Picked off? What national analysts are predicting about Auburn football season

A lot of eyes will be on Jarrett Stidham this season. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
A lot of eyes will be on Jarrett Stidham this season. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

It’s game week and that means all sorts of picks and predictions are showing up in your Google search for Auburn football and in your Twitter feed.

We’ll have our own picks for the top-10 showdown between No. 9 Auburn and No. 6 Washington later this week. For now, we’ve collected what some of the other national sites are saying about the Auburn football team in front of the Sept. 1 opener in Atlanta.

We posted our game-by-game predictions for the regular season last week. Check them out and let us know what you think. The schedule is brutal with road games at Georgia and Alabama and the neutral-site game to begin the season. But Auburn brings back a lot of experience and might be as loaded as its ever been at the skill positions since Gus Malzahn arrived on campus in 2013.

In the meantime, here are some of the things other writers are saying about Auburn as the countdown to kickoff ticks down to 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

Is Auburn vs. Washington Week 1’s best game?

No other matchup in Week 1 has a pair of top 10 teams squaring off against each other. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good games out there.

Bill Bender of Sporting News ranks the 12 best Week 1 games and Auburn-Washington comes in at … No. 2. On paper, it’s without a doubt the No. 1 game of opening weekend, but the Michigan-Notre Dame showdown in South Bend gets Bender’s nod as top billing for the weekend. He says this about the Auburn-Washington game:

"As far as the College Football Playoff race is concerned, this may be the most important game of Week 1. Washington needs this one to restore Pac-12 pride after the conference finished 1-8 in bowl season and missed the Playoff again in 2017. Auburn can’t afford a third consecutive high-profile loss in Atlanta, given its brutal schedule this season."

Bender is spot on in that yes, this game has the biggest implication on the College Football Playoff race. By a long shot. Even the loser in a tight game could remain in the mix.

Must Read. Auburn fans have advice for Gus Malzahn this season. light

Is Auburn overrated?

We wrote earlier in August that when the Auburn football team debuted at No. 10 in the Amway Coaches Poll that it should be thrilled because that is the perfect spot. No. 9 in the AP is in the ballpark, too. Either way, there’s a fair amount of optimism around the program this year with a 3,000-yard passer in Jarrett Stidham back along with one of the nation’s best defenses.

Still, some have doubts. Like Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, who placed Auburn in the overrated category:

"The West is turning into a division of quarterbacks. For all the love Jarrett Stidham is getting, don’t forget Tua Tagovailoa and Nick Fitzgerald. Mississippi State has 16 starters back. Alabama is Alabama. I like the Bulldogs to win nine or 10 and finish second in the West."

Look, we’re not going to argue about the quarterback talent in the SEC. It has gotten a ton better over the last few years. Auburn will be very good. The schedule is very difficult.

By the way, Dodd also mentioned the Tigers in his bold prediction, stating: “South Carolina will beat Georgia, win 10, finish in the top 10 and still finish second in the East. Mississippi State will win nine, beat Auburn, finish in the top 15 and still finish second in the West.”

ICYMI, we have thoughts on the Mississippi State game.

Playoff, New Year’s Six or something else?

Seven college football writers for Sports Illustrated made their selections for the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six bowl participants.

One of them placed Auburn in the playoff. Eric Single has Auburn vs. Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl, losing to the Badgers, who would play Clemson (winner over Stanford) in the title game and lose.

Six of seven writers picked Clemson to win the national title. The other chose Alabama.

Three writers picked Auburn to play in a New Year’s Six bowl.

Ross Dellenger: Auburn vs. Notre Dame in the Peach Bowl
Joan Niesen: Auburn vs. Stanford in the Peach Bowl
Laken Litman: Auburn vs. West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl

So four of seven SI writers predict Auburn in a New Year’s Six bowl of the playoff. I think Auburn football fans will be disappointed with anything less.

Predicted order of finish in SEC

There’s zero reason to have a problem with people picking Alabama to win the SEC West. None whatsoever. Even if you’re a defiant Auburn fan who screams: “AUBURN WON THE WEST LAST YEAR AND BEAT ALABAMA!”

You’re right. But that doesn’t remove the Crimson Tide as league favorite.

Next. Our game-by-game predictions for Auburn. dark

So it’s no surprise that the CBSSports.com team of seven writers unanimously chose Alabama to win the West. Would it surprise you that only four picked Auburn second (and the other three took Mississippi State)?

Hey, everyone is entitled his/her opinion.