Auburn is now one game away from the regular season halfway point, and yet we hope the 2014 Tigers have played only a third of their total games. Welcome to the playoff era.
Is Auburn going to the first College Football Playoff? Let’s talk about it.
Why We’re Not Going Back
I saw nothing in Auburn’s 41–7 victory over LSU that suggests we won’t return to the national championship game. Last week we talked about an apparent up-and-down factor in our season to that point. We were up just the right amount for LSU.
You can't get up for every game. You don't want to be up for La. Tech. We'll practice well this week and play better vs. LSU.— Auburn Josh (@auburnjosh) September 28, 2014
What can we say, that Auburn was down in the second half because we scored only ten points after scoring 31 in the first? The way Auburn beat LSU shows that this team has a good sense of self. They know who they are and what they’re trying to do. This week it will be easier to talk about why Auburn is going back to the national championship game.
Why We Are Going Back
After Auburn beat Kansas State, in large part due to the defense’s performance, I said I wouldn’t promote the defense as championship caliber until we held a couple SEC opponents to fewer than 14 points. LSU isn’t one of the SEC’s top offenses right now, but shutting anyone out on third-down conversion attempts is enough for me to buy into Auburn’s D.
Most of all, Auburn’s defense passed the eye test Saturday night, showing an intensity that reminds me of the good ol’ days.
Who We’ll Meet When We Get There
This question got shook up a little this week. Arizona is now the lone undefeated team in the Pac-12. Rich Rodriguez once turned down the opportunity to face Auburn every November. Could that decision ultimately lead him to a game against the Tigers in January? Probably not, but who knows!
The Bottom Line
Yes. Yes. Auburn is going back to the national championship game. Getting there won't be easy, but this team has the it factor. They took down the rails from last year's roller coaster and built a track fit for a steam engine chugging straight to Arlington.
See you at Toomer's. See you in Texas.
Josh Dowdy is a College & Mag contributor. He also writes about Auburn sports and the Auburn Family at heartofauburn.com.