Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST, Sept. 2
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama
TV/Streaming: SEC Network
Records: Georgia Southern (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt), No. 12 Auburn (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Weather: 63 degrees at kickoff, 4 mph winds
Betting Line: Auburn -34.5, Over/Under of 59.5
With the addition of Baylor transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham and a No. 12 ranking in the Associated Press college football poll, things seem to be improving under Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn.
Last season was a shaky one for Auburn, with a record of 8-5, a 5-3 conference record, and a third place finish in the SEC West standings behind rival Alabama and LSU.
This season, the Tigers will attempt to reach the success it hasn’t seen since it fell in the 2014 National Championship game to Florida State and Jameis Winston.
Even with the departures of Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams from the defense, Auburn’s unit is still one that wreaks havoc in a stacked division and conference.
With Stidham now at the quarterback slot for Auburn, the team should be able to employ a more balanced mix of run and pass, something that has been lacking in recent years under quarterbacks who were more athletic than pure passers.
The Baylor transfer was very successful in his 2015 stint with the Bears, tossing 12 touchdowns to just two interceptions and rushing for a pair of scores. After the mass exodus at Baylor, the sophomore sat out ‘16 as a part of the NCAA transfer rules, and will be looking to lead Auburn back to prominence in an extremely tough SEC West.
Georgia Southern outlook
As mentioned in my season preview, Georgia Southern should undergo a growing year, but that does not mean expectations for this season should go by the wayside.
With new offensive coordinator Bryan Cook along with newly crowned quarterback Shai Werts at the helm, the Eagles will attempt to turn the clock back to a more pleasant time (2015) in Tyson Summers’ second year as head coach.
While last season may have been a disaster in every facet of college football that exists, I believe that the Eagles can show off a much improved offensive scheme to go along with a defense that was porous at best last year.
Things got testy especially in the back half of the season, but I think all Eagle fans want is improvement. If we feel as if the team is making strides on both sides of the ball and the talent is just not seasoned enough yet, I think we can live with it.
Every program undergoes these talent cycles where it must regroup and move on with a new leader under center, but as long as this one isn’t embarrassingly awful, I think we can all live with a loss against one of the 12 best teams in the country at the FBS level.
With that said, we’d all love to come out of Jordan-Hare with a 1-0 record and a win over a ranked opponent though.