Just like no one outside of the Auburn Family® would have believed Auburn would be national champions following the 2010 season, no one in Auburn is going to believe this prediction.
The Auburn Tigers will not make it to a bowl game in 2011.
The Tigers return six starters and lose Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, Lombardi Trophy winner Nick Fairley, and a veteran offensive line that led Auburn to the 2011 BCS National Championship.
But their time atop the college football will be short-lived as the Tigers will all but drop dead during the 2011 season.
Schedule. Schedule. Schedule. And the fact that they lose that guy that apparently doesn't know anything named Newton.
First, let's take a look at the five games Auburn plays on the road.
At Clemson: Last year it took overtime and a well-called time out for Auburn to win in their own stadium.
At South Carolina: Another close game from last year where the Tigers took advantage of four Gamecock turnovers in the fourth quarter.
At Arkansas: A high-scoring meeting from last year, where Tyler Wilson picked apart the Auburn defense after Ryan Mallet went down.
At LSU: Another single-digit win from last year, and this year it doesn't get any easier traveling to Baton Rouge to face an even better LSU team.
At Georgia: The Bulldogs got out to a 21-7 lead last year following the first quarter last year, and by the time they meet this year, the "Dream Team" and 3-4 defense will be well-seasoned and Aaron Murray will essentially be a junior.
Five road games. Five losses. Write that down.
Now, let's take a look at the home slate outside of the non-conference cupcakes against Utah State, Florida Atlantic and Samford (three projected wins).
Mississippi State: Last year the Tigers won 17-14 in Starkville, and the Bulldogs will be better in 2011.
Florida: The two teams did not face each other last year, and while Will Muschamp will have growing pains during his first year, the Gators still have plenty of talent led by senior quarterback John Brantley.
Ole Miss: Outside of the non-conference home games, the most manageable home game on the schedule, but the Rebels will also be better this year. Last year the Tigers won by 20 points in Oxford.
Alabama: Iron Bowl 2010, 28-27. "Never Again" is a sign that is placed throughout the Alabama locker room following the meltdown last year in Tuscaloosa. This year the Crimson Tide look to be in the national title hunt. Although the Tigers could play spoiler, Auburn will be severely overmatched.
With the three non-conference wins and the win against Ole Miss, along with five road losses, that puts Auburn at 4-5. The Tigers will be underdogs in the three other games (Mississippi State, Florida and Alabama).
They won't beat Alabama even the game is at home, and they will split the games between Mississippi State and Florida which will result in a 5-7 record to close out the regular season.
Bottom line, last year during their national championship run it came down to the wire in several games (Alabama, Clemson, South Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi State, LSU, Georgia and Arkansas).
In 2011, all of those teams improve, most of those games are on the road, and the Tigers take a huge step back.
As bold of prediction it would have been to say that Auburn was going to be 2010 national champions heading into the season last year, some might say that this prediction is just as bold.
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