Auburn Football: Tigers Drop in ESPN Power Rankings and Football Power Index


Oct 25, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Ricardo Louis (5) runs the ball for a touchdown past South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end David Johnson (55) during the third quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Auburn won 42-35. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The Auburn football team beat South Carolina 42-35 Saturday, and the folks at ESPN weren’t impressed. The Tigers dropped three spots in the ESPN Power Rankings this week to No. 7 and were jumped by Alabama, Oregon, TCU and Notre Dame. Mississippi State, with eight first place votes, was ranked No. 1 while Florida State was second based on the strength of the other five first place votes.

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Despite the Tigers being the consensus No. 4 team in the nation according to the Amway Coaches Poll and the Associated Press, four of the thirteen ESPN voters ranked Auburn tenth or worse. Butch Davis and Danny Kanell had the Tigers tenth on their individual ballots while Scott Van Pelt and Gene Wojciechowski ranked Auburn 11th. Three voters had Auburn in the top three and only two others ranked the Tigers in the top five.

"The Tigers looked vulnerable in their win over South Carolina, but wins over K-State and LSU are tough to beat."

That vulnerability is most likely to be credited to the defense that allowed 535 yards of total offense, including 402 passing yards by Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson. However, the unit also stepped up with three important interceptions in the game and a key stop on fourth down in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory.

Auburn’s offense should certainly impress the voters. Led by quarterback Nick Marshall, the Tigers gained 551 yards. Marshall completed 12 of 14 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown and added 89 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He even caught a 17-yard pass. Cameron Artis-Payne (167 yards and a touchdown) and receiver Ricardo Louis (102 yards and one TD) both broke the century mark in terms of rushing yardage and helped Auburn gain 395 rushing yards in the victory.

Nevertheless, the voters seemed more impressed with Alabama’s 34-20 win over Tennessee, Oregon’s 59 points against Cal, TCU’s 82 against Texas Tech and Notre Dame taking the week off after a moral victory over Florida State.

In the Football Power Index, Auburn was knocked from the top spot this week by Alabama. The Crimson Tide have earned a 27.5 rating, which edges out Auburn’s 26.2. The SEC is well represented in the FPI and holds all top five spots. Ole Miss, Georgia and Mississippi State follow Alabama and Auburn in the poll, respectively.

The change at No. 1 is the first in three weeks for the Worldwide Leader’s computer simulation rankings system. The FPI projects the Tigers have only a 4.7% chance to win all five remaining regular season games against the nation’s 12th toughest remaining schedule, and has just a 4.1% chance to repeat as SEC Champions. The FPI also predicts Auburn will finish the season with a 9-3 overall record.

Watch’s Heather Dinich explain her reasoning as well as that of the other voters in the weekly Power Rankings:

Next: FWE Week 10 SEC Power Rankings

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