Paul Finebaum has low expectations for the start of the Bryan Harsin era at Auburn
How good will Auburn be this season in Bryan Harsin’s debut?
The way Paul Finebaum jokingly put it during his most recent appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM show The Roundtable, if Harsin wasn’t a first-year Auburn coach, the backroom dealings on The Plains would likely be taking place by the end of the fall.
Here is what the ESPN and SEC Network host had to say when asked about his expectations for Auburn’s football team this season.
“It’s pretty low. And that’s not a knock on (Harsin), I think it’s more of a view from above of what he has on that team,” Finebaum said on the show. “And most important, the schedule. I think if the schedule was a little bit more palatable I might go as high as eight wins but that Penn State game on the road is pretty nasty.”
Auburn is set to travel to Penn State during the third weekend of the season, and also has road trips scheduled to LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M and South Carolina with home games against Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Alabama.
Finebaum also hit on the fact that Auburn’s offense looks to be a work-in-progress after one bad season of being mismanaged by Chad Morris and years of lackluster showings under Gus Malzahn.
“And unless, you know, he can develop this team offensively a lot faster than I think he can, I think we’re talking seven (wins), maybe eight,” Finebaum continued. “And in normal years, that would be cause for alarm at Auburn and the man in the yellow with the yellow outfit would be already having backroom meetings, but I don’t think seven wins would be terrible for a start. I think he’s going to have a slow start.
“And by the way, I wouldn’t recommend a fast start, Terry Bowden went undefeated and Gus Malzahn almost won the national championship, but neither ended very well.”
Based on these comments, it’s clear Finebaum expects a transition year on The Plains.