Alright, Auburn goes for its first victory over Clemson since Cam Newton willed us to a win in 2010, and will attempt to break a three-game winning streak by the purple Tigers.
Before we get our staff picks started, we’ll get the word from Ryan Kantor of Shakin’ the Southland, who so kindly contributed his thoughts earlier this week on how Clemson’s looking in 2017. His final gift to us is his prediction for Saturday night’s affair.
RYAN KANTOR - SHAKIN’ THE SOUTHLAND
“This will be Clemson’s biggest test of the year. I'm buying the hype on Auburn. It appears they may avoid the anticipated drop in production from a defensive line losing Montravius Adam and Carl Lawson and be a force in slowing opponents rushing attack. If that is the case, they'll have a great chance to snag their first win at LSU since 1999 and win the Iron Bowl.
I was leaning towards picking Auburn before Saturday, but Kelly Bryant’s performance, albeit against Kent State, has shifted my opinion a bit (more on Bryant here). Auburn's defense may be good enough to force the Tigers to rely on the unproven Kelly Bryant to make some key conversions, but I think he can.
The Tigers have the skill position talent to help him in the passing game and he has the speed to pick up first downs himself if Kevin Steele employs a strategy similar to last year which relied heavily on man defense.
I think this one is a classic, but the unproven Kelly Bryant proves something and home field advantage is too much for Auburn to overcome in what will otherwise be a very nice campaign for the "other Tigers."
It’s a fair assessment, but you don’t just come onto College and Magnolia and pick Auburn to lose!
Now for the good guys’ picks.
Auburn to win? I guess? We don't know much about them and they don't know much about us. About the only thing I feel comfortable saying after last week is that our defensive line is nasty. If our receivers can get enough separation to give Stidham a chance (and, you know, can actually catch the ball), Auburn is going to be pretty tough to stop. After this week--win or lose--we'll have a better idea about our chances in 2017. Picking blind as Bill Tunbeaugh...
...I say Good Tigers 38, Bad Tigers 30.
I've been torn on this one all off season and I haven't really been able to separate the two teams at all. Both have unproven but talented QB's, although I think Stidham is the much better pure QB. Both teams have studs on the defensive line and really great overall defenses. Where I think Auburn does have the edge is the offensive line's ability to create some space against Clemson's defensive line. I look for this game to start slow, something like a 10-7 halftime score but both offenses make some adjustments in the locker room. Auburn is able to run the rock and control the ball down the stretch. A wild 4th quarter, Auburn wins 34-31.
Auburn was vanilla in week one. I doubt that is the case come Saturday in Clemp-son. Plus our big ball of hate will be back.
Remember how bad we were in week one last year, playing musical quarterback? Auburn still had a throw to the endzone to win that game. This year we bring one very good quarterback and one Sherman tank for a running back. That plus the fastest defense Clemson will see all year.
Buckle up purple tigers.
The Mistake by the Lake: 20
Aubie 34, 8-ball 28
I don't have a good read on this game. Auburn is due a win in this series. Clemson is on a bit of a roll though. Both teams have a strong defense and an offense that should be good, but has questions. Has all the makings of a low scoring defensive battle. Which is why it will probably won't be. There have been some fantastic finishes to games already this season, and this will be another one. Auburn. Close. Late. 38-35.
Like 2010, this comes down to a late FG. Like 2011, the defending national champs go down. WDE.
SON OF CROW
This is an hour and 45 minute layover in London Heathrow level stress. You have to change terminals? How many busses?! Why do I have to do another security? Why do you care more about liquids than any human should? Eventually you are full out sprinting past perfume counters to your gate. Your bag has been searched more times than "who was Tigers first" has been googled. You make it to your gate exhausted and the last person still to board. I hate that airport. I am probably not going to love this game until it's over.
Carlson for heisman.
Honestly don't know how this game shakes out. I feel confident in saying that defense will dominate the night as both teams boast a pretty salty front 7 and have question marks on offense. That means that explosive plays will play a key role and whichever team can generate more of them will probably end up victorious. Would not be shocked if special teams plays a major role. Gonna call my shot and say a Stephen Robert's punt return TD proves the difference giving Auburn a 23-16 win over the defending champs.
This one comes down to who can sustain drives, I think. Both defenses are very athletic, and just one wrong play can wreck a drive. The team that can convert third downs will likely also be the team that stays ahead of schedule. The more standard downs you have, the more likely you are to win. I agree with AU Nerd: this one might come down to special teams play. I think LEGATRON pulls us through.
I'm getting this one in before the buzzer, in part because I forgot but also because I have no idea with this one. I could envision almost any possible score either way in this one. The Auburn defense contains Kelly Bryant and we win in a 38-14 blowout? Sure. Jarrett Stidham is still rusty and the OL has trouble blocking, so Clemson runs away with it? Why not. A defensive struggle both ways and it's a 21-17 slugfest? It could happen. Or what about what these two schools are known for recently, a high octane shootout to the tune of 48-45? My point is, would any of those results completely shock you? Not me. So for my prediction... Um, I don't know, how about 44-41 Auburn in OT, where we stop Clemson and win on a Daniel Carlson field goal.
I’m already committed and on record with my pick for Shakin’ the Southland’s preview article on us, and I’ll re-rack it right here. I think both sides have plenty of offensive yards, and reach the red zone plenty, but I don’t think they get into the end zone all the much. Clemson busts a big play or two, but Auburn gets the sustained drives that eventually wear out Brent Venables’ defense.
Since neither side notches more than a couple touchdowns, my pick is pretty close to James’ when I say that Clemson gets two touchdowns, three field goals. Auburn gets two touchdowns and four field goals. 26-23. Game: Sweater vests.