Auburn football: Paul Finebaum called this matchup 2022 season’s bellwether

Paul Finebaum called the Penn State game the 2022 Auburn football season's 'bellwether' Mandatory Credit: York Daily Record
Paul Finebaum called the Penn State game the 2022 Auburn football season's 'bellwether' Mandatory Credit: York Daily Record /

The 2022 Auburn football season’s bellwether, according to Paul Finebaum, will be their Week 3 matchup at home against Penn State.

Last season, the two teams played in a one-score game that was among 2021’s most contentious outcomes. Zakoby McClain was called for targeting on fourth and goal in the game’s closing moments, allowing the Nittany Lions to go ahead for good in last season’s first loss.

That matchup was contested with Penn State ranked in the top 10 and AU in the top 25. Neither team is expected to be a ranked team this time around unless AP voters overvalue a likely PSU win Week 1 against Purdue, who won nine games last season. This is all, of course, if chaos doesn’t take hold of the top 25 when the season starts, and somehow these two teams do end up ranked. Don’t hold your breath, though.

Finebaum believes that just like last year, the Penn State Week 3 clash will determine how the rest of the season will unfold. He shared as much on Mac and Cube with Greg McElroy and Cole Cubelic:

"“I think his season comes down to a couple of important, very-early-season games. I think, second year in a row, I do believe the Penn State game is the bellwether. If he can get out of that game and rack up some wins, then I think that he can develop some momentum before this season starts to become unyielding — and what I mean by that is Georgia is the sixth game, and then it’s really a murderer’s row after that. So he can’t afford an early-season loss to someone unexpected.”"

Auburn football must win four of their first five games at home to have a successful 2022 season

If the Tigers can’t take advantage of an early-season slate that includes five straight home games to start off the 2022 schedule, it’s going to be a rough season.

Alabama and Georgia road games are looking like automatic losses, and both Ole Miss and Mississippi State are being regularly projected to finish ahead of AU and host the Tigers in ‘The Magnolia State’ this October and November, respectively.

Beat Penn State, and there will be optimism that six wins is too low of a floor for the 2022 season.