On Tuesday, EA Sports released its team ratings for all 126 FBS teams, and Auburn came out looking pretty good. SB Nation college football savant Jason Kirk compared those ratings to Football Outsiders' F/+ projections. Kirk adjusted FO's scale to match EA's, and as expected, the Tigers slid down the board.
What to take away from this? Well, the top of the SEC -- Alabama excluded -- may be better than EA Sports is anticipating. Four of the five best teams have better F/+ ratings than EA ratings, and Alabama's only sees a drop because the Crimson Tide received the highest rating possible from EA.
But once you get past the top of the conference, EA Sports is probably overrating the SEC, and Auburn is no exception. The Tigers' -9 differential is tied for second-widest gap among the 14 teams, and the F/+ rating of 80 feels a little more authentic. Coming off a 3-9 season, it's hard to imagine the Tigers taking such a big step in the right direction, especially when you consider EA rated Ellis Johnson's defense as a 90, tied for third-best in the conference.
So yeah, the real football experts aren't as high on the Tigers compared to the video game makers. Unfortunately, it's best to allow your perception of the 2013 team to be influenced by Football Outsiders and not EA Sports.