For many, there is a high level of optimism around the Auburn football program heading into the 2023 season. After two years of struggle under Bryan Harsin, changes began immediately once Hugh Freeze was hired on and took charge of the program.
The Tigers have had a lot of momentum lately when it comes to recruiting, from the recent success in the transfer portal to the number of highly-ranked prospects pouring into the Plains for official visits.
With another quarterback added to the mix in former Michigan State QB Payton Thorne and a team full of guys that are ready to “flip the script,” most fans are ready for a new era of Auburn football, the Freeze Era.
However, thinking realistically, fans must remember that this truly is a rebuilding year for the Tigers: rebuilding the coaching staff, rebuilding the team, rebuilding the schemes, and rebuilding the culture. There are a lot of adjustments and a lot of new faces on the Plains heading into the 2023 season, and it’s likely that the level of success everyone wants will take more than just one offseason to reach.
247 Sports Analyst Brad Crawford certainly thinks so, and he predicted a not-so-exciting finish for the Tigers in the SEC this fall. He believes the Tigers will finish second to last in the SEC West, ahead of only Mississippi State, with a 7-5 record and five conference losses:
"Considering the Vegas number is 6.5, Auburn fans will be excited if the Tigers hit seven wins this fall. On the contrary, a .500 finish is obviously not what Hugh Freeze has in mind for his first season on the Plains. This roster has vastly improved through the portal, but simply isn’t strong enough yet to fight for a spot near the top of the division standings. It will come, though."
Crawford expects the Tigers to lose to Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU, Arkansas, and Alabama in 2023, but the ambitions of Auburn football and Hugh Freeze mean that Crawford’s view is a pessimistic one.