College Football Playoff: How Will the Auburn Football Schedule Impact Tigers’ Hopes?


Aug 30, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers receiver D’haquille Williams (1) celebrates with students after the Auburn Tigers beat the Arkansas Razorbacks 45-21 at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Football fans across the nation are all experiencing the new College Football Playoff format this year. The first year implementing a new system is bound to have its complications. Questions will be answered and mainly we will see the first seeded playoff in college football history! The anticipation for selection weekend (which is December 6-7) is almost unbearable.

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I hope to briefly shed some light on the subject and give my two cents on how the Auburn Tigers schedule will impact the team’s playoff hopes.

First, each of the committee members will select their personal best 25 teams. Then each member lists the six best (in no particular order). The six teams that have accumulated the most votes will make up the first seeding ballot. When the first seeding ballot is created, an emphasis on the rank of 1-6 will be established.

What are some of the elements that the committee members look at when compiling their vote? Sure, there is the Amway Coaches Poll and the AP Top 25, each of which have served to help the BCS era. But, just using these two polls would be too simple for the committee to erect a concrete playoff.

Some factors that will be used in the new format include: game video, won/loss record, conference champions, strength of schedule, polls, head-to-head match-ups and more.

The first ranking will be released on October 28th and will be updated the following five weeks.

This new format is following close to the timeline of the BCS playoff system, but is different entirely when it comes to structure. It’s great that it works out that way, because the unfamiliar can use the October schedule to find where their team is.

Now, how does this affect Auburn?

To start, Auburn is among a conference of cannibals. Winning the SEC means an opportunity to play for a title will present itself. To come out of the conference without a scratch is nothing short of a miracle.

Auburn has escaped undefeated five times (1957, 1993, 2004, 2010). It’s not impossible to be perfect, and Auburn clearly has demonstrated this, but it is extremely difficult.

Strength of schedule is an easy point to give Auburn an opportunity to fight for a title. According to fbsschedules.comAuburn has the 16th toughest schedule in the nation. Playing ranked Kansas State and various in-conference opponents will help Auburn in the end.

As for game video, Auburn has an opportunity to set themselves apart from the pack. Gus Malzahn’s unique play calling will open eyes and set a standard for the rest of the league. The threat of the mesh point within the read-option system allows for so much to happen within one play. Voters will see plays that stick out and use the “Auburn Fast” tempo as a strong advantage against other teams in the league.

But realistically, it all comes down to wins and losses. Auburn faces 20th ranked Kansas State this Thursday on ESPN and the meat of the SEC through October and November. If Auburn can fight their way through the end of the season, I do not see how they can be overlooked.

Auburn’s hopes to make the College Football Playoff will center on three specific games: South Carolina, Ole Miss and Texas A&M (the Iron Bowl can be excluded just this one time).

South Carolina will travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday October 25th to face the Tigers. With them will be powerful back Mike Davis and quarterback Dylan Thompson. These two and their teammates under the guidance of Steve Spurrier will be a threat in late October. The Gamecocks are currently ranked 14th. Though I do feel that Auburn will win, it will be a close game.

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  • The 10th ranked Ole Miss Rebels will be hosting the Auburn Tigers on November 1st. This is going to be a true test for Auburn. A hostile game on the road versus a ranked opponent seems to be a reoccurring event for Auburn.

    Where this game catches my eye is on defense. The Rebels have the squad to potentially slow the Auburn attack, enough to give the offense time to work. Bo Wallace is a veteran quarterback now and has the ability to make a big impact.

    On November 8th, the Texas A&M Aggies will play in Auburn. Last year’s thriller was one for the ages and this year could be just as big. The A&M team is full of components this year, rather than just Johnny Football and Mike Evans. Watching the first few Aggie victories, I see a team that is playing with a ton of heart. Kenny Hill had some big shoes to fill after Johnny Football left, but is doing a spectacular job.

    The Aggies are currently 6th in the nation in passing yards and have an SEC victory under their belts. If the team can remain undefeated until this game, Auburn will have their hands full. A mobile quarterback in the air raid offense can be disastrous to an unprepared team (i.e. South Carolina).

    The last few games will be the most noteworthy. All eyes will be on Auburn in the closing of the season.

    And if the Tigers can beat South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M, the College Football Playoff is well within reach.