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Things didn't go to plan for Auburn last season, at all. The Tigers were expected to be one of the best teams in the SEC and fight for a national championship, yet they never looked close to those levels finishing 7-6 overall with only two wins in SEC play. With new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele in tow and less expectations, Auburn has the tools to make some noise in the SEC West.
At this early writing, Auburn is listed at odds of 75 to 1 to win the National Championship at 5 dimes sportsbook. Odds change, so be sure to check in with 5 dimes and betonline for the lastest updates.
Of course, Auburn will have to figure out who its starting quarterback is, which is nowhere close to being decided. Jeremy Johnson was anointed future stud last year and quickly dispelled those predictions by turning the ball over way too much. He's competing again with Sean White and newcomer John Franklin III. With that being a question, probably for the whole season, the offensive side could be a problem again for the Tigers.
Fortunately, the running game should be solid again, this time led by Jovon Robinson. Roc Thomas and early enrollee Malik Miller will also compete for time. However, Auburn lacks relevant options in the passing game and the offensive line is still a question mark. The receivers didn't get much experience last year, partly because the passing game was led by poor quarterbacking. If the line can figure things out, that'll help the QBs that much more.
At the least, Auburn's defense has to improve from last year's levels. With Will Muschamp a complete flop as coordinator, Steele only has one way to go but up. The good news is that they absolutely dominated the spring game. Whether that shows how good the defense is, or how bad the offense is, remains to be seen.
The Tigers have the pieces to be solid on the line, led by Carl Lawson, who is fully healthy again. Deshaun Davis looks ready to be a difference maker at linebacker, while Carlton Davis may be one of the better corners in the conference. There are pieces to be effective and Auburn will get to test out its defense right off the bat against Clemson.
While Auburn starts the season with five straight home games, three of their first four are against Clemson, Texas A&M and LSU. We'll know early on just how good the Tigers will be. There's a chance they lose all three of those games, but winning even one would be a success. To make matters worse, Auburn also gets road games at Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama.
Without consistency at quarterback, Auburn may find themselves battling for seven wins again. But with an improved defense, the Tigers should at least be competitive against the better teams in the SEC. Whether that competitiveness gives them wins remains to be seen.
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2016 Auburn Tigers Football Schedule
Sept. 3 vs. Clemson
Sept 10 vs. Arkansas State
Sept. 17 vs. Texas A&M
Sept. 24 vs. LSU
Oct. 1 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Oct. 8 at Mississippi State
Oct. 22 vs. Arkansas
Oct. 29 at Ole Miss
Nov. 5 vs. Vanderbilt
Nov. 12 at Georgia
Nov. 19 vs. Alabama A&M
Nov. 26 at Alabama
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