Auburn must be ready for its Week 1 game against Clemson, and it can't really let its guard down the rest of the way.
This is an overview. Predictions come later. Homes games in CAPS.
9/1: vs. Clemson (Atlanta)
9/8: at Mississippi State
Auburn gets several big tests right off to start the season, the first two coming away from home. The Chick-fil-A game in Atlanta versus the reigning ACC champs will show right away what this team has going this year. Going to Starkville the following week will establish some of the pecking order in the SEC West this year, and it's been a really good game in recent years. Auburn gets a breather at least with Louisiana-Monroe, but the roughest game of the month follows. LSU comes to the Plains for a visit, and the last few games there between the teams there have been great. After that, a well-earned early bye week comes next.
10/13: at Ole Miss
10/20: at Vanderbilt
10/27: TEXAS A&M
Believe it or not, this month is about as much as the schedule lets up. The Arkansas game will tax an Auburn pass defense that has struggled in recent years, and it will be the toughest game of the month. Another set of back-to-back games away from home comes next, but these shouldn't be as bad as the first two. Ole Miss is rebuilding in nearly every sense of the word, and Vanderbilt won't be as good as Auburn is most likely. Texas A&M will again test the Tigers' secondary, but it's not as complete a team as Arkansas is right now. This October slate isn't easy, but it's better than the opening and closing frames.
11/3: NEW MEXICO STATE
11/17: ALABAMA A&M
11/24: at Alabama
Auburn closes out the season with a rather schizophrenic final month. NMSU is a delightful sugary snack, what with its WAC affiliation and likely dead coach walking. After that, it ratchets up to the preseason SEC East favorite for a rivalry game that's been played a few times before. Alabama A&M of Division I-AA comes into town for Senior Day, which should provide a chance for veteran walk ons to get a chance to see the field. The slate closes out as always against Alabama, but after a nice four-game home stand, this one is in Tuscaloosa. October doesn't have the peaks and valleys, but November's peaks are higher. No matter how you slice it, Auburn never really gets a chance to catch its breath for too long in 2012.