The Auburn Tigers are the defending college football BCS champions and are sitting in top of the football world, but it’s a new year and the Tigers are destined to fail. The Tigers lost their best player and several key components to the championship team so some decline is expected, but the Tigers will be one of the worst teams in the SEC.
Cam Newton is gone. He headed off to the Carolina Panthers as the No. 1 draft pick in the NFL. While one player does not make a team, Newton most certainly was the heartbeat of the Auburn Tigers. A case could be made that he is the main reason they won it all a year ago.
Newton singlehandedly amassed 4,327 yards which was good for 61 percent of the Tigers offense. He scored 69 percent of the touchdowns and was easily the MVP of this team. Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb, may make up for some of that missed yardage on the ground, but without a passing threat the defense can key on the backs and stack the box. That’s if the team can stay away from off-the-field-distractions.
McCalebb, a junior from Fort Meade, Fla., spent almost 24 hours in the Dekalb County Detention Center after being arrested for driving without a license and driving without a tag and revalidation decal. While this may not seem like a big deal there is reason to believe this team will struggle on and off the field.
On defense Auburn will not be able to make up for the loss of Nick Fairley. They are still a talented team and a player like Jake Holland will be tough on defense, but overall they will be growing and learning this year.
The glaring reason why the Tigers will finish last is the brutal schedule.
Auburn 2011 Schedule and Results:
Sept. 3, 2011 Utah State
This is a victory for Auburn and it will give Auburn fans reason to believe that they can duplicate the championship run from a year ago. This is a façade and a meaningless game. The true Tigers will show up in the very next game. (W)
Sept. 10, 2011 Miss. State
The Tigers will be at home so expectations will be high, but for the first time this season the Tigers will be exposed on both ends of the ball. (L)
Sept. 17, 2011 at Clemson
Going on the road won’t be a cure for the Tigers. Clemson is not the best team in college football, but they will be tough to beat at home. This game is a tossup and with that in mind, the edge goes to the home team. (L)
Sept. 24, 2011 Florida Atlantic
Finally the Tigers get another soft spot in the schedule and take their recent frustrations out on Florida Atlantic. They even the record at 2-2 with a lopsided victory. (W)
Oct. 1, 2011 at South Carolina
The Tigers will be looking for a statement win to prove that they can play with the big dogs in the SEC, but it won’t be at South Carolina. Spurrier has no qualms about running up the score and will in this game. (L)
Oct. 8, 2011 at Arkansas
Three road games in four weeks and now Auburn has been exposed as a rebuilding team and any chances of repeating are now gone by the wayside. Auburn will have no answer for Knile Davis. (L)
Oct. 15, 2011 Florida
Florida will be very similar to Auburn this year and since this game is at Auburn the Tigers will keep it close, but lose yet again. (L)
Oct. 22, 2011 at LSU
Les Miles and a team that is poised to win the National Championship at home? No chance. (L)
Oct. 29, 2011 Ole Miss
Auburn finally gets back into the win column and they notch their first SEC win of the year against the Rebels. (W)
Nov. 12, 2011 at Georgia
The Tigers will be playing better as a unit this deep into the season, but don’t expect a win in Georgia. The Tigers keep this one close but fall just short. (L)
Nov. 19, 2011 Samford
Finally the Tigers get an opponent they can flex against and they respond with a big win as they should. (W)
Nov. 26, 2011 Alabama
The Iron bowl is always a big game for the Tigers, but it gets even bigger when the Tigers realize it will be the only bowl game they see this season. Alabama has this game circled and they take it to the Tigers (L)
The Auburn predicted record for 2011 will be 4-8. While Auburn fans will debate some of the wins and losses, there is no hope for this team to return to the championship game and a BCS bowl is highly doubtful. The Tigers will be fighting to just become bowl eligible.