Auburn football: It shouldn’t feel odd that these Tigers are 10-point favorites

Can Auburn finally clear that hurdle of offensive struggles tonight vs. Mississippi State? (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Can Auburn finally clear that hurdle of offensive struggles tonight vs. Mississippi State? (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

The No. 7 Auburn football team opened as 10-point favorites against No. 12 LSU for their huge SEC West showdown Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

That seems odd, doesn’t it?

The Auburn-LSU series feels like it’s always a tight game. Sometimes it is.

But sometimes it isn’t.

LSU has won 7 of the last 10 games between the two SEC West rivals. Five of those games have been decided by seven points or less.

The rest have been decided by at least 21 points except for a 14-point LSU win in 2013.

What's next?. Auburn way ahead, already focused on LSU. light

So Auburn being favored — only one of those lopsided wins belongs to the hometown Tigers — by at least 10 has a weird feeling to it.

But it also feels spot on this time around.

At 2-0, Auburn looks like a different team than last season when it blew a 20-point first half lead against LSU, later reached the SEC Championship Game, losing it and missing out on the College Football Playoff.

This Auburn team has an edge.

It beat then-No. 6 Washington in the opener, 21-16, despite committing 12 penalties. It scored 63 points Saturday in beating Alabama State despite turning over the ball four times.

No, this team isn’t perfect. Far from it. But it’s much farther along through two games than it was a season ago.

  • It’s allowing 301.5 yards per game despite playing pretty much every possible defensive player on the roster in the second half Saturday against the Hornets.
  • It’s limiting opponents to 24.1 percent conversions on third down.
  • The offense is totaling 493.5 yards per game.
  • The defense has nine QB sacks, good for third-best in the country.

That’s just a snippet of things you should be encouraged about with this Auburn football team.

Gus Malzahn’s group remains a work in progress. We’re still not quite sure what the offense is, but we know there are more options than any Malzahn team we’ve seen since he arrived in 2013.

Will Anthony Schwartz continue being a focal point? How much trust does Shaun Shivers have with coaches?

Yes, the Week 1 win against Washington was a big test and Auburn passed.

But Saturday afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium is a whole other thing. It’s LSU. It’s the SEC. It’s going to be physical. The 27-23 meltdown in Baton Rouge last year is a thing of the past. The coaches have made sure of it.

Next. Playmakers? Yeah, Auburn's got a few of those on offense. dark

This team isn’t playing like it will shut down the same way.

So the early gut call is take Auburn to cover.