I know that you all have been waiting on my predictions for the season. *Sarcastic* As some of you may know this was what I did at my old "job" at WarDamnTailgate.com. I have looked at every matchup, and thought about it until my brain hurts. You know what that means? Very little I can promise you, but know that I have read posts and blogs all over the net and re-read Acid’s breakdowns and have come to my own conclusions. There is a very obvious theme with the 2009 version of the Auburn Tigers.
And with that, this post is brought to you by the number 1993 and the word Health.
This team reminds me of the 1993 squad so much it is scary. We had a new coach that has very little head coaching experience. Depth was an issue on defense, especially linebacker and the secondary. Speaking of linebacker, we even had a new linebacker in 93 that turned out to be a stud. His name was Jason Miska… remember him. He only would "blow people up," he was the great run stopper. The Tigers also only had only a couple of wide receivers that had game experience in 1993. Does any of this sound at all familiar? In no way am I saying that the 2009 version of the Auburn Tigers are going to shock the world and finish the season undefeated, but they could surprise a few folks, especially if they can stay healthy.
Sept. 5 - Louisiana Tech – WIN – Most media outlets are calling this game to be very close. While Derek Dooley has got a great squad in LaTech, I do not think they are ready to pull the upset. This game will be like the opener for Auburn last season. Auburn will struggle in the first half, followed by the offense finally getting used to the game day atmosphere and pulling away. The defense is the MVP of this game, and Chizik gets his first Tiger win.
Sept. 12 - Mississippi State – WIN – I see this game as being a little different than last season. Not a huge stretch there though, how many 3-2 games have you seen in your lifetime? Auburn will not have opened up the play book all the way yet, and will hold it back until next week. While the Bulldogs will be improved on offense over last season, the Tigers will be much better on offense and pull out the easy win.
Sept. 19 - West Virginia - WIN - This game is the key to Auburn being bowl eligible in my opinion. Win this one and the Tigers are off to the races… lose and the spiral could begin. Pat White is gone so Auburn can focus on Noel Devine. If the Tigers can remain healthy on defense and keep the Mountaineers guessing on defense, a hard fought win will really give a boost to the players and fans alike.
Sept. 26 - Ball State – WIN – Although I would call this a trap game, the Auburn faithful will not let the Tigers fail. The stadium will be ¾ full but the fans pull the Tigers over the hump. Staying healthy will be the name of the game against the Cardinals. Look for some third teamers to gain experience and see plenty of action.
Oct. 3 - at Tennessee – WIN – This is another pivotal game. The Tigers are 4-0 with a huge road trip to Fayetteville looming. Auburn will not over look the Vols due to Kiffen being a dumb butt and making ridiculous statements. This statements will come back to bite him. Auburn wins in a defensive struggle.
Oct. 10 - at Arkansas – WIN - I really cannot get a handle on this game. Auburn usually takes care of business in Fayetteville, but was that a Tuberville thing? Can Malzahn "coach em up" enough to beat his old squad? That is a tough one. If our defense is free of injury we will win… if not… Mallett might have enough weapons to take the win away. It is close but I will take Malzahn over the Piggie defense.
Oct. 17 - Kentucky – WIN - The wildcats are not going to be able to match up with the Tigers riding a 6 game winning streak. The media is taking notice of what Chizik and Malzahn have accomplished which equals another win. No let down should be the motto for this week. LSU looms huge. Bowl Eligible Baby!!!
Oct. 24 - at LSU – LOSS – This rivalry is re-dunk-ulous… It is a close game every year, and the most talented team does not always win, but in this case I have to take the more talented team in LSU. Jefferson seems primed for a great season, and the Purple Tigers are loaded everywhere. The goal in my mind is to get out of Death Valley healthy.
Oct. 31 - Ole Miss – WIN – I am not drinking the Kool-Aid on the Rebels. I give them credit for all the great things they did last season but I just don’t see it. They are the hunted this season. Jevan Snead is not going to sneak up on anyone. They looked great in their bowl win over Texas Tech though, which is scary. I am taking Auburn simply because we are at home, and Malzahn will have a trick up his sleeve for his old boss. My only wavering point is that we are one week removed from a very physical LSU team and 9 weeks into the season without a break.
Nov. 7 - Furman – WIN – Game over… but they do have a cool mascot in the Purple Paladins. Too bad they changed it from Christian Knights. That made them Furman University Christian Knights. As my mother used to say… "That is not a very pretty word."
Nov. 14 - at Georgia – LOSS – This one pains me… but the Bulldawg lines are both experienced and huge. UGA has the same question marks that Auburn does at QB, but both Joe Cox and Chris Todd were highly recruited out of high school. Can the LBs and secondary of the Tigers slow down the Bulldawg offense is the biggest question in my mind. The schedule for UGA is brutal again this season. If they can win their first 5 games, this team could be something special. If not, moral could be at an all time low under Richt. I have to give them the edge at home, although UGA winning four times in a row is hard to pick.
Nov. 27 - Alabama – Stay Tuned – I want to pick the Tigers so badly I cannot stand it. I am still calling it a Toss Up due to who knows what these two teams will look like this late in the season. Auburn, if healthy can win at home, but Bama has the better talent. Nine times out of ten the team with the better talent wins in this series (LSU that is not always the case). Our linebackers are so thin, and with any injury at all the Tide will exploit it. I am not sure that Bama will be as good as advertised, and Auburn will be better than any media outlet gives them credit.
I know that 9/10 wins is very optimistic, 8 wins is more likely because Auburn always seems to struggle somewhere along the way. Who knows the "Amazin’s" went 10-1 in 1972, when the Tigers were supposed to be terrible, but starting the year at 7-0 in 2009 is an Auburn fans dream come true. West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Ole Miss could all be losses though, and then… wow… I look like an idiot. This Auburn team is one huge question mark. Can "The Todd" [high five] get it done at QB? Does the O Line stay healthy? How about the Linebackers? Can freshman WRs catch the ball under the SEC pressure? How about maintaining a block down the field? Too many questions to even have a clue.
These are my picks, take them how you will. I see 9-3, but 5-7 is very possible. 6-6 will not "kill me" assuming it is based on injury or luck not coaching or lack of production. I had enough "lack of production" last season to last me a life time.
Let us know what you guys think?
War Damn Eagle