The Auburn Corner: The Real Challenge Now Begins for Tigers
(Photo via Jamie Holt/Auburn Tigers)
Every Tuesday right here you can read The Auburn Corner, where we’ll get into a different topic on the Auburn Tigers, break down the previous game, preview the upcoming game, and everything in between. In this week’s edition, Auburn has taken care of business and achieved the 3-0 record we called a must. But now, the real challenge will begin for the Tigers:
Playing an SEC West schedule is not going to do anyone any favors. Every week is going to be a grind and there is no such thing as an easy or guaranteed win. Auburn had the benefit of the first three weeks of the season being extremely winnable via two cupcakes at home and a road trip out west against an inferior opponent.
But the Tigers are getting thrown into the fire over the next few weeks in Hugh Freeze’s return to the SEC. Freeze will try to get things going not only with an almost entirely new roster that lacks SEC experience, but perhaps most importantly, a starting quarterback who is making his SEC debut this week.
A road trip to one of the most difficult environments in the nation in College Station presents quite the measuring stick for where Payton Thorne and this offense are at. Auburn’s defense is very good, but the offense’s performance at Cal was a major red flag for a team that opens up SEC play with a tough road trip followed by Georgia, a trip to LSU, and Ole Miss at home.
We are going to find out a lot about this Auburn team on Saturday. Was Hugh Freeze simply trying some things out with Robby Ashford in the first few weeks, or does he plan to rotate Ashford in regularly when the games get tougher? Can the defense continue to look good against legitimate competition? Can Auburn score enough points to keep up with an A&M offense that has averaged 44 points per game in the first three weeks?
This is an absolutely massive game for both teams. For Texas A&M, a loss at home to Auburn in a game where they are favored by more than a touchdown is going to make the warm seat of Jimbo Fisher scorching hot. For Auburn, who faces an extremely difficult next three games along with being one of three teams in the nation that have to face both Alabama and Georgia, getting their SEC schedule started off on the right foot would go a long way.
Every game in the SEC is big, but this one has a different feel to it. While questions remain about both teams, we will surely get some answers on Saturday.