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Auburn Schedule Doesn't Let Up // SEC 2011

This is an overview. Predictions come later. Home games in CAPS.

SEPTEMBER

9/3: UTAH STATE

9/10: MISSISSIPPI STATE

9/17: at Clemson

9/24: FAU

Auburn is one of the few SEC schools that have real games scheduled in September. Utah State and FAU are typical opening month pastries, but just like last year, they're opening the conference slate in Week 2 with MSU. They follow it up by doing their trip to Clemson in exchange for last year's inter-Tiger bash at Jordan-Hare. Both of those were exceptionally close games that Auburn won by three points each, with the latter coming after a dropped touchdown pass and a penalty-negated game-tying field goal in overtime for Clemson. What makes the latter more interesting is that new Clemson OC Chad Morris runs an offense heavily derived from Gus Malzahn's scheme. Can Auburn win both of those games again?

OCTOBER

10/1: at South Carolina

10/8: at Arkansas

10/15: FLORIDA

10/22: at LSU

10/29: OLE MISS

Auburn definitely continues the general theme of SEC teams having tough October months. First up is a trip to South Carolina, a team that will be itching for revenge after losing to Auburn twice last year. Of course, a team coming off of an undefeated season is going to be facing someone looking for revenge pretty much every week. Next comes a visit to Arkansas, the team against whom the Tigers staged a ridiculous 65-43 shootout last season. Will Muschamp then returns to the Plains with his new-look Gators, followed by a trip to preseason top-five team LSU. The Ole Miss game ratchets the pressure down some, but if Phil Steele is right, it could be a battle for fifth place in the West division.

NOVEMBER

11/5: BYE

11/12: at Georgia

11/19: SAMFORD

11/26 ALABAMA

This team will definitely not be coasting to the end like we saw with Tennessee last week. The bye week comes at a good time after the team takes a beating in October, but then a trip to Georgia is the prize on the other side. The roller coaster takes a big dip for a laugher over Samford before hitting the peak of every Auburn season, the Iron Bowl. If all the preseason experts are right, the roles from last year will be reversed with Auburn looking to spoil Alabama's run to the national title game. Successfully completing that mission is somewhere up there just behind winning a title themselves for the Auburn faithful.

OVERALL

Auburn's schedule is not one that ever lets up. It doesn't even really have a down period, as the only span of consecutive weeks where I feel comfortable in saying that Auburn won't pick up a loss is the one that goes "Ole Miss-Bye." No one ever said defending a national title is easy, and certainly this schedule doesn't do the team any favors. It's just one more reason why you should expect a down year out of these Tigers.