Auburn football: 10 takeaways from Week 14 of college football

Auburn football Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn football Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

The War Eagle takes a look at Auburn football’s performance and nine other takeaways from an up and down college football Saturday.

For fans of dominant powerhouses, Saturday was your day in the sun. For the rest of the world, it was an up and down day depending on your allegiance…down in the case of Auburn football fans who saw their Tigers drop their second straight contest.

The 31-20 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies knocks the Tigers to 5-4 for the season, and brings up the frightening possibility of a losing season if Mississippi State could find a way to upset the formerly ranked Auburn next week and then Gus Malzahn’s squad loses its bowl matchup.

My oh my have things gone south this season.

The War Eagle wants to focus on the good and bad of yesterday’s college football action, so we will try to have a wide-scope view of NCAAF, not just the pain in the plains.

Here are 10 takeaways from Week 14:

1. Auburn football is the distant fifth-best team in the SEC

There is a clear pecking order in the SEC that Auburn football finds itself in the middle of the pack of. Ahead of them are Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia, and Florida. Three of those teams took down the Tigers this season, while most would probably put their money on the Gators chomping down on this underwhelming Auburn squad.

This just isn’t the year for the War Eagle to be barking about unfair scheduling or draconian COVID rules or even crooked refereeing. The Tigers just haven’t played well enough to be considered a good Power 5 team, and any inclusion in a primetime non-New Year’s 6 bowl game would be because of program lineage more than achievement in 2020.

2. Alabama is clearly the best team in college football

In dismantling the defending champion LSU Tigers 55-17, the Alabama Crimson Tide continued their rampage through the SEC as they continue to stake their claim to being the top team in the entire NCAA FBS.

There’s not much more that could be said, besides this: at least Auburn lost by less!

3. Notre Dame didn’t move the needle any more forward against Syracuse

The Syracuse Orange are so unimpressive at 1-10 now that beating them by four scores isn’t even that impressive for the #2 team in the country. After defeating a Clemson squad without Trevor Lawrence, Notre Dame won’t find validation until the ACC title game.

4. Clemson is who we thought they were with Trevor Lawrence

The Clemson Tigers fared better than their brethren counterparts in Auburn football and LSU, dominating the Virginia Tech Hokies 45-10. Trevor Lawrence willed the team to victory with a one-sided second half that proved Clemson are who we thought they were with their Heisman candidate quarterback.

5. Ohio State has barely been challenged this season

Besides last week’s one touchdown victory over the Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State has not had the most difficult schedule in 2020. The clock is ticking for the Buckeyes, who luckily face mortal rival Michigan next week. If they don’t get six conference games in, OSU won’t qualify for the Big 10 Championship, and that could have a ripple effect on their College Football Playoff ranking.

6. Miami may have entered the postseason conversation

In blowing out the Duke Blue Devils 48-0 on Saturday, the Miami Hurricanes took a megaphone and declared to the world that they are very much a player in the postseason conversation. Remember, their lone loss is to Clemson, and a win next week over the #17 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels would move that conversation even further in the Hurricane’s tide.

7. Indiana is proving to be a fringe contender themselves

Indiana has taken care of business this season, sweeping their Big 10 slate outside of their nail-biter with the Buckeyes last week in Columbus. After holding the Wisconsin Badgers to just six points, perhaps it’s time we take the Hoosiers seriously as a contender.

8. Wisconsin is the Auburn of the Big 10

In losing to the Hoosiers, Wisconsin has settled into the role Auburn football occupies for the SEC: premiere program that perenially loses to the true powerhouses of the conference. Just as the Tigers dropped games to top contenders in Alabama and Texas A&M (and Georgia…and not South Carolina but why not bring up that awful loss), the badgers have now lost to Northwestern and Indiana, two teams ranked in the top 20.

9. Coastal Carolina is for real

Just last week I was sitting in an empty Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas, watching the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers beat up on a lowly Texas State team that had dropped to 2-10 with the loss.

This week, after having a matchup with the Liberty Flames canceled, Coastal stepped up and knocked down the #13 ranked BYU Cougars in what was the most impressive performance any team has put forth this season. In fact, many pundits are even saying this was the best game of the season.

You may be right, and I may be crazy!

Either way, the Chants proved that they are for real with their biggest win in program history.

10. Marshall is a farce

I have been questioning Marshall as a top-ranked team more than I have other mid-major squads because quite honestly, I’m not impressed with the Thundering Herd beating up on Middle Tennessee State as the Chanticleers take down teams like UL-Lafayette and Appalachian State.

Their loss to Rice was somewhat satisfying, if completely shocking given its blowout nature.

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