With their first and only break in the 2021 regular season schedule behind them, the Auburn football Tigers head into the next five games with an opportunity to control their own destiny when it comes to winning the SEC West.
To finish atop the division, the Tigers will have to play a lot of high-level football, beginning on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
This week’s opponent, Ole Miss, features the top quarterback in the league (Matt Corral) and an offense that is a threat to score from anywhere on the field at any time. Auburn’s offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo, and the guys he is coaching will need to show up with their “A” game for this match-up to keep up on the scoreboard.
The Rebels will arrive as the higher-ranked team at No. 10 in this week’s AP poll, and they also have the better overall record at 6-1 with a 3-1 record in the SEC.
However, this a game the 18th-ranked Tigers have a great chance to win. In addition to normally beating the Rebels, especially in games played at Auburn, this week’s opponent will arrive with a defense that is not as good as its offense.
If Auburn can defeat the Rebels, the next challenge is a road trip to Texas A&M to face another opponent currently ranked ahead of the Tigers. The Aggies, who are off this week, should be well-rested when Auburn arrives in College Station, where the Tigers have won on each of their four trips to Kyle Field.
Awaiting this year is a Texas A&M team that is 3-2 in the league, but has an impressive home victory vs. Alabama. The 2021 edition of the Aggies is led by the defense while the running attack is making progress.
The Tigers will be back at home for a Nov. 13th contest vs. inconsistent and pass-happy Mississippi State. Auburn’s defense played very well against Coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense last year and if the Tigers are still in the divisional race at this point of the season, this is a game they will be favored to win.
Auburn should also be favored to win its final road game at South Carolina, where the Tigers put on one of their poorest performances in recent years in a loss to the Gamecocks in 2020. South Carolina’s first-year head coach, Shane Beamer, leads a team that should not have the talent to upset the Tigers again this year.
Alabama, the defending national champion, doesn’t look as strong as it did last year, but the Tide has plenty of firepower and is currently in good position to make a another run into the College Football Playoff. Georgia was the best team the Tigers have played this season and Alabama will be next on that list when the Tide arrives for the regular season finale.
Regardless of what it means for Auburn in the divisional race, the Iron Bowl will be a huge game for Auburn’s new coaching staff led by Bryan Harsin. Fans and recruits will be carefully watching to see how Harsin and his team measure up vs. Nick Saban, who is generally considered the top guy currently coaching at the collegiate level.