ESPN’s Football Power Index often makes for good fodder among college football fans and this week is no exception. Four writers from the worldwide leader teamed up for a roundtable to decipher who the “most overrated” team in the SEC is at this early juncture and there was an overwhelming selection.
In fact, three of the four writers polled chose the Auburn Tigers for this “honor” and Alex Scarborough said the following about Gus Malzahn’s team:
With apologies to all the Auburn fans coming down from the euphoria of the Jarrett Stidham Show, I have to say I’m surprised with the Tigers checking in at No. 5 in the FPI. There’s a lot to like about Malzahn’s squad this year, but let’s hold our horses a little bit. With a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback and no Carl Lawson or Montravious Adams on defense, I want to see a couple of games before I jump aboard the hype train. I don’t want another Jeremy Johnson 2015 situation to play out again.
Saturday’s game was just a glorified scrimmage, after all, and it wasn’t even the first-team offense against the first-team defense at that. So while I’m comfortable saying that Auburn belongs in the top 25 to start the season, I’m going to hold off before I start calling the Tigers anything close to a top-five team. With Clemson out of conference, Georgia out of the East and an always-difficult divisional schedule, the road to 9.5 wins won’t be easy.
Auburn, as noted above, checks in at No. 5 overall with a 9.5-win projection and that does seem a little bit lofty. It should be noted that not every writer polled picked the Tigers but it is also easy to see why they were an obvious choice.
Can Stidham help to turn things around at the quarterback position? Maybe, but there are other issues on this roster and seeing a top-five team at Auburn right now takes some interesting evaluation tactics. Fans of the Tigers won’t be pleased about this, though, and the team will have the opportunity to prove everyone wrong in just a few months.