I’m on record as predicting Auburn to stumble to a 4-8 mark this year. My prediction has nothing to do with being an Alabama fan and all to do with a variety of factors lining up against Auburn this year.
I’m wondering how many of those teams lost both a Heisman Trophy winner and a Lombardi Award winner from one season to the next. Or went into the following season with the greenest team in D-1. Or played what Phil Steele says is the second toughest schedule in the conference (and ninth toughest in the country).
I don’t think Auburn’s going to implode this season. But given the above, it’s not a sign of disrespect to expect a significant drop off from a perfect season, either.
It makes sense to think there wouldn’t be that great of a drop off from a national championship year to the next, but there are some unusual factors in play this year for Auburn. They do lose two of 2010’s best players in Cam Newton and Nick Fairley; they are rebuilding almost their entire offensive line; they only return three starters on each side of the ball. And the schedule is ridiculous. To reach six wins they need to beat both Mississippi State and Ole Miss and go out of conference and beat Clemson. Of course they will be competitive this year, and will have a chance in every game, but if this bunch can win seven or more game this year, their coaching staff deserves twice what they are being paid now.