The first preseason poll of the year was released today as the Amway Coaches Poll came out. Auburn does not have a spot in the poll, but I don’t think that’s exactly unexpected. The Tigers did fall into the “others receiving votes” category, though!
So, why am I write about the Coaches Poll? Well, let’s see how Auburn’s schedule looks through the eyes of the rankings.
Week 1, Clemson: #2
Week 2, Arkansas State: NR
Week 3, Texas A&M: NR (though close)
Week 4, LSU: #6
Week 5, ULM: NR
Week 6, Mississippi State: NR
Week 7, Off: Hey, don’t count out “Off.”
Week 8, Arkansas: NR
Week 9, Ole Miss: #12
Week 10, Vanderbilt: NR
Week 11, Georgia: #16
Week 12, Alabama A&M: NR
Week 13, Alabama: #1
OK, so, call me crazy, but if the teams played are actually well-represented by their current rankings, then this is not as bad of a schedule as it looked previously. At no point does Auburn face two ranked teams back-to-back. The teams in bold represent home games.
Let’s say the rankings stay the same and Auburn is the outlier. Maybe the Tigers shock people. This is a set-up that could allow them to do it. A highly ranked team, followed by two unranked teams, and then another match-up with a highly ranked team. That gives time off to recover and rebuild. Then there isn’t a ranked team on the schedule before traveling to Ole Miss in Week 9. I like that!
Although, the schedule does close with three road games against ranked teams. I don’t like that.
We all know, though, that these rankings are not indicative of the way the teams will actually play on the field this year. Texas A&M probably should have been ranked. Who knows what Mississippi State and Arkansas may be like. LSU still has Leonard Fournette, but the Tigers always manage to give them a good game in Jordan-Hare, and if the offense is working and the defense can get some stops, I like the history there.
So, what does the pre-season poll really tell us about Auburn’s schedule? Not much. It’s still going to be tough. It’s going to be even tougher in the early going as the Tigers try to figure out who is going to be the feature back and get used to whichever players wins the starting QB roll.
There’s a chance, though. There’s a chance for the Tigers to do something with this.