With the start 2020 college football season tentatively approaching, the Auburn Tigers find themselves near the top of the top 25
Preseason polls are often hit or miss when predicting how good a particular team is going into the season and the top 25 often looks completely different than it did during the preseason. And while preseason polls have little meaning in the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t stopped fans and the media from obsessing over every minute detail.
I myself am guilty of this and often overreact to where certain teams are placed in preseason polls even though I know, in the volatile world of college football, things are bound to change often and fast.
On Thursday, USA Today released their preseason top 25. There are certainly some obvious choices in the poll and some pretty big surprises too but where on that list do the Auburn Tigers come in?
Well, Auburn officially comes in at No. 11 in the poll just outside of the top 10 and as one of six SEC teams in the top 15 of the poll.
The top four of the list in and of itself includes two SEC teams in Alabama (No. 3) and UGA (No.4) — Auburn’s two biggest rivals who will presumably both be on the Tigers’ 2020 schedule.
Defending-champions LSU comes in at No. 5 in the poll as the Bayou Bengals will have to deal with losing Heisman quarterback Joe Burrow from last year while 2019 runner up Clemson comes in at No. 1.
Depending on how the SEC’s conference-only schedule shakes out, Auburn will also likely have to face off against LSU (No. 5) and Texas A&M (No. 13). The Tigers were originally scheduled to match up against No, 19 UNC in Week 2 of the season as a part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game but the game is currently not expected to happen as both the SEC and ACC have now gone to conference-only schedules for 2020.
Just outside the top 25 are two other Auburn opponents in Kentucky (73 votes) and Mississippi State (nine votes.)
A tough schedule is nothing new for Auburn as the Tigers had to face six teams in the 2019 preseason Coaches Poll. Auburn finished their regular season with a big win over rival Alabama in the Iron Bowl but then fell to Minnesota in the Outback Bowl and therefore ending the season with a 9-4 record.
Auburn began last season at No. 16 in the Coaches Poll and finished the year at No. 14. The Tigers are no stranger to fairly-high preseason expectations either. With the current ranking of No. 11, Auburn has been ranked in the preseason top 25 in six of Gus Malzahn’s eight seasons as head coach. In those six seasons where the Tigers were ranked in the preseason top 25, the team has an average ranking of 10.3.
As for the rest of the preseason Coaches Poll, the top 25 goes as follows with the amount of first-place votes for a team provided in parenthesis.
- Clemson (38)
- Ohio State (17)
- Alabama (4)
- LSU (6)
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
- Texas A&M
- Oklahoma State
- North Carolina
- Virginia Tech
- Iowa State