There’s a sizable change with the SEC football schedule and the ripple effects reach your fighting Tigers of LSU. Auburn vs. Georgia, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, is being moved from its traditional mid-November spot and instead will be played October 10. It’ll be the first time the game hasn’t been played in November since 1936.
Auburn grew tired of having to play Georgia and Alabama in a span of two out of three weeks. Perfectly understandable, especially when you consider the location of the games don’t stagnate. Every other year Auburn has had to go to Athens, squeeze in a rent-a-win opponent and then go to Tuscaloosa.
Well, Auburn got what they wanted. Instead of Georgia, they get a late November date with LSU who’s won the last three games in the series. Be careful what you wish for.
2019: 9-4 (5-3), 9th S&P+
2020 Recruiting Class: 7th
Head Coach: Gus Malzahn
Offensive Coordinator: Chad Morris
Defensive Coordinator: Kevin Steele
Well it’s year seven for the Gus Bus in Auburn, Alabama. The 2019 season was a mixed bag for Gus and the other Tigers. The good news is they beat Alabama which will always constitute a good season on the Plains; the bad news is of their four losses, three were by a touchdown or less. Last year, Auburn only lost to LSU by three points and, to me, losing to the greatest team in college football history by only three points is an accomplishment in its own right. Give Auburn a ring too.
Malzahn brought in former Arkansas head coach Chad Morris, or as the Hogs call him He-who-must-not-be-named, to be the offensive coordinator and Kevin Steele keeps on keeping on as the Tigers defensive coordinator.
Bo Nix is back for his sophomore season as Auburn’s starting quarterback. Personally, I thought Nix played like ass last year. I call him Nix Trubisky because they both wear blue, both are No. 10 and both are pretty butt at quarterback. He, laughably, won SEC Freshman of the Year over Derek Stingley which,,,,,,,,,sure. But hey, hE bEaT bAmA.
To be fair, Nix did throw for 2500 yards and 16 touchdowns and added another seven with his legs. The biggest leap in development is always year one to year two—see Burrow, Joe—and Nix will have the chance to ascend to the upper echelon of SEC quarterbacks.
As for who will be Nix’s running mate in the backfield, that is yet to be determined. Boobee Whitlow is gone and in his place is a stable of former four-star backs like D.J. Williams, Shaun Shivers, Harold Joiner and Mark-Anthony Richards. Auburn also signed Tank Bigsby the No. 4 running back in last year’s recruiting class and Bigsby enrolled early.
At receiver, junior Seth Williams looks to be Nix’s No. 1 option once again. Williams made the conference’s All-Freshman team in 2018 and built upon that in 2019 with 59 catches, 830 yards and 8 touchdowns, including the game-winner against Oregon in Dallas. Auburn also signed five receivers in its 2020 recruiting class, including three guys in the top-30 at the position group, Kobe Hudson, Ze’Vian Capers and J.J. Evans.
At offensive line, the Tigers are completely starting over. Not only does Auburn lose four of five starters, it will also be without position coach Kenny Dillingham who is now the offensive coordinator at Florida State. Only center Nick Brahms returns from last year’s group. Tashawn Manning seems to be an early favorite to take over at left guard, and Auburn went the JUCO route and brought in a pair of tackles, Brenden Coffey and Kilian Zierer.
But the biggest, most noticeable difference in the 2020 Auburn Tigers will be the absence of stud defensive linemen Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. Brown was picked eighth overall in last April’s draft by the Panthers and Davidson was taken in the second round by the Falcons (good news Saints fans now you get to see them both TWO times a year!). The Tigers do get Big Kat Bryant back for another season so at least we’ll have one kick ass Auburn defensive linemen in a single digit jersey.
Linebacker looks to be Auburn’s strength for 2020. The Tigers bring back four starters including First-Team All-SEC selection senior K.J. Britt. There’s also fellow senior Chandler Wooten, junior ZaKoby McClain and sophomore Owen Pappoe. The future looks bright for Auburn linebackers after the Tigers signed Top-100 prospect Wesley Steiner.
The Tiger secondary takes a major hit in 2020, losing four of five starters. It’s headlined by Noah Igbinoghene being taken in the first round of the draft. You may remember Igbinoghene as the DB Terrace Marshall Jr. mossed in the 2019 game.
Auburn will also have to replace its No. 2 starting corner Javaris Davis and both of its safeties. Not great, Bob! Look for Roger McCreary to take over one of the starting corner spots while Nehemiah Pritchett mans the other, while Smoke Monday (what a name!) and Jamien Sherwood start at safety.
Auburn 2020 Schedule
September 5: vs. Alcorn State
September 12: vs North Carolina (@ Atlanta)
September 19: @ Ole Miss
September 26: vs. Southern Miss
October 3: vs. Kentucky
October 10: @ Georgia
October 17: vs. Texas A&M
October 24: BYE
October 31: @ Mississippi State
November 7: vs. Arkansas
November 14: vs. UMass
November 21: vs. LSU
November 28: @ Alabama