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Staff Picks: #10 Auburn vs Tulane

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It’s an old-school SEC matchup!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 AdvoCare Classic - Oregon v Auburn Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In case you didn’t know, Auburn and Tulane kick off tomorrow at Jordan-Hare Stadium. In case you didn’t know it, Auburn and Tulane also used to be members of the same conference.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who remember the last time these two teams met — it was 2006, and Auburn won 38-13 — but are there any people around who remember the time before that?

It was 1955, and it would be the final time that Auburn would see the Green Wave for more than 50 years. Tulane was a member of the SEC from 1932-1966, but the Tigers and Wave met every year from 1921-1955. Even worse, Tulane still owns a 17-14-6 record over Auburn, and who knows when we’ll be able to tie it up or take the lead. Atrocious!

Still, we should be able to get one game closer tomorrow. See how we think it’ll end up below!

Auburn (-19.5) vs Tulane (O/U 49.5) - Jordan-Hare Stadium - 6:30 pm CST

The Green Wave visit Jordan-Hare Stadium led by LSU transfer QB Justin McMillan looking to improve upon an impressive showing against a horrible FIU team. Winners of the Cure Bowl a year ago, Tulane has improved in each of the 3 years since Willie Fritz took over. Make no mistake, Auburn can’t sleep walk through this game. Tulane’s offense is getting a lot of attention after putting up 42 points a week ago, but it’s their defense that has me concerned. I went back and watch some highlights of the FIU game, and it looks as though FIU was simply overmatched. So why am I concerned?

Emotional letdown game after the heroics of last week

A true freshman quarterback who is still going to do true freshman things

Special teams coverage

An offensive line that took a while to get going on the ground against an underrated defense

That being said, I’m not worried about Tulane’s offense. I think they want no part of what Kevin Steele puts on the field and I think our defensive line will feast on Saturday.

Keys to winning this game the right way:

Establish the run early and impose your will on Tulane’s defense. Let them know early it’s not their night.

Try to utilize more from the H-Back position in the passing game, giving Nix the underneath to avoid freshman forced throws down field

NO. ONE. GET. HURT. ON. EITHER. SIDE. OF. THE. LINE. (We really need to stay healthy for A&M in 2 weeks)

Give DJ Williams enough reps to prove he can help us play winning football later this month

See if you can get away with little blitzing so that our second level on defense can grow in coverage

Find another outside receiver to step up so Seth Williams can find more 1 on 1 matchups (would love to see more of Matthew Hill or Shedrick Jackson)

This game, like Oregon, is about us. We dictate victory and how we win it. Early mistakes let teams like this linger. Crush them early. Run the football. Protect the football. Then rest your legs late. Auburn 34 Tulane 13

-Josh Black

Tulane is certainly no pushover as they have steadily improved under Willie Fritz. In their opener, they rushed for 350 yards in a 42-14 win over Florida International. The Green Wave also feature former LSU QB Justin McMillan under center who threw for 199 yards last Thursday night and 2 TDs. After a big win over Oregon, it’s reasonable to think the Tigers may not start off as good as we all would like and I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is close at halftime. But despite the big win last week, there was a lot of things to improve upon this week and Coach Malzahn, while happy with the win, certainly wasn’t satisfied with how a lot of things went this past Saturday. But we saw flashes of the potential Bo Nix has, as that was a legendary last drive he had against the Ducks. I would like to see the Nix-Williams combo more, especially considering how many deep shots Nix took in Arlington last Saturday. Boobee was a warrior Saturday night gaining over 100 yards on 24 carries and he really sparked the offense midway through the 3rd Quarter. I’d like to see Kam Martin, Malik Miller, Harold Joiner and the other RBs more involved this weekend. Above all else, Auburn needs to try and stay healthy as several players got a bit banged up last week but hopefully will be good to go Saturday. I think it’s a 1 score game at halftime but Auburn pulls away in the 2nd half. Auburn 34 Tulane 10

-Will McLaughlin

I know there’s some concern about a letdown game here, but I just don’t see it. Sure, Tulane looked awesome running the ball down FIU’s throats last week, but FIU’s defense ranked 111th against the rush last year. The solid play of the Auburn’s defensive tackles against Oregon makes me feel pretty good about that matchup. The only way this doesn’t go well is if Bo NIx and the offense try and force things early and it ends up in turnovers. The Tulane defense was average last year, finishing 65th in the country last season, but they had similar issues to Auburn - they were super efficient, but got killed by the big plays. If Bo connects on a few big passes, this one is a rout. I think he and Seth Williams carry the game winning touchdown chemistry into a big game against the Green Wave. 42-13 White-Outs.

-Ryan Sterritt

I’m more nervous about this game than I should be. We are 19.5 point favorites for a reason. The casinos in the desert didn’t build themselves, they were built by dummies who thought they could outsmart the oddsmakers. I am not one of those dummies. Auburn is going to pound the rock early, put Nix in good situations, and then go deep on play action. I think auburn burns the wave a few times on deep throws in the first half and then is able to get some backups in the game by the fourth quarter. It comes down to not beating ourselves in this game. Yes, Bo Nix can play like a true Freshman at times, but he also has the steely-eyed reserve of a kid who was born for the moment. I don’t remember an Auburn freshman who played like he NEEDED the ball in his hands like this kid does. He’s a lot like Freshman Jared Harper. He is going to do things that are going to make you crazy, but he will also remind you that he has more talent than anything you’ve had at his position in a while. That said, if Auburn turns the ball over in the first half a few times, Jordan-Hare might get restless. I don’t think the Tigers will do that. I’m looking forward to a big win and maybe white uniforms at home. Auburn 41, Tulane 21.

-Son of Crow

How does a young Auburn team handle success? The spotlight? The cameras? Luckily, Tulane comes to town tomorrow. You’d be a fool to sleep on Tulane completely. Willie Fritz is a wizard. They’re a physical team that has all the ingredients of a giant-killer if their opponent sleep-walks through their preparation.

However, there is too much on the line for Auburn to sleep-walk through their Tulane prep. Auburn made a lot of mistakes Saturday. We, the fans, may forget/forgive most of them, but the team has a lot to work on.

This won’t be your standard San Jose State early season blowout. Auburn won’t win this by 45 points. Tulane is too good…defensively. I believe Auburn’s defense is head and shoulders superior to Tulane’s offense, and it will be obvious from the opening kickoff. Auburn 42, Tulane 13

-Josh Dub

I don’t have a great feeling about this one. Tulane can move the ball well enough to make us sweat a bit. Their defensive line appears to be AAC-level nasty. I still think Auburn pulls away, but idk if we can cover the number. I do think we slide into the over though. Auburn 34, Tulane 17

-James Jones

Tulane is a good football team. That’s not just me trying to be nice. As AU fans well know, the top teams in the AAC are solid programs very capable of handing out an L if you aren’t ready. The Green Wave have a former LSU signee at QB, a former OKST WR who had 1,800+ yds for the Cowboys and a VERY good front 7. After the emotional win of Saturday night, an offensive line that has been inconsistent at times and a true freshman QB, it would not at all surprise me if we are shifting uncomfortably in our seats following the first quarter of the first half.

But I expect Auburn’s depth and talent to win out. An explosive 3rd quarter leads to Joey getting some series late in the 4th. AU wins 41-13

-AU Nerd

Auburn covers and the over. Well hopefully this game won’t have me chewing Tums like they are Mentos. On paper and to the lay person this should be an easy win for the Top 10 Tigers. However, as has been adequately covered by my colleagues above. I think this game will be closer than we all want at half (17-10 or 24-13 area) but an adjustment filled halftime and settling in a bit more leads to a comfortable final score. Auburn 44-16

-Drew Mac

I think this one ends up being a lot like Arkansas State in 2010. Our new QB gets to stretch his legs against a solid, but not too challenging opponent and shines while doing so. Auburn 43-13

-AU Chief

There’s no reason for me to believe that our offense isn’t going to get much better after the win over Oregon, unless we’re just so flat after the emotional win that it takes a long time to get it together. I’d worry about that if this was a morning kickoff, but the crowd should be pretty good at night and the team will feed off of that.

Thankfully Tulane plays into our strength in that their offense isn’t going to score much, if at all. They put up some good numbers against FIU, but I think we’ll get some solid pressure on Justin McMillan, and the Green Wave won’t have as much success if they try to neutralize our defensive line as Oregon did.

With the development of Bo Nix, we should be able to hit some big plays, which eluded us for the most part against the Ducks. Tulane allowed 11 plays of 10+ yards to FIU, and if we have Will Hastings and Anthony Schwartz playing more minutes, then our propensity to hit the deep ball goes up.

In the end, we’ll likely be frustrated for a bit with a close game and a possible slow start, but we’ll exert our dominance with talent and depth and pull away late. If Auburn comes out and runs out to a 21-0 first quarter lead, though... watch out, because this team is way more mature than I thought they’d be. Auburn 34, Tulane 6.

-Jack Condon