There are so many variables in Auburn -- the quarterback, the defense, etc. -- that's it hard to figure out where exactly to place them. (This has been something of a theme all week if you haven't noticed.) In a league full of wild-cards, Auburn might be one of the wildest of all, with the possible exception of South Carolina.
But with that home slate, it's not hard to see them at least 6-0 to start the season. At that point, anything less than nine wins -- splitting the remainder -- becomes a huge disappointment. And get a few bounces this way and maybe one that ...
Let's keep things in perspective, though. The West is the deeper division this year, and even a 4-0 nonconference record (achievable) and a solid SEC record could end up with a lower-than-usual ranking. Unless 2010 turns into 2009 redux, a free-for-all that ends up with more teams than you ever thought possible sitting at 7-5 overall and either 3-5 or 4-4 in the conference. I actually don't see that happening this year, and I think Auburn is one of the beneficiaries.
As for the postseason destination: I still can't find any official word on where the Gator Bowl fits into the bowl alignment, but it could end up sixth. If that's the case, consider this karma for the Outback Bowl bid last year. In any case, I think all the slots are chosen before the Game Formerly Known as the Peach Bowl decides to take South Carolina for excitement purposes and to potentially pair with an old ACC rival. If the Gator Bowl is No. 5, I think it makes more sense for them to take Auburn. Either way, the Tigers end up in Jacksonville.
Place: 4th in the SEC West
Record: 9-3, 5-3 SEC
Could be: 5-7 to 11-1
Best chance for an upset (aside from obvious): LSU
Bowl: Gator Bowl
9.4.10 | ARKANSAS STATE | WIN
9.9.10 | at MISSISSIPPI STATE | POSSIBLE WIN
9.18.10 | CLEMSON | POSSIBLE WIN
9.25.10 | SOUTH CAROLINA | POSSIBLE WIN
10.2.10 | LOUISIANA-MONROE | WIN
10.9.10 | at KENTUCKY | POSSIBLE WIN
10.16.10 | ARKANSAS | POSSIBLE LOSS
10.23.10 | LSU | POSSIBLE LOSS
10.30.10 | at OLE MISS | POSSIBLE WIN
11.6.10 | CHATTANOOGA | WIN
11.13.10 | GEORGIA | POSSIBLE WIN
11.26.10 | ALABAMA | PROBABLE LOSS