Auburn Tigers Schedule Breakdown

The Auburn Tigers will have a tough road to navigate to have success in 2020. Take a look at the Auburn Tigers schedule breakdown.

On Monday, the SEC announced the new 2020 football schedule. There are interesting and exciting games across the board, but the Auburn Tigers had a very interesting draw. It is not tough in terms of who they are playing. The difficult part is where the opponents are placed. We take a look at the 2020 Auburn Tigers schedule:

Auburn Tigers Schedule Breakdown

SEC East Opening

The Auburn Tigers schedule opens on September 26th against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Tigers were originally scheduled to open the season against Alcorn State and, would have been a good game to ease a new defensive and offensive line into. Kentucky presents multiple challenges in this match-up. Mainly with their experienced offensive line and a three-headed monster at running back with Asim Rose, Kavosiey Smoke, and Chris Rodriguez. Those three totaled for 1,965 yards and 18 touchdowns. Auburn can absolutely win this one, but they will have to come out of the gates looking strong.

Next up on October 3rd will be a visit to Athens, Georgia to take on the Bulldogs in “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry”. The two were already slated to play in October. With that said, it is still odd seeing the rivals set to play in October. They have not played outside of November in the regular season since 1936.

Auburn has not won on the road against Georgia since 2005 when they won 31-30. Gus Malzahn has gone just 2-6 and the Tigers have lost three straight games in the series. Auburn getting Georgia this early in the season could be great timing for the Tigers. Georgia will be breaking in a new quarterback and running a new system under offensive coordinator Todd Monken. The defense will be tough though, returning eight starters from a unit that led the nation in scoring defense.

Schedule Gets Easier (Kind Of)

There is no such thing as an easy opponent in the SEC, but the next three weeks do get more manageable. Auburn will host Arkansas and then travel on consecutive weeks to South Carolina and Ole Miss. With Arkansas and Ole Miss, these are two programs with new head coaches in Sam Pittman and Lane Kiffin. Both teams have talent in certain spots, but one would think will see struggles due to the lack of spring practice this season.

The South Carolina Gamecocks are coming off a tough 2019 going 4-8. Head coach Will Muschamp is heading into his fourth year in Columbia, but the team is installing a new offense with Mike Bobo. There is not much-experienced talent around sophomore signal-caller Ryan Hilinski, and the same can be said about the Gamecock defense. If Auburn can survive the first two weeks, 5-0 should be on the horizon at the halfway point.

Ending Some Bad Luck

The Auburn-LSU match-up has been one of the best over the last two decades. The last three games have been decided by a total of eight points. Unfortunately for Auburn those have all been losses. The Tigers from the plains will try to end that streak of misfortune on Halloween (10-31). This is a situation though were Auburn did get a break with the schedule change. Originally, the two were set to play on November 21st.

LSU will be looking to reload this season with all the talent that left Baton Rouge to head to the NFL. This team is not without talent and should be adjusted by the time late October arrives. The same goes for Auburn too with the offensive line and defensive front. When these Tigers meet, they rarely disappoint. Expect another classic here with SEC West implications on the line.

After the Bye Week

Auburn’s open date will arrive the week of November 7th, and it this point a break could be what this time really needs. Six straight weeks of SEC competition is going to be incredibly challenging. It is very NFL-like.

Auburn will then travel to Starkville to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. In a normal year, Starkville can be a difficult place to place with all the cowbells and things. Obviously, this is a different year. By this time Mike Leach should have his air-raid offense figuring things out with quarterback K.J. Costello. It just feels like Leach and company will beat a team they have no business beating. Auburn will need to be on their game on November 14th.

Then the Tigers host the Volunteers. Remember the last time these two programs met? It was October 31st of 2018 and it was inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-24 upset over the 21st ranked Tigers. Guarantano is still with the Volunteers going into his senior season. There are some Tigers from that game still on the Auburn roster, and one must believe they will look to avenge that performance.

Closing It Out

The Auburn Tigers’ schedule usually ends with two big opponents. Originally Auburn was scheduled to close with a home game with LSU and then hit the road against Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Well, it’s not that but not much easier. Auburn will not end the season with the annual Iron Bowl but instead, play them in the next to last game on November 28th. They will then close it out against Texas A&M in a home game to end the season.

While Jordan-Hare has been a house of horrors for Nick Saban, Malzahn has not had much success in Tuscaloosa. Malzahn is 0-4 at Bryant-Denney Stadium, but with limited fans, this might be the best opportunity to get rid of that donut in the record column. This game also could very well determine who wins the SEC West. Especially with Alabama playing Arkansas the following week to close out the season.

The Auburn-Texas A&M series has been remarkably interesting since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012. The first five match-ups all went to the road team, but Auburn has won the last three. The average score has been 32-29 in favor of Texas A&M. For Auburn, the result of the Iron Bowl will be a big factor in this one. If they defeat Alabama, then this game could mean a championship opportunity. If they lose, Auburn could go into this game without the right kind of emotion to win.

Final Thoughts

It will be very important for Auburn to get off to a fast start. That will not be easy due to a few factors. The Tigers will be breaking in a mostly new offensive line and a new running back. Also, Auburn will be trying to figure out who will be some of the new impact players on the defensive side of the ball. Don’t forget the development of sophomore quarterback Bo Nix with new offensive coordinator Chad Morris.

The middle six games outside of LSU are very manageable and should equate to five wins there. It’s what Auburn does with the opening two (Kentucky, at Georgia) and the closing two (at Alabama, Texas A&M) that could very well define the season.

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