Last and possibly least of the wild blind dart-throwing predictions of Alabama SEC opponents is the soap opera in Lee County.
GAME 12, NOV 26: AUBURN TIGERS
Coach: Bryan Harsin (6-7 after one season at Auburn; 82–31 overall at Boise, one year at Arky State)
2021 record: 6-7 (3-5 in SEC, T-6th in the West Division, lost the B’ham Bowl)
CB969 2021 Prediction: 7-5 “(Harsin) plans to use the same blueprint at Auburn that he used in potato country. But isn’t this sport about adapt or die? There won’t be any no-star walk-on linebacker who played eight-man football that he can pluck out of obscurity, no blue football fields, and no UNLV or Wyoming on the conference schedule. I see some hard lesson coming his way this year.”
Looking back: The Tigers got down to the Penn State 2-yard line late in the 4th quarter when an idiotic fade pass by Bo Nix on 4th down fell harmlessly to the ground. Despite the disappointing defeat, AU was still 6-2 with wins over LSU, Arky, and OM to go with a loss to UGA. Then the bottom fell out. Five straight losses to TAMU, MSU, SCar, Bama, and a bowl loss to Houston got the War Tiger Plainsmen Beagles all in a lather.
Returning starters: 6 on offense, 7 on defense, punter, kicker.
Key losses: OC Mike Bobo (fired), DC Derek Mason (resigned; moved to Oklahoma State), CB Roger McCreary (only Aub drafted, Round 2, Titans), LB Zakoby McClain, S Smoke Monday, leading receiver Kobe Hudson (transfer to UCF), starting QB Bo Nix (Oregon), TE J.J. Pegues (Ole Miss), DB Bydarrius Knighten.
Top returnees: RB Tank Bigsby, DL Derick Hall, DE Colby Wooden, RB Jarquez Hunter, C Nick Brahms, LB Owen Pappoe, S Zion Puckett, C Nick Brahms, TE John Samuel Shenker, P Oscar Chapman, PK Anders Carlson, DB Donovan Kaufman, CB Nehemiah Pritchett, QB TJ Finley.
Top newcomers: Eric Kiesau (a one-time Bama analyst) promoted from WR coach to OC, Jeff Schmedding promoted to DC, QB Zach Calzada (Texas A&M), NT Jayson Jones (Oregon), SS Craig McDonald (Iowa State), DB D.J. James (Oregon), LB Eugene Asante (UNC), frosh DB JaDarian Rhym, frosh DB Caleb Wooden (brother of Colby).
Name you need to know: RB Tank Bigsby had a big year (1,158 YDS, 10 TD) and is primed to have another.
Strengths: Bigsby didn’t leave... Returning starters on the interior OL and TE... Harsin getting back to what he knows... Kicker and punter...
Weaknesses: A gamble with the coaching staff (see below)... Harsin’s still unfamiliarity with football in the South including recruiting... Lost some key positions in the secondary... Top wide receivers are gone... Breaking in two new offensive tackles... Some poor options at QB... Tough schedule...
Outlook: After a poor inaugural campaign at Auburn, the natives got REALLY restless and tried everything up to leaving a dead hooker on Harsin’s front yard just to get rid of him. The palace revolt failed miserably (and gloriously) and I think it pisst the coach off a bit.
At Boise, Eric Kiesau was Harsin’s Offensive Coordinator and Jeff Schmedding was his Defensive Coordinator. He originally brought both of them with him to Auburn but as position assistants. Last year’s OC Mike Bobo and DC Derek Mason were both former head coaches and both rich in SEC experience. But both were let go after the one season. Harsin then promoted Kiesau and Schmedding back to their old roles. It makes you wonder if the meddlesome folks at Auburn coerced Harsin into hiring coordinators of their liking. After the failed coup d’etat, it seems he is just saying “screw you, I’m doing things my way.” I kinda respect that. I doubt he is listening to anything Yeller Feller or anyone else outside his staff has to say.
Harsin has adopted his old terminology and offensive scheme from his Boise days which is an up-tempo but with more focus on the run. During his time in the Potato State, he put three ball carriers into the NFL in Jay Ajayi (2015, Round 5, Dolphins), Jeremy McNichols (2017, Round 5, Steelers) and Alexander Mattison (2019, Round 3, Vikings). It is an interesting strategy that could win him the MWC this year. But this is the SEC where defensive linemen weigh 315 lbs, and run a 4.7 in the 40.
Win Total Odds
Over 6.5 +135
Under 6.5 -160
Sept 3 vs Mercer - W
Sept 10 vs San Jose State - W
Sept 17 vs Penn State - L
Sept 24 vs Missouri - W
Oct 1 vs LSU - W - Jerdin Hair is a weird place and it’s the fifth straight home game.
Oct 8 @ Georgia - L
Oct 15 @ Ole Miss - L - Road game.
Oct 29 vs Arkansas - L
Nov 5 @ Mississippi State - L - This just feels like a game MSU wins.
Nov 12 vs Texas A&M - W - Conversely, this is the kind of game TAMU will screw up.
Nov 19 vs Western Kentucky - W - Be careful here, Aubie.
Nov 26 @ Alabama - L
Regular season wins for Aubie in 2022:
This poll is closed
9 or more (The Boise way is the only way!)
5 and a dead hooker in the front yard.
ALABAMA SCHEDULE PREVIEWS:
Sept 3 vs Utah State 6:30pm SECN
Sept 10 at Texas 11:00am FOX
Sept 17 vs Louisiana–Monroe 3:00pm SECN
Sept 24 vs Vanderbilt
Oct 1 at Arkansas
Oct 8 vs Texas A&M
Oct 15 at Tennessee
Oct 22 vs Mississippi State
Oct 29 bye
Nov 5 at LSU
Nov 12 at Ole Miss
Nov 19 vs Austin Peay 11:00am SECN+
Nov 26 vs Auburn