Auburn Season Win Total Prediction
Perhaps no team in college football turned in a more disappointing 2015 campaign than Auburn. Will Gus Malzahn’s talented group be able to rebound this fall?
Handicappers have mixed emotions at the moment. According to online sports book Bovada.lv, the Tigers’ win total sits at seven. They finished with exactly the same number of victories last season.
Twelve months ago, expectations bordered on fantastical. With Will Muschamp supervising the defense and Jeremy Johnson threatening to enter the Heisman Trophy conversation, all was seemingly right for a run to the SEC West title. Muschamp fizzled in his lone year on the job, however, and Johnson found himself usurped as the starting quarterback.
Malzahn endeavored to steady the ship as much as possible, but Auburn finished last in the division. A 31-10 rout of Paxton Lynch’s Memphis squad in the Birmingham Bowl did suggest a faint sign of life. Why should War Eagle diehards anticipate brighter times ahead, though?
First and foremost, the bulk of the band is back together again – older, wiser and hungrier. Johnson and Sean White continue to battle JUCO transfer John Franklin III for the primary gig under center. Franklin’s equal aptitude at gaining the edge and orchestrating the zone-read attack could give him the nod come Sept. 3 vs. Clemson. In any event, competition promises to breed further success.
If the signal-callers falter, tailback Jovon Robinson’s capable of taking matters into his own hands. He rushed for 90-plus yards in five of Auburn’s final six contests. Yet, Shon Coleman and Avery Young no longer hold down the fort at left and right tackle, respectively. Given the Tigers’ penchant for pounding the pigskin up the gut, that’s a huge question mark.
On the defensive side, LSU import Kevin Steele grabs the baton from Muschamp. The ex-Florida head coach never seemed to jive with Malzahn, and the considerable talent inherited by Steele simply can’t fare worse than it previously did. In terms of standouts, Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson are NFL-caliber contributors along the front four. Linebacker represents a different story, as Tre’ Williams and T.J. Neal strive to establish their bona fides.
National runner-up Clemson provides a ridiculous test right off the bat. Then again, Malzahn wouldn’t desire anything less. This program’s overall level of talent rivals the lot of institutions in the SEC. Don’t expect a second straight campaign of middling results.
SATURDAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL FREE PICK: AUBURN TIGERS OVER 7 WINS (-115)