Auburn football preview 2013: Projecting the October schedule

Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Two SEC games and two should-be wins greet the Tigers in the season's second month.

October is usually when the heat turns up during a college football season, but for Auburn, the second month of 2013 isn't too bad. In fact, depending on how good the Tigers' September opponents turn out to be, October could actually be an easier four-game set. It would seem that 2-2 is the floor, record-wise.

Oct. 5: vs. Ole Miss

This game may be the toughest one to pick all year. Ole Miss has a lot of momentum after Hugh Freeze's first season in Oxford, and the Rebels have nearly everyone coming back. With Bo Wallace, Jeff Scott, Donte Moncrief and Vince Sanders, the offense will be explosive. And on defense, the Rebs will probably be better than their middle-of-the-SEC production from a year ago. The Flying Nkemdiche Brothers are going to be tough to handle.

Then again, think back to 2009. Ole Miss went into the year with a ton of hype; Auburn had a new head coach and a Gus Malzahn offense. The game was on the Plains, and the Tigers took advantage of three Rebel turnovers in a 33-20 win. Ole Miss will have the advantage of being in Year 2 under Freeze, but Auburn matches up talent-wise and gets the game on friendly turf. Plus, the Rebels will be coming off games against Texas and Alabama and looking ahead to matchups against Texas A&M and LSU. It really could go either way.

Ole Miss 2012 Stats
YPG Pass YPG Rush YPG PPG YPG allow Pass YPG allow Rush YPG allow PPG allow
423.8 249.8 174.0 31.5 375.8 246.5 129.3 27.6

Oct. 12: vs. Western Carolina (HC)

It's an FCS opponent. It's Homecoming. Even 2012 Auburn won by 35 points on Homecoming. Next.

Western Carolina 2012 Stats
YPG Pass YPG Rush YPG PPG YPG allow Pass YPG allow Rush YPG allow PPG allow
335.7 168.8 166.9 23.4 514.4 185.0 329.4 40.8

Oct. 19: at Texas A&M

This one, this one we're not excited to see. Texas A&M averaged 559 yards and 45 points per game last season. Even if the Aggies' offense drops off by 25 percent this year, they'll average 419 yards and 34 points per contest. And with Johnny Manziel running the show, it's not likely that they'll take anything close to that much of a dip. A&M's defense wasn't great last year, and with that offense it doesn't have to be great this year. It won't be 63-21, but Auburn winning this game in College Station probably ain't happening.

UNLESS. What if Manziel is suspended? If that happens, all bets are off, and Auburn would actually have a pretty good chance. We'll even go ahead and pick a Tigers win if No. 2 isn't on the field.

Texas A&M 2012 Stats
YPG Pass YPG Rush YPG PPG YPG allow Pass YPG allow Rush YPG allow PPG allow
558.5 316.5 242.1 44.5 390.2 250.7 139.5 21.8

Oct. 26: vs. Florida Atlantic

Like the Western Carolina game, this one shouldn't be in doubt after halftime. If it is, we've got bigger problems.

Florida Atlantic 2012 Stats
YPG Pass YPG Rush YPG PPG YPG allow Pass YPG allow Rush YPG allow PPG allow
348.2 237.6 110.6 20.5 405.7 203.6 202.1 30.8

Projected wins: Ole Miss, Western Carolina, Florida Atlantic

Projected losses: Texas A&M

Just like in September, we'll pick another 3-1 month for the Tigers in October. A loss to Ole Miss wouldn't be a surprise at all, but catching the Rebs at home and in the middle of a brutal stretch will be the difference. What do you think?

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