There’s more to success than skill positions

Here’s what happens when you bring in the most highly regarded transfer at the most important position in football. Media outlets such as ESPN anoint you as a preseason top 5 team. Then they proceed to explain why those lofty expectations are premature.

Such is the fate of the Auburn Tigers and Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham.

ESPN’s Football Power Index ranked the Tigers No. 5 headed into the season, behind only Ohio State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Florida State.

Then three of the four writers who cover the SEC for ESPN chose Auburn as the most overrated team in the rankings. Said writer David Ching: “I think Auburn has a chance to be great, but the flop risk is awfully high for a program that is just 23-16 (11-13 SEC) since playing for the national title in 2013.”

Writer Alex Scarborough pointed to the inevitable comparison of any Auburn skeptic when he said “I don’t want another Jeremy Johnson 2015 situation to play out again.”

I understand the high preseason optimism and I also understand that many people are reluctant to jump on the Auburn bandwagon. There are still questions about this rosters that have not been answered.

But if Auburn extends its losing record in the SEC since 2014 it’s not going to be because Stidham isn’t a good player. We’ve seen him compete enough at the college level to know that. I think at this point it’s more important to be talking about who is going to protect Stidham and who is going to rush the passer for the Tigers’ defense.

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

Stephen Root