While college football (for the SEC at least) is more than six weeks away still, and we’re optimistic that we’ll see some gridiron matchups this season, some things are proceeding as usual. Others are not. 2020, y’all.
First of all, the Coaches — er, ignorant SIDs — Poll was released today, and Auburn is right in that meaty part of the curve.
College football's preseason Top 25: Clemson leads Ohio State in Amway Coaches Poll https://t.co/LX0MkrFbOW— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 6, 2020
Auburn falls at #11 in the preseason Coaches Poll, which may be actually less meaningless than it has been in the past should we get a huge breakout of COVID-19 and no games are played. Still, it’s something to talk about. There’s only been bleary recruiting news and the small trickle of detail coming from workouts at different schools, not to mention the positive test count of different players as they report to campus.
The Tigers lost some defensive studs, including two of the best defensive linemen in recent memory, as well as a first round draft pick at cornerback. Boobee Whitlow is gone, the offensive line is a rebuild, and we get to play one of the toughest schedules yet again. So why rank Auburn that high? Teams ahead of them are: Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Penn State, Florida, Oregon, and Notre Dame.
Still, Chad Morris’ ability to revamp an offense when he’s not leading the entire program probably has something to do with it, along with a deep stable of running backs, a more seasoned Bo Nix, and an offensive line that can’t be worse than last year’s version. On defense, I’ll just trust Kevin Steele until he proves me wrong in a bad way.
What’s the issue, the chances we get a full season or one that doesn’t have thirty asterisks next to it are so unlikely anyway that it doesn’t really matter. We’re almost just building toward 2021 at this point, when one assumes that the Coronavirus flood will be over and life will be back to normal. With that said, it brings us to the first of what will surely be more... holdouts.
Auburn got its first holdout announcement today, and it came in the form of Chandler Wooten. Wooten got some notoriety amongst Auburn Twitter back at the beginning of summer when he was outspoken online regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. Let’s not forget that he was right, eloquent, and saying the right thing while calling out folks with the wrong ideas.
Wooten’s going to be having a baby, and so his responsibility increases in the wake of current events. While it’s going to be unfortunate not to see him this season on the field, there’s a silver lining in that he will redshirt and save his eligibility for 2021. We’re already not getting a full season, so if you’re going to sit out, this is the time to do it. Get him back on the field when we get Georgia and Alabama back at home next year.
Will there be other players that opt out? Almost assuredly. There’s been talk of Athony Schwartz, who’s an Olympic hopeful. Now with the games coming next summer (presumably), playing football might not be the best idea. Other players who would be assuredly high draft picks might also choose to sit out, but we’ve heard no other waves yet from official channels.
And finally, we take time to pay homage to the best writer on the Auburn beat — Friend of the Program Justin Ferguson. While he’s no longer with The Athletic, he’ll also no longer be on your radio waves. Somebody hire Ferg. Stay golden.