Here's a first look at what Auburn's new indoor football practice facility is going to look like. Pretty awesome. There's a blog post and video here: New Auburn Practice Facility.
Last Year - 8-0 (1st SEC West) - 13-0 Overall (SEC and National Champions)
Starter's Returning Offense: 4
Starter's Returning Defense: 4
Starter's Returning P/K: 0
War Eagle will fly down the field if: Gene Chizk can petition the NCAA for another year of eligibility for Cam Newton, Nick Fairly and most of the departed stars Auburn had on the field last year. If Auburn's youth can play right away, they might have a chance to make some noise in what is being regarded as a rebuilding year.
Meet me at Guthrie's for chicken fingers if: Well, there are no if's about it since Auburn lost too many players to be a factor in the SEC in 2011. Another concern is an offensive and defensive line that returns only one starter.
Schedule: Brutal. I think Chizik needs to call Mad Max for help since the Tigers are being asked to be road warriors in 2011. They play Clemson, South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia away from Jordan-Hare. Is the home schedule any easier? Nah, because Mississippi State, Florida and Alabama come to town and that will be a challenge.
Intangibles: Being National Champions is always a good thing to build on, and that means Auburn was able to recruit well. Take that class, the upcoming 2012 class and add it to what is already on campus, and they have a foundation to build on. The magic of last year's championship will ease the pain of what looks like a long year on the Plains.
Coach Scooter's Prediction: 5th in the SEC West
If this was 2012, I would have the Tigers much higher, but they lost too many key players to be a force this year. The other major concern is both the offensive and defensive lines, and a team's success is tied to the lines on both sides of the ball.
Stud RB Michael Dyer returns, but he will need someone to block for him. I like the linebackers, Eltoro Freeman and Daren Bates and Neiko Thorpe is a playmaker in the secondary. They just need a line that can keep the blockers off of them, as well as put pressure on the QB.
Auburn is in an interesting position because they are young and promising, but a year away from challenging in the West. Give the Baby Tigers some time to learn on the job, take their lumps this year, and they will be back with a vengeance in 2012.
Here's a great place to find lots more 2011 College Football Previews.
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