In case the offseason wasn’t quite exciting enough for you, there’s good news.
Real, live college football has been played, and the biggest game of the weekend happens to match up our boys as they head to the wild west for a rematch nearly a decade in the making.
Do you know what will happen? Do you want to know? Do you want to BARN HARD?
AUBURN (-3.5) vs OREGON (O/U 55.5) - 6:30 PM CST - AT&T STADIUM - ARLINGTON, TX
Auburn and Oregon will both have their fair share of nerves on the big stage Saturday night. The defense will be the stars, though. Derrick Brown will earn SEC POTW honors with 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble. Noah Igbinoghene will seal the win with an interception. Barn wins, and take the Under. Auburn 25, Oregon 17. - Josh Dub
Auburn should have the talent edge and the crowd edge. I think this one is low scoring like the previous meeting. Both offenses won’t be in sync yet, and they’ll be playing defenses with a ton of talent. I think Auburn takes the lead early and keeps the Ducks at arm’s length most of the game. The Tigers move with ball well, but have to settle for too many field goals to really stretch the lead. Oregon makes it close late, but Auburn wins and covers. Bang the under. Auburn 19, Oregon 14. - James Jones
This could be the defining game of the Gus Malzahn tenure (that’s how we do this ’HIS LEGACY IS ___’ take sportswriting these days). Just kidding. This is one game. It’s a “big game” in that it is the first game of the year and can set the tone for the season. But it could also show us nothing we don’t already know. Auburn would have to win by 80 points for some Auburn fans to be happy, and even then they’d just say Oregon was overrated. I am going to have fun with friends and family, watch this game, and know I am not a better person if Auburn wins nor am I a worse person if Auburn loses. I think Auburn is going to beat Oregon. I have a feeling, you guys. I think Gus is gonna go full Red-Eye C3P0 and nuke some teams this season. Gimme Auburn and the points. AU 38 O 17 - Son of Crow
There are few outcomes that should surprise me in this game. Auburn could win or lose a close one, or they could win or lose by 10+ points. When you have a true freshman starting at Quarterback, it’s impossible to truly know how they will respond once the lights come on.
So let’s talk about what we do know. The strength on strength matchup of this game is Auburn’s defensive line versus Oregon’s offensive line. While athletic and sizable, I can’t help but believe this is an Auburn advantage based on the athleticism we possess up front. Oregon is going to have to prove me wrong because after watching the “Nightmare of seeing 5 and 3…not being able to sleep on the plane” against Washington, the jury is, and should be out, on if a Pac-12 team can handle of defensive front from the Deep South.
I expect this to be a lower scoring game for that reason. It’s going to be a challenge for Oregon to consistently move the football, with a receiving group that is unproven. I expect Oregon to get yardage on the ground, but over 4 quarters consistently? I wouldn’t bet on it. Meanwhile, I expect Auburn’s offense to stall in the red zone with similar issues to last season, struggling to firmly establish themselves on the ground, and seeing a lot of double coverage on Seth Williams and a continuing trend from fall camp, which was drops from our other receivers. The difference in this Auburn offense versus last year is I think they will get better over the course of September, but you won’t see it here.
Keys to Victory:
- Seal the edge on the outside in the ground game a spring some of that speed into some open gaps
- Make Herbert beat you with his arm
- NO FUMBLES FROM OUR BACKS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
- Put Carlson in position to kick makable balls.
- Punt and trust your defense, making Oregon work for it.
- Use motion to open up lanes on the inside to hide any potential weaknesses along the inside of the offensive line.
- Live with Bo Nix’s mistakes because the successes are worth it.
Auburn gets just enough on the ground, stalls too often in the red zone, but the kicking game will be the difference. Auburn 26 Oregon 21 - Josh Black
I‘ll be the first to admit that I haven’t studied the matchup as our other writers but I feel better about this game than I did last year’s opener against Washington for some reason. Offensively, I think you’ll end up seeing both QBs play (Joey Gatewood WILL win Auburn a game or two this year). The matchup I’m most excited for is Auburn’s defense vs. Justin Herbert. I think this defense can keep Auburn in every game this year and it will have to with a true freshmen at QB. I’ll put Derrick Brown down for 2 sacks, Javaris Davis gets an INT, Owen Pappoe has a big first game at LB and Auburn’s offense does enough to get Auburn off to a good start. Auburn 24 Oregon 17 - Will McLaughlin
Auburn has the single best unit in the matchup with the defensive line, though the Oregon OL might be the second best unit. I think this game comes down to if Oregon is able to run the ball in the redzone, because I think they’ll have *some* success throwing to get to the red zone. If the Auburn defense stands tall like they did last year, I think this is an easy Auburn win regardless of the Auburn offense’s success. I have faith in the front 7’s ability to stop the run. Auburn 34-23. Auburn covers, and we hit the over by 1 point. - Ryan Sterritt
Auburn Covers. Under. 23-13. When this game was first announced, I picked Oregon, because, well, I’m an older Auburn fan and that’s what we do. However, the more I looked at both teams and where they stand going in, Auburn should take this game. The only time Oregon faced a defense as talented as Auburn’s last season they scored 7 points. Also, Kevin Sumlin and Arizona took them to the shed last season. I know I know, that’s last year but it’s the only thing we have to work with. Plus, Oregon has lost most of their top receivers for this one and that is a huge plus for Auburn. I expect some growing pains from Auburn’s offense but they do just enough to get it done and then get 2 weeks of practice before the next true big game. - Drew Mac
The experts are way off on this. Auburn’s defense should have no problem with the ducks, and I am expecting the offense to be a little more in sync than one might expect. Tigers 35 - 10 - AU Chief
I think points will be hard to come by tomorrow. Yes, Oregon has an elite QB and a very experienced OL but I don’t see the offensive weapons to consistently make plays against Auburn’s defense. On the flip side, I need to see this Auburn offensive line in action before I can get too excited about this offense even if I believe in Bo. My guess is this goes in a similar direction as Louisville in 2015 (without the picks hopefully) & Washington last year. Auburn jumps out early and then just kinda hangs on down the stretch. The sneaky part of this game is Oregon was pretty terrible on special teams last year. With a possible defensive struggle, field position and the ability to convert drives into points will be hugely important. Auburn has a massive edge there.
I say Tigers win 23-14 thanks to a monster performance by Seth Williams and a strong day from the defensive line. Anders Carlson comes through big for the Tigers too. - AU Nerd
My head says that depth in certain spots may be an issue, and that a freshman quarterback doesn’t have enough in him to put a team on his shoulders and lead the offense the way that a seasoned vet would. My heart says that this is going to be the kind of year we remember for a while. It starts in Arlington, and I think the unsung offense is going to be a refreshing surprise.
Bo Nix won’t be perfect, but I think he hits a couple big plays and goes for close to 300 yards through the air. We get big performances from our returning receivers, including one lid-lifter from Will Hastings. Our offensive line will have a few kinks to work through, but I think they get stronger as the game goes on, and Auburn’s running game finishes better than it starts. We’ve also got Swaggy G Malzahn running the show now, and I think he’s started to get back to coaching the way he was always successful. He’s doing things for himself, his players, and his family, and that’s how he wins ballgames.
The defense does its job. We’re expecting big things, and I think after this game we’re talking about the play of guys like K.J. Britt and Owen Pappoe, and how they replaced their predecessors without missing much. In the end, the defense is going to get to Justin Herbert 5-6 times, he’ll get rattled, and the couple of big plays they hit won’t be enough to keep track of too much talent across the board for Auburn. Tigers win in convincing fashion, 31-13. - Jack Condon