2015 Football Previews – (SEC) – Auburn
A whole lot went right for the Auburn Tigers during the team’s 2013 run to the national title game. The team enjoyed two of the greatest and most memorable plays in the history of college football along the way – Ricardo Louis’s catch against Georgia, and Chris Davis’s return against Alabama.
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Southeastern Conference 2015 College Football Preview – Auburn Tigers
Head Coach: Gus Malzahn
2014 Record: 8-5
Auburn Odds to win the SEC: 3-1
The 2014 edition of the Tigers didn’t catch those same breaks. Auburn was 7-1 through its first eight games of 2014, but lost four of five down the stretch – with that lone win coming in a cupcake matchup against Samford – culminating in an overtime loss in their bowl game.
The team’s offense wasn’t what it was a year prior, but the group was still pretty impressive in the grand scheme of things. The Auburn rushing attack finished 13th in the nation, and the offense ranked eighth in passing efficiency. Now the offensive line is expected to be even better, and the quarterback situation shifts from Nick Marshall to Jeremy Johnson, and that, too, may be an improvement.
The Tigers landed the two biggest fish in the pond when it comes to defensive additions this past offseason. First, the team reeled in former Florida head coach Will Muschamp, who instantly joins the ranks of the top defensive coordinator.
Then the team added the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2015 class in defensive end Byron Cowart. Any production the team gets out of him in year one will be huge. But marrying Muschamp and Cowart seems like a match made in heaven for both individuals, even if it takes the Tigers some time to get a return on their investment.
Nick Marshall is gone, but junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson could be the next breakout star in college football. He’s been with the program long enough to know the system inside and out, and while the Cam Newton comparisons may be a bit premature, he appears to have all the physical tools to get the job done. He’s going to be the guy that determines whether this is a double-digit win team or won that wins eight games for the second year in a row.
Penalties were a major issue at Auburn in 2014. The Tigers were flagged just 70 times in 14 games in 2013, with 19 of those penalties coming in two games. The 2014 edition was hit with 92 penalties in just 13 games. The team needs much better discipline in that regard.
The team’s passing issue was also a major work in progress last season. They’ll need top cornerback Jonathan Jones to really shut down the opposition’s top receiver. He’s entering his senior season, but is coming off a foot injury.
2015 Auburn Tigers Prediction: 10-2
The Auburn game at the end of the regular season is always the game to watch, but Auburn gets a very tricky start to its SEC schedule, having to go into Death Valley to face LSU on Sept. 19. There are three cupcake matchups and three trickier ones in the Tigers’ first six games, but that trip to Baton Rouge will be by far the toughest of the bunch.
Louisville’s a good non-conference matchup, but the others – Jacksonville State, San Jose State, and Idaho – are all just money-makers. Interestingly enough, two of those cake walks come before the toughest games on the schedule. The other comes before the only mid-week contest on tap.
Auburn Tigers 2015 Football Schedule
9/12 Jacksonville State
9/19 at LSU
9/26 Mississippi State
10/3 San Jose State
10/15 at Kentucky
10/24 at Arkansas
10/31 Ole Miss
11/7 at Texas A&M
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