How many times have we felt this way in the last decade? Remember starting off ranked pretty highly in 2008 before the offense revealed its inadequacy? The defense picked things up and was one of the best units in the country before spending roughly two-thirds of each game on the field took its toll. That’s a year that’ll be one of the great “What if” seasons in Auburn history. If the Tigers still had Al Borges as offensive coordinator instead of Tony Franklin, it’s likely that Auburn finds a way to flip close losses to LSU, Vandy, Arkansas, and Georgia. They may even beat Ole Miss and West Virginia. Either way, Tuberville doesn’t get fired and 2010 never happens. It’s a frightening and interesting alternate timeline to ponder.
The same can be said for 2015 and 2016. Heck, maybe even last year as well. In 2015, Auburn started the year ranked sixth and Jeremy Johnson fizzled at quarterback. The entire team fell apart and muddled through to a Birmingham Bowl appearance. In 2016, Gus would likely not be the coach if Les Miles had better clock management. Even last season we were ready to part ways after the collapse in Baton Rouge before the November domination occurred.
It seems as if this weekend is big. There’s talk that 5-7 may be too heavy a crime for even the buyout price tag to prevent Gus’ dismissal. A five-win season means that the only victory we get the rest of the way is against Liberty. It also means that there’s a loss Saturday in Oxford. It’s not out of the realm of possibility either. The Rebels can sling it. They’ve got better receivers than what Tennessee had (although one is hurt). It’s the kind of offense that we don’t want to see right now.
However, they’re one of the poorest defenses in the country. It could be the game that gets our offensive ills cured somewhat. Things won’t be fixed completely, but the performance will look better Saturday. For some, Gus’ buyout is too large, and there’s a guarantee that he’ll be in Auburn next season no matter what. For others, the pressure to keep up is too great, and the roller coaster that is Auburn football is too vomit-inducing. Gus will be gone if he only captures five wins.
Either way, the journey down either of those paths begins in Oxford. Does Auburn win, and stave off elimination for a little while longer, or does a loss start to tighten the screws on the head coach? We’ll see.
Auburn @ Ole MIss - 10/20/18 - Oxford, MS - Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Kickoff Time: 11:00 am CST/12:00 pm EST
Video Stream: Watch ESPN - you’ll need a login thanks to a generous friend, but this is where you can find it.
Radio: Auburn Sports Network — you can find the internet stream here, or you can dial up the TuneIn app on your phone to the Auburn Sports Network for free audio of the broadcast.
Line: Auburn is currently a 4-point favorite (according to Oddsshark), with the game carrying an Over/Under of 62 points, however the predicted outcome is a 35-29 win in favor of the Rebels. Okay.