Paul Finebaum, Matt Barrie discuss overlooked SEC West team with championship potential
Auburn is finally getting the respect its fan base has felt is due. Beating a highly-ranked SEC opponent will do that.
“The one story that no one has talked about and you better start paying attention to them is Auburn,” ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum said on Sunday on the ESPN College Football Podcast. He discussed the Tigers with ESPN’s Matt Barrie.
“Could you imagine if Auburn keeps winning, Alabama does its job, the Iron Bowl, unthinkable to anyone at the beginning of the season, comes down to a spot in the SEC Championship to play Georgia,” Barrie said.
The Tigers beat Ole Miss, which was ranked 10th, on Saturday. The 31-20 victory should get Auburn more respect and nationwide coverage. The Tigers, under first-year Auburn coach Bryan Harsin, have flown under the radar for most of the season. However, with the Tigers win over the Rebels, Auburn now controls its own destiny. If they can win out, which would mean beating Alabama, they would play Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.
“What’s interesting about Auburn, fire Gus Malzahn. They lose a bunch of players, nobody believes in Bo Nix the quarterback. They’re projected to be 7-5…Simple as that,” Finebaum said. “They’ve just continued to win big games. They’re at (Texas) A&M this week, suddenly a team that has been brought back from the dead after the win over Alabama and this is a really big game, because if Auburn wins this game, they have a really interesting path after that.
“After that, Auburn will play Mississippi State at home (and) South Carolina on the road. Those are very winnable games and of course before the Iron Bowl (against Alabama), which suddenly has meaning. And I will remind the audience who doesn’t live in Iron Bowl lore like yours truly. Auburn has won ’13, ’17 and ’19, 3 of the last 4.”
Auburn is now ranked 12th in the country after the win over Ole Miss, which dropped to No. 15 in the country.