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Staff Picks - Auburn vs Texas A&M

Is our strategy going to hold up?

Auburn v Mississippi Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

Last week, a few of the guys went with the reverse psychology strategy and picked Ole Miss to win. Honestly, it wasn’t a bad idea with the way we’d been playing, but in the end Auburn won and disaster was staved off for at least another week.

Now, Texas A&M comes into Jordan-Hare Stadium for a morning kickoff (third straight) and Auburn still might be playing for Gus Malzahn’s coaching life.

How’s tomorrow morning going to shape up? Let’s see...

AUBURN (-4.5) vs TEXAS A&M (O/U 48.5)

“I talked about this on the pod this week, but this game is going to come down to two things: big plays, and finishing drives. The A&M defense is not a bad unit, but they are one of the worst in the country about giving up big plays, particularly through the air. Stidham HAS to take advantage of that this weekend. A&M is also pretty terrible when it comes to both red zone offense AND red zone defense (offense is 115th and defense is 110th in S&P+ wrt finishing drives), which bodes well for Auburn. We all know the Auburn defense is elite when its backs are against the wall and the corners can’t get beat over the top, but the Auburn offense has been just as bad as A&M’s in the red zone. If Boobee is hurt, we may have trouble punching the ball in from short yardage. I’d say bring in Joey Gatewood in a heavy package this week, now that his redshirt can’t be burned. This is a big game for this team. It’s effectively the last home game for our seniors (sans Liberty), and they deserve every bit of your support. I’m changing my score prediction (again). Auburn 35-20.” - Ryan Sterritt

“This one is difficult. Gus is undefeated in games after a bye week that don’t have the word ‘Bowl’ somewhere in there. I know Auburn will beat Liberty so a bowl game is pretty much locked up, and I am more interested to see what the administration’s response is if their bluff is called. Jimbo gets a W at JH. Aggies 17, Auburn 15.” - Drew McCracken

“The key to Auburn’s offensive resurgence against Ole Miss hinged on a better and more determined running game… and perhaps me picking against them. Combine that with A&M’s stout run defense and you get: Texas A&M 23, Auburn 17.” - James Jones

“I don’t think this game has quite as much riding on it as some people seem to think. However, I do think in order to have any chance of anyone thinking this season wasn’t a disaster, Auburn has to win this game. As someone who finds it nearly impossible to pick against Auburn, I of course will be picking them to win, settle some people that haven’t gone completely over the edge down a bit, and perhaps help build even more confidence heading into Amen Corner. Tigers 28-16.“ - AU Chief

“Don’t stop me now cuz I’m pumping some sunshine— I have an irrational and inexplicable good feeling about this game. We have a QB who has had a bit of a rough season, and their secondary is notorious for making a QB look like a Heisman winner. I think Stidham is at least as apt at throwing as Nick Freaking Fitzgerald. I think Auburn throws for 4 touchdowns and runs for 1. TIGERS 35-21.” - Son of Crow

“Two weeks ago, I made a decision to pick against Auburn against Ole Miss and well, it worked. So that leads us to this week and something has to give. Gus has never lost coming off of a bye week. Since A&M joined the conference in 2012, the road team is 6-0 in this matchup. In addition, looking at all of the SEC games that have began at 11 AM this year, the road team is 6-1. I’m picking A&M and hoping lightning strikes twice with my reverse pick. A&M 21, Auburn 17.” - Will McLaughlin

“I wanna believe in this team. I really do. But I’m having a REAL hard time doing so. Yes, they are coming off a victory on the road. But the truth is Auburn’s offense had one good quarter against the worst defense in the SEC and one of the worst in the country. They went 3 & out twice against that D at one point. That’s just not very good. The Aggies aren’t world beaters or anything. That defense can be picked apart through the air and A&M’s offense is inconsistent at best. But Mississippi State and Tennessee weren’t world beaters either, yet they beat Auburn. I think Boobee will play Saturday but I don’t think he will finish the game due to his long list of ailments. I think Auburn is going to put this game in Jarrett’s hands to try and exploit a beatable pass defense. That scares the heck outta me. Two turnovers doom the Tigers and next week reaches insane levels of coaching change talk. Aggies 27, Tigers 21.” - AU Nerd

“It’s hard to ignore the Gus Malzahn ‘7-0 after bye weeks’ stat. Many times you can point to numbers like that and say they’re meaningless, but this one clearly means that Gus does work when he’s got time to step back and recharge. Coming off of the win against Ole Miss also gives Auburn some confidence in things that actually worked. The running game looked good, and I believe Boobee Whitlow will keep it going somewhat against a much better rush defense in the Aggies. He and Jack Driscoll are hopefully good to go, and that combo pays off in the running and passing game. Jarrett Stidham torched this team last season, and I think Auburn connects on a deep ball early to get the juices flowing. The Tigers stay one step ahead the whole game and end up beating A&M 27-21, with a late score pulling it back into a one-possession game.” - Jack Condon