Auburn football ranked ahead of only SEC East bottom-feeders Missouri, Florida, and Vanderbilt (in that order) in a 2023 SEC Power Rankings piece from Mike Farrell Sports’ Luke Brumm — good for a last-place finish in the SEC West in the final year that the conference will be split into two divisions.
Starting in 2024, only Alabama and (presumably) Georgia remain on the schedule as annual opponents, though the eventual 2025 schedule release will determine whether or not the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will continue.
While Hugh Freeze was able to rebuild the Tigers’ 2023 recruiting class on the fly through numerous flips and veteran transfer portal additions, Brumm is betting on the damage Bryan Harsin has done to the program lingering well past his departure.
Auburn football is undervalued nationally ahead of the 2023 season
For many that cover college football from a national perspective — and perhaps missing the nuances due to not paying attention to one specific conference –, Auburn football is a depreciated asset as a program after two years of shrinking in the spotlight when the lights were shining brightest.
The thing is, though, brands don’t determine which schools will win. In fact, past success for a program not at the very top of the sport likely means that successful coordinators will be hired elsewhere and the best players will have a spot waiting for them in the NFL.
With AU bringing on a successful coach the past several seasons, one who made a recent Division II program relevant nationally as an Independent before finding a home in a conference, the tone could immediately change; especially in the transfer portal-heavy, NIL-driven sport college football has become post-COVID-19. Sonny Dykes at TCU is a testament to that.
Now, the only thing we can do is wait until Freeze looks to make these rankings an edible form of crow this fall.