgia right now is that OC Jim Chaney is able to balance all of his offensive weapons and play them to their fullest potentials. Auburn has some of the most talented personnel in the nation—it’s about time Malzahn uses them effectively. 

Here’s the reality. Auburn has very little chance of going to the College Football Playoff. At the moment, they don’t even control their own destiny. LSU still needs a loss. Will that occur? Yes—more than likely this weekend against Alabama.

However, even with an LSU loss, Auburn needs to get through the gauntlet that is Georgia and Alabama—no way around that. Not to mention, a road game to College Station, which is a trip that is never to be taken lightly.

And let’s say the Tigers do get through Texas A&M and the following two gigantic obstacles—then what lies ahead? Almost certainly Georgia, again, for a second time in the SEC Championship. But this was the path all along for this team—even without the two losses to Clemson and LSU.  Is it fair that Auburn must play the two best teams in the country even to have a chance at the national championship? No, but it’s the nature of the game.

Win out, and this team goes down in history. Lose two of three and Malzahn is out of a job. The future of Auburn football awaits in the month of November.

11 Comments

  1. WarSamEagle WarSamEagle says:

    Good article Cole and spot on about Gus needing to win a game against at least one of AU’s biggest rivals.

    However, when you say, “The key difference between Auburn and Georgia right now is that OC Jim Chaney is able to balance all of his offensive weapons” is only partially true.

    The bigger difference between UGa of the past couple of years and now is, “a healthy Nick Chubb.” When he was injured the last couple of years – Georgia struggled. Now that he’s healthy Georgia is back on track. Likewise Kamryn Pettway’s health status is a “key” element in Auburn’s potential for success.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      I agree that Chub is to Georgia as Pettway is to Auburn. But Gus and/Chip need to find a way to use Malik Miller and Kam Martin to compensate for the loss of Pettway and, get the job done. As Acid Reign said on another thread this week, “Next man up” is just part of the game.
      If Auburn can stretch the field, it will help the RB’s and if the defense can stay healthy through the “November Gauntlet”… I like our chances.

  2. AubieCE AubieCE says:

    AU has a few advantages vs UGA
    Game is at home, and a frosh UGA playing QB.
    AU has a very good run “D” and needs to keep UGA from running at will.
    UGA threw 4 times vs UF.
    Can’t let UGA do that, need to take the run away and see if they can beat AU passing.

    Bama has rolled everyone they played, but their opponents are mediocre at best.
    They still have LSU and MSU so we will know more about how good they are soon.
    AU needs to have a strong showing and not lay an egg on the offensive side.
    AU’s “D” will give them a puncher’s chance.

  3. AUTiger57 says:

    Excellent points, Cole. I agree 100% that Gus has to win one of the rival games left on the schedule to remain the coach. Not confident yet that will happen. We are already miles behind Bama and Ga. I see the Ga game as maybe a possible win. What did the committee see in Gus that got him the job over Kirby?? I know Kirby was interviewed for the position. Rumor was they didn’t like something he said? I just hope if we have to look for another coach, that we get it right this time. Great post!! Appreciate all you guys at TET for your hard work. War Eagle

  4. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    The past two weeks, Brandon Marcello has cried wolf over Jay Jacobs being on the way out.

    It seems as though no one wants to make the first move in this multi million dollar game of chess.

    Thoughts for another day.

    I think we are all in agreement that the running back committee has been completely mismanaged. Easy to say now, of course, but many of us thought we needed to feed other backs, at least for the sake of saving pettway and Johnson for later in the season.

    Of course, there was also the thought that Martin, Miller, and Barrett are the future at auburn and they should he treated as such and prepared.

    Again, a story for another day

  5. ABQA says:

    @ZachTaylor Says:

    Why do you disrespect Auburn by using a lower case “a” in your comments ?

  6. Tigers5711 says:

    It’s already been said but Chip needs to design a few packages for Malik at QB. That guy can run reminds me of 2013.

  7. almightytmc1 says:

    TAM us very winnable. And UGA is too. Both teams (Auburn and UGA) match strength for . It will be won or lost in the trenches. The team that keeps their QB upright longest will win this. (****Unless AU’s receivers get the dropseys.****) This one will be a classic. And again I say offer Chris Peterson $10 million, and every rival game can be winnable. Thanks Cole. Good reading.

  8. […] will set the tone for how both of these teams may finish out the season. As Cole Locascio said in his article Wednesday Auburn needs to win two of the last three SEC match ups to have a good season. A ‘W’ on […]

Post A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.