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Predicting the 2019 SEC Football Season: Auburn Tigers

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Gus Malzahn inches closer and closer to a cheaper buyout.

Auburn v Alabama
“Pardon me good sir, but you appear to be in my way.”
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Installment number seven of wild blind dart-throwing predictions take us to GusVegas.

Coach: Gustavo Malzahn (53-27, SEC 28-20, beginning his SEVENTH season at Auburn; Career: 62-30 at Aub plus one year at Ark State)

2018 record: 8-5 (3-5 in SEC, 5th in the West Division)

CB969 2018 Prediction: 10-2, another wasted opportunity; “The Tigers are a sneaky good team but not elite. They have potential to make some noise but likely finish second in the SEC West...”

Looking back: The Tigers jumped out to a good start with a 21-16 win over #6 Washington in a Kickoff Game. It did not go so well after that. Home losses to LSU and Tennessee had them at 1-3 in the SEC by midseason. A win over Texas A&M was small consolation for the trouncings handed down by UGA and Bama. However in the end, they absolutely wrecked Purdue in the Music City Bowl in a game that was 28-0 after the first quarter and 56-0 at the half.

Returning starters: 7 on offense, 6 on defense, kicker, punter.

Key losses: CB Jamel Dean (Round 3, Buccaneers), WR Darius Slayton (Round 5, Giants), QB Jarrett Stidham (Round 4, Patriots), LB Deshaun Davis (Round 6, Bengals), RB Chandler Cox (Round 7, Dolphins), DT Dontavius Russell (Round 7, Jaguars), WR Ryan Davis, LB Montavious Atkinson, LB Darrell Williams, RB Asa Martin (transfer to Miami-FL), WR Nate Craig-Myers (transfer to Colo. State), OLB Richard Jibunor (transfer to Troy), OLB Richard McBryde (transfer to SMU), CB Jayvaughn Myers (still in the transfer portal), CB Cam’Ron Kelly (to UNC), CB John Broussard (to Memphis), QB Malik Willis (to Liberty), OT Calvin Ashley (transfer from fAU to FAU to DNF), I’m sensing a theme here...

Top returnees: DC DC Kevin Steele, DT Derrick Brown, LT Prince Tega Wanogho, DL Marlon Davidson, DL Nick Coe, RB JaTarvious Whitlow, RB Kam Martin, LG Marquel Harrell, RG Mike Horton, P Arryn Siposs, WR Seth Williams, WR Anthony Schwartz, CB Noah Igbinoghene, SS Daniel Thomas, PK Anders Carlson.

Top newcomers: 28-year old Offensive Coordinator Kenny Dillingham (WHO???), H-Back Jay Jay Wilson (graduate transfer from Arizona State), QB Bo Nix (Pinson, AL), LB Owen Pappoe (Loganville, GA), DE Charles Moore (Louisville, MS), RB Mark-Antony Richards (Palm Beach, FL), DE Jaren Handy (Hattiesburg, MS), ATH Zion Puckett (Griffin, GA), OL Keiondre Jones (Hogansville, GA), LB Derick Hall (Gulfport, MS).

Name you need to know: Former 5-star Bo Nix is supposed to be the latest greatest Heisman-contending QB at Auburn. It is yet to be determined how Gustavo will ruin him.

Strengths: Starting OL is back intact... Kicking and punting should be solid... Secondary might be okay... Running game should be strong... Defensive front led by tackle Derrick Brown who could have turned pro...

Weaknesses: Gustavo is taking a BIG chance on Dillingham at OC... Loss of QB and top two receivers... New starting QB Bo Nix (true frosh) is VERY young and VERY inexperienced. His back-up RS frosh Joey Gatewood (0-1 career passing) isn’t much more ahead of him in experience... Complete turnover at LB... Tough schedule...

Outlook: The voters in both polls have Auburn ranked number 16. The Tigers have a good core returning in certain spots but lacking in others. The schedule is not a friendly one: facing TAMU, Fla and LSU on the road, and of course UGA and Bama at the end of November. It is just hard to see how Malzahn can all of sudden put together the kind of complete season that the fans have been clamoring for. This will be especially hard with a teenage rookie quarterback.

2019 SCHEDULE:

Sat, Aug 31 vs Oregon (JerryWorld) - W - Picking AU because the Pac12 just plain sucks right now. Plus, the Ducks just lost 2 significant WRs to injury.
Sat, Sep 7 vs Tulane - W
Sat, Sep 14 vs Kent State - W
Sat, Sep 21 @ Texas A&M - L
Sat, Sep 28 vs Mississippi State - W
Sat, Oct 5 @ Florida - L
Sat, Oct 12 bye
Sat, Oct 19 @ Arkansas - W
Sat, Oct 26 @ LSU - W - I just have a feeling that Auburn gets that one big win per year here. [CONTRACT EXTENSIONS FOR EVERYBODY!]
Sat, Nov 2 vs Ole Miss - W
Sat, Nov 9 bye
Sat, Nov 16 vs Georgia - L - This could be a tricky one for UGA.
Sat, Nov 23 vs Samford - W
Sat, Nov 30 vs Alabama - L

SIDE NOTE: With Urban Meyer out teaching Ethics classes, Malzahn is now the nation’s fourth-highest paid head coach, earning $6.8M for this season. If he is fired without cause at the end of this season, Auburn would owe him $26 million.

Let’s go Bowling! Yes, one of those middling bowls.

Poll

Poll

Regular season wins for Auburn in 2019:

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    5 or less.
    (36 votes)
  • 6%
    6
    (36 votes)
  • 26%
    7
    (137 votes)
  • 32%
    8
    (168 votes)
  • 17%
    9
    (90 votes)
  • 10%
    10 or more.
    (52 votes)
519 votes total Vote Now

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