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2020 Schedule Release: Reaction

Auburn’s new normal slate is now public.

Todd Van Emst | AU Athletics

Listen up, if we get end up getting safely to kickoff on September 26th, we now know WHO Auburn will play, and in what order they’ll play the rest of the schedule after that.

Initial thoughts:

  • Great, Kentucky’s going to get Joey Gatewood’s waiver approved in enough time for him to become a fantastic weapon at quarterback. They’ll end up beating us and Bo Nix will go like 10-25 with a couple of picks while Gatewood shows vast improvement.
  • Georgia in Week 2, just like we all thought. There was a buzz that the SEC would want to get some of the big rivalries out of the way early, and that they’d also want to hit as many of the cross-divisional games as possible early on as well. That way, your games down the stretch are more in line with deciding the divisions and prevent possible rematches.
  • Since we go to Athens in Week 2, there’s also a greater chance that we can get that game if positive COVID cases pop up and we’re forced to abandon the rest of the season. Thus, the schedule can return to normal in 2021 with the Georgia/Alabama home and away split like it used to be.
  • Georgia will also be breaking in an almost entirely new offense, so getting them early is the best possible scenario.
  • Auburn should be favored in games 3-5 against Arkansas (home), South Carolina (road), and Ole Miss (road). With both Gus and Chad Morris on staff now, if we’re starting to cook in Week 3, there’s not going to be any mercy laid upon the Hogs. Honestly, Lane Kiffin’s the biggest threat in that stretch, since the Rebels come right before LSU at home on Halloween.
  • UGH. LSU is Week 6, on Halloween, and it’s the middle of a pandemic.
  • We’ll see how LSU is this year, but that game has the potential to be super screwy with all of their voodoo and the magic of Halloween AND Jordan-Hare AAAAAND the weirdness of the rivalry in general all converging at once.
  • We get a bye after that, so we’ll have four games to finish up after a break. To be honest, it’s a very even schedule throughout. Even after the bye, Auburn should have a warmup with Mississippi State and the first look at the Mike Leach era before it’s back home for Tennessee.
  • Jeremy Pruitt had Auburn’s number two years ago, but I can only hope that the Chad Morris effect can provide some wrinkles that he won’t be able to prepare for. The Vols get Texas A&M at home before heading on the road, so they won’t be able to have a cakewalk week ahead of us.
  • Amen Corner now consists of Tennessee and Alabama bookending Thanksgiving. We get the Tide on the same weekend we have in recent memory, but it’s no longer the last game of the season. Instead, we’ll have Texas A&M to close out the year on the first Saturday in December.
  • If we have to go on the road to Alabama, and the season’s still intact at that point in November, then this is the season to do it. if we get beaten, who cares? The whole year’s going to be one giant asterisk anyway, and if they waste their home game in the rotation only having 20,000 fans in the stands, then it’s a long term win. Plus, it’s a season where they’ve got Saban that they won’t get the full return of his presence.
  • Texas A&M after Alabama has the potential to be really weird. We’re going to be beaten up after the Iron Bowl, and if we’re good enough to beat Bama, then that means we’re probably playing A&M for a shot at Atlanta. It’s a little difficult to look at that game yet since I don’t know how things are even going to be looking a couple weeks into the season (if we even get there).
  • Overall, the schedule’s not bad. We only have one stretch of consecutive road games, and it’s South Carolina/Ole Miss. We get Georgia early, LSU after we’ve had a chance to figure some things out, and our hardest games are all spread out a month apart from each other.
  • As far as the other teams in the league go, Georgia’s going to find out really quickly who they are since they get us, Alabama, and Florida in the first six games. Florida’s the same way, with A&M and LSU back to back before Georgia in Week 6. LSU gets three easy games to work into the groove before they head to Gainesville, and Alabama’s got a relatively easy road before Georgia in Week 4.
  • Ole Miss and Missouri got the short end of the stick. The Rebels have Florida, Kentucky, and Alabama in the first three weeks, while Missouri hosts Bama before going on the road to Tennessee and LSU back to back.
  • The entire league gets a week off before the SEC Championship Game, almost like it used to be back about fifteen years ago. Remember when we’d beat Alabama and then you’d only have LSU/Arkansas, Egg Bowl, and Tennessee/Kentucky after Thanksgiving? This year everyone gets a break.

It’s a really weird idea to have to process, but when you look at it as a whole, having nothing but SEC games for ten weeks in a row is pretty awesome. There’s no Cupcake Saturday, there’s no weird midseason week where everyone has open dates and the other half have sleepwalk opponents. If we can get this entire season in, then it’s going to be wild, even with diminished capacity in the stands. We’re less than six weeks away from kickoff, so it’ll BE HERE ‘FORE YOU KNOW IT.