(Part 3 of 25 on the most interesting Non-Conference Games of 2007)
Saturday, September 1st
Kansas State at Auburn
Auburn leads the all-time series 2-0. They last met in Auburn in 1979 and the Tigers prevailed 26-18.
I must (reluctantly) offer praise to the Plainsmen for scheduling good, or at the very least, interesting opponents for opening day over the last several years. Besides LA-Monroe in '04 and Ball State in '01, the last few openers have included Georgia Tech, Washington State, USC and now Kansas State. Certainly better than the opening day cannon fodder we've scheduled lately: Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee State, Utah State and South Florida (don't forget, we open with Western Kentucky in '08!) Hawai'i was a good one and we had UCLA in the '00 and '01 seasons, but they've been pretty dismal besides that lately. Sure, South Florida is pretty decent now, but they weren't taken as seriously in '03.
Anyway, Auburn had a solid season in '06 only dropping games to Arkansas (SEC West champ) and hated rival Georgia. They beat BCS bowl team LSU in a defensive slugfest and also defeated eventual national champions Florida. The Tigers finished the year with an 11-2 record after scraping by Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl.
The question about this game is which Kansas State team will show up? The one that beat Texas or the one that lost to Baylor by two touchdowns? Considering the fact that the Wildcats didn't win a single road game last year, I'm going to bet on something more akin to the performance against Baylor. Kansas State finished the '06 season with a 7-6 record after getting smashed by Rutgers in the Texas Bowl.
I expect Kansas State will take an 0-1 record home with them as a souvenir from Auburn.