Is Game Against Penn State a Must Win for Bryan Harsin?

Bryan Harsin will not be fired if Auburn loses to Penn State on Saturday. In fact, Penn State is actually favored in the game by three points after Auburn’s tough showing where they scraped by San Jose State at home on Saturday. But for a program in complete quarterback disarray where one day TJ Finley is listed as the starter and the next, the word “or” causes an uproar, they could really, really use a big win like this.

Auburn’s schedule starts out with five winnable home games, and they have won the first two, albeit not by nearly as much as they should have. The next three are Penn State, Missouri, and LSU. As we said at the start of the season, they simply must win at least two of these three, because it gets really tough for the Tigers after this.

But a loss to Penn State, especially if it’s in convincing fashion for the Nittany Lions, is setting up Harsin for disaster. Things are already tense after the decision to start TJ Finley is clearly not working out. Now, is that the fault of Harsin? Probably not, because I’m not so sure that Robby Ashford is necessarily a better option. Different sure, but better? I’m not so sure.

The Tigers thus far have not looked like a team capable of beating Missouri next week, let alone Penn State this week. But if they can find a way to win this game, the amount of pressure that comes off of Harsin for at least a few days is immense. In my opinion, this game will dictate how the rest of the season is going to go for Auburn.

Can Harsin get his team ready to play a real football team that they aren’t supposed to kill? Or will they roll over and die like many expect them to. Either way, this game is going to set a major tone for how the rest of the season, and maybe the rest of the Harsin era, is going to play out.