Looks like we made it, everyone. We conquered the long, dark, arid desert of summer and stumbled upon the oasis of college football. It’s okay to get excited now, nobody’s going to be taking this away from us!
The 2018 season begins in just a few hours at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta!
Auburn comes off of two straight defeats in this same building, and they’ll be looking to right the wrongs inflicted in injury-plagued losses to Georgia and our true 2017 national champion UCF. Things happen, and we’ve put those losses behind us. It sure was a sour way to end what was a fantastic season. The Tigers came within a hair of becoming the first two-loss team to make the Playoff (which they would’ve done with a win in the SEC Championship). Instead, the Peach Bowl was a dud (I was there, and the Knights fans in attendance were way more excited to be there), and we went into the offseason with a $49 million coach wondering if he’d be able to bring us the success we saw in November.
However, this offseason we saw and heard many of the right things. Gus was scrimmaging 1s-on-1s in practice. We were tossing in intermediate routes and slant (!!!) routes into the passing game. Chip Lindsey had an extra year to work with Jarrett Stidham. Despite the loss of two contributors at receiver, the incoming freshmen dazzled in camp. The defense was once again the impenetrable force with an experience-laden front seven.
These are all the best things to hear, and if they’re all true, then we should be in for a fun season. Unfortunately, we won’t have any breathing room in terms of finding these things out for real.
Stop me if this is familiar — but we’ve got a bear of an opponent to open the season.
#6 Washington treks all the way across the country to find themselves opposite 9th-ranked Auburn. Most desert-based companies have the Tigers as a slim slim slim favorite in this game, with the over-under set around 48 points. Seems like they’re all expecting what I think most of us are: that both teams have moments of success on both sides of the ball.
Jarrett Stidham and Jake Browning are experienced quarterbacks who’ve shown the capability to play at a high level, but they’re both going to be facing tough, seasoned defenses. Could the key play be a big sack or a turnover? Defensive points maybe?
Or will that honor go to special teams, where Auburn was both fantastic and terrible in different areas in 2017. The Tigers had one of the best kickers in recent memory, but the kick coverage was abysmal. On the other hand, Washington was bad all around on special teams.
Let’s just see what happens.
RELEVANT LINKAGE —
War Eagle, everyone! College football’s back, and we’ll enjoy it win or lose.