During his appearance at 2019 SEC Media Days, Gus Malzahn offered up his assessment of what Auburn can accomplish this season on the field.

Despite many believing Malzahn currently sits on the hottest seat in the entire Southeastern Conference, the Auburn coach believes his team is gearing up for what could be a special season. After being a part of a few teams that made championship runs, Malzahn seems similar characteristics with the team he is about to take into training camp.

“You know, this will be my tenth year at Auburn,” Malzahn said on Thursday at Media Days. “During that time, we played for two national championships. We won one. We played for three SEC championships. We won two. And when I look at the team that we have this year, there’s some of the same characteristics that those championship teams had, and that’s what’s exciting for me.

“Now you got to win close games. You got to make plays when the games are on. You got to stay healthy, but I can tell you today the, exciting thing for me, I tell my team, we got a chance. Not every team in the league can say that. Really exciting times as far as that goes and looking forward to coaching this team this year.”

That belief is one that’s shared in the Auburn locker room, which is the first step to reaching those incredibly high aspirations. Don’t forget, despite last season’s disappointing 8-5 season, the seniors on this Auburn team know all about competing for championships as they played roles during the team’s run to the 2017 SEC West championship.

For Derrick Brown, that’s the expectation that has been set inside the Auburn locker room this offseason.

“SEC championship, being able to compete for an SEC Championship, and being able to compete for a national championship,” Brown answered when asked about the expectations at Auburn. “For anyone to sit here and tell y’all that they don’t want to go to the national championship or they don’t want to go to the SEC Championship, they are lying. Every week, guys come in every single week, they aren’t hoping to play in this game or that game, everybody wants to be in the four-game Playoff. I think that’s the goal and that’s the goal for every college football team in the country.”

His fellow senior defensive lineman echoed a similar statement. When asked about his decision to return, Marlon Davidson said he came back to win and leave the program in the best possible shape moving forward.

“My reason is to win. Nobody want to be a loser. Being a loser hurts, man,” Davidson said from Hoover. “You feel bad, you feel like you let people down. This year we are going to make sure the Auburn family is happy. I promise you I’m going to leave it the best way I can.”

Taking Auburn back to the top of the SEC West standings and back to Atlanta for another opportunity at an SEC Championship title would do just that.