Just like all season, Auburn facing a crucial test

nutsandbolts10-21

It’s getting old to talk about how the future of Auburn’s season and even the career of head coach Gus Malzahn will hinge on the outcome of a single game. But it’s been true almost every Saturday this season.

Let’s take a look at how we got here.

Heading into the season-opener, most Auburn fans were on the fence about whether Malzahn should be on the hot seat or if there was a chance for magical repeat of 2010 or 2013.

After a baffling game plan and loss to Clemson, the Tigers had to beat what was considered a dangerous Arkansas State team or else Auburn would have been developing an exit strategy for Malzahn.

A dominant win over Arkansas State meant Auburn had to split with SEC rivals Texas A&M and LSU or the season would be lost. A loss to A&M made the win over LSU not only exhilarating but a must.

A win over Louisiana-Monroe meant that a toss-up game against Mississippi State could set the stage for the second half of the season.

Now Auburn sits at 4-2 and has a real chance to be favored in the next five games. That means that a trip to Tuscaloosa with an SEC West title on the line is not so far-fetched.

But that won’t happen without a win over Arkansas tomorrow. That makes this another critical game for the Tigers.

For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.