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Auburn 16th in Opening Coaches’ Poll

Six opponents ranked in top thirteen... yeesh.

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NCAA Football: SEC Media Day Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The first set of rankings were released yesterday afternoon thanks to Amway and the USA Today collection of collegiate coaches (or Sports Information Directors who actually fill out their ballots).

You can view the full poll here, but the gist of it is this: Auburn’s schedule is hard. The Tigers have six opponents ranked ahead of them, all in the top thirteen spots.

Alabama is #2, Georgia is #3, LSU is #6, Florida is #8, Texas A&M is #11, and Oregon is #13. Auburn will begin the season with the Ducks in Arlington for Labor Day Weekend’s biggest game, and then head to College Station three weeks later. They’ll also have road games in October in Gainesville and Baton Rouge before the home rivalries against Georgia and Alabama in November.

Thankfully the tough games on the schedule are as spaced out as can be, with “warmups” between each one. Unfortunately, those warmups are games against teams that are fully capable of sneaking up on you. Such is life in the SEC.

Auburn’s the lowest-ranked SEC team in the Top 25, but there are SEC squads receiving votes. If you extended the rankings, Mississippi State would be 28th (111 votes) and Kentucky would be 31st (79 votes), South Carolina would be 42nd (15 votes), Tennessee 52nd (1 vote), and Ole Miss 53rd (1 vote).

To be frank, a ton of the logjam ahead of the Tigers will shake itself out. Alabama plays two of the other SEC teams ranked ahead of Auburn, while Georgia plays two SEC teams plus Notre Dame, LSU plays three SEC teams plus Texas, Florida plays two SEC teams ahead of Auburn, and Texas A&M plays three SEC teams plus Clemson.

We’ll see if Alabama once again sits as the class of the SEC, and they do have the easiest schedule and no real non-conference challenges, or if someone else can rise up despite a tougher road. Texas A&M plays the top three teams in the country, while LSU also has to navigate an SEC West slate. Florida endured an offseason of turmoil despite a solid finish in 2018, and Georgia lost a ton of talent from last year’s SEC East Champion squad.

For that looming week one game against Oregon, Auburn’s a touchdown favorite, but we’ll have to see if the Tigers’ quarterback situation gets settled immediately in Arlington, and we’ll have to see which line gets the upper hand in the game — Auburn’s defense or the Duck offense. Get through Oregon and whoever does win the starting quarterback job will have two weeks to get ready for a second trip to the Lonestar State to take on Jimbo and Texas A&M. Get through September unscathed and all bets are off for what Auburn can be capable of in 2019. War Eagle!