SDS Roundtable: Auburn's over/under is 8.5 wins. How many games will the Tigers win?
Each SDS roundtable discussion involves the SDS staff providing individual answers and comments to questions covering a wide range of sports and non-sports topics. In this discussion, we ask the question: How many games will Auburn win in 2020?
A bit of background …
The SEC were an amusement park, Auburn would be, by far, the roller coaster everybody wanted to ride.
Up, down, sideways, upside-down, back up, free-fall … all at 70 mph.
Buckle up, boys and double-check those safety straps.
In the past decade, Auburn went 14-0 … and 3-9. The Tigers beat Alabama 4 times (more than anybody else), won 1 national title and very nearly another. They also lost at least 3 SEC games 7 times.
It’s awesome entertainment … unless you’re an Auburn fan. At this point in the Gus Malzahn tenure, they’d probably prefer the steady view from the SkyTram, high above the drama.
What will 2020 hold? Our staff weighs in on how many games Auburn will win.
Jon Cooper, SDS co-founder
If there’s 1 team that may have the over/under too high at 8.5, it would be Auburn.
With many significant losses on defense, it’s only rational that that group takes a slight step back. Sure, there’s plenty of talent, but the disruptors are gone and controlling the line of scrimmage isn’t a safe bet.
I would go with 7 to 8 wins in 2020. I would count Alcorn State, UNC, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Kentucky, Arkansas and Umass as games the Tigers should win. That leaves tossups against Georgia, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, LSU and Alabama. Do you see 9 wins there?
Connor O’Gara, Senior national columnist
This is based on a couple of things. One is that even if Auburn had a full, normal offseason, I’m not buying any Chad Morris stock right now. I fear that it’ll be a bad fit with Bo Nix throwing the ball more behind an inexperienced offensive line. No longer does Auburn have that all-world defensive line to prevent elite teams from controlling the tempo. That’ll be huge.
Even though the Tigers beat a pair of Pac-12 contenders in consecutive years to kick off nonconference play, I’m not convinced they’ll fare as well against a talented UNC team with Mack Brown. And in SEC play, trips to Georgia and Alabama with home games vs. improved Texas A&M and defending national champion LSU (with that loaded defensive line) could prove to be too tall of a task to get back to 9 wins.
Michael Bratton, News editor
Auburn and the under is one of my favorite bets this offseason. After what I’ve seen from Chad Morris the previous 2 seasons, his offense will be around 20% installed by the Iron Bowl. Kevin Steele is one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation, but his unit is losing a ton this offseason and the group is likely to take a step back on the field as a result. I’m not even convinced Auburn makes a bowl game next season unless they have a great APR and earn that coveted 5-7 slot.
Take the under when it comes to Auburn.
Adam Spencer, Newsletter editor
At Ole Miss in Week 3 will be a sneaky tough game for a team with a lot of key positions to fill on defense. I don’t envy Kevin Steele having to figure out how to stop John Rhys Plumlee.
Elsewhere on the schedule, I see them losing at Georgia, at Alabama and splitting the Texas A&M/LSU home games in some fashion. Playing in the SEC West is always brutal. When you have to rebuild a defense on the fly, it’s even tougher.
With the over/under set at 8.5 wins, I’ll take the slight under and predict that the Tigers go 8-4 in the regular season.
Chris Wright, Executive editor
I wish I knew. I don’t. Just when I think I have figured out Auburn, its evil twin arrives.
Because every instinct I have says the Tigers will go 8-4, they’ll either finish 9-3, or 7-5 or worse.
I’m not sure they beat North Carolina. Sam Howell is better than Bo Nix, and Auburn’s defense won’t be able to get after Howell like last year’s defense harrassed Oregon’s Justin Herbert. Traveling to Georgia and Alabama won’t be fun. Auburn hasn’t won in Tuscaloosa since the Cam-back in 2010. It hasn’t won in Athens since 2005.
Ultimately, this comes down to whether I believe Bo Nix is good enough to beat LSU and Texas A&M. A little bit like Shea Patterson, I think Nix is a lot of fun to watch, but I’m not exactly sold that he’ll have a big enough year to overcome some of the defense’s issues. I think they just miss the cut at 8-4.