Will Auburn improve on its 7-6 mark from last season?
Most schools would accept a 7-6 season capped with a victory in a bowl game. But just like the SEC isn’t like most conferences, Auburn isn’t like most schools.
Three years removed from a loss in the BCS National Championship Game, the Tigers are going backwards. One of the most telling things about last season is that AU needed to beat Idaho — one of the worst teams in the FBS in 2015 — for its sixth win and bowl eligibility.
The Tigers probably could have qualified for a bowl with a 5-7 record, but there’s too much pride on The Plains to accept that kind of reward. Another eye-opening trend is that Auburn has gone from 12 wins to eight to seven over the last three years.
Another disturbing part about last season is the fact that the team won three games at home, and Auburn didn’t defeat an SEC opponent there. That’s one of the many things that need to change if the Tigers want to return to the prominence they reached in 2013.
So will Auburn improve upon its 7-6 record from a year ago? Let’s try to answer that question by predicting its wins and losses on a game-by-game basis in 2016.
The good news for Auburn is that this game is at home. The bad news is that Clemson returns 12 starters — including Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson and running back Wayne Gallman — from last season’s team that lost to Alabama by five points in the national championship game.
Prediction: Clemson 27, Auburn 17
This game won’t be easy, but the Tigers will get to .500 by taking care of business at home.
Prediction: Auburn 35, Arkansas State 21
In its third straight game at Jordan-Hare, Auburn improves to 2-1.
Prediction: Auburn 28, Texas A&M 20
AU falls back to .500 as Leonard Fournette shines against Auburn and the Jovon Robinson-less Tigers.
Prediction: LSU 31, Auburn 17
The Tigers rebound in their fifth straight home game.
Prediction: Auburn 45, Louisiana-Monroe 7
In AU’s first road game of the season, a late field goal sends the Tigers to 3-3.
Prediction: Mississippi State 30, Auburn 27
Auburn comes off its bye week with a bounce-back victory at home.
Prediction: Auburn 28, Arkansas 24
The Tigers go to Oxford and fall back to .500.
Prediction: Ole Miss 42, Auburn 21
Auburn’s yo-yo of a season continues with another home win.
Prediction: Auburn 21, Vanderbilt 12
The Tigers get clipped between the hedges to fall to 5-5.
Prediction: Georgia 31, Auburn 20
Auburn gets back over .500 by rolling in its easiest game of the season.
Prediction: Auburn 48, Alabama A&M 7
What a difference two letters and an ampersand make. It feels like déjà vu all over again as AU finishes 6-6 for the second straight year.
Prediction: Alabama 34, Auburn 17
Looking at Auburn’s 2016 slate, the Tigers will improve by a game in the SEC to 3-5. But they will duplicate their 6-6 regular-season mark from last year, so the best they’ll be able to go is, contrary to what Auburn fans want to hear, 7-6 once again.