Few teams in the world of college football have a tougher football schedule than the Auburn Tigers in 2020. As a member of the SEC West division, they have some serious competition for hopes of an appearance in the SEC Championship game.
After finishing 2019 with a 9-4 record, Auburn will try to bounce back and win their first SEC title since 2013 and ninth in school history. The team’s schedule looks tough one to overcome, but they have a talented and experienced young quarterback ready to lead the way.
For most of the teams in college football, hopes of a conference championship lie in a game or two, but that isn’t how it works if you’re a member of the Southeastern Conference. Just about every single game during the football season is huge even with lower level teams like Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas threatening to steal games.
The only hope to win the SEC West is by winning every conference game, maybe finishing with one loss and beating the right team, likely Alabama. That is what happened for LSU last season en route to an SEC title and the College Football Playoff, and that would probably be what needs to happen for head coach Gus Malzahn and Auburn in 2020.
Their regular season fortunately will kickoff with an easier game, playing Alcorn State at home. But it picks up quickly from then with a game in Atlanta against North Carolina. This game is extremely interesting because it features Bo Nix and Sam Howell, two of the best sophomore quarterbacks in the country.
They then play their first conference game of the season on the road in Oxford at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium against the Ole Miss Rebels and new head coach Lane Kiffin. They follow that up with a home football game with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles before hosting the Kentucky Wildcats as their first home SEC game.
The biggest test of the season to this point comes on October 10 when they travel to Athens, Georgia to play the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. This game is one of the reasons their schedule is so difficult every season. While some SEC West teams may get some easier crossover matchups from the SEC East, Auburn plays Georgia every year in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
Thankfully, they don’t have to play both the Bulldogs and Florida Gators like last season.
Though UGA lost starting quarterback Jake Fromm, among many other talented players, Kirby Smart and Georgia have been stacking up talent for the last few seasons. Last season, Georgia accounted for one of the Tigers’ four losses with a 21-14 win in mid-November.
Auburn then plays host to the Texas A&M Aggies the following week before getting a much needed bye week. After a week off, the Tigers travel to Starkville and play the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. Auburn had their best offensive output in 2019 against the Bulldogs, winning with a final score of 56-23.
Next comes three consecutive home games, hosting the Arkansas Razorbacks, UMass Minutemen, and LSU Tigers. Auburn came the closest to beating the Tigers last season when they lost by three points at Tiger Stadium.
The final game of the regular season, which will be the biggest of their season if they have hopes of competing for an SEC Championship in Atlanta, and maybe an NCAA Championship, comes on November 28th against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Tide will be looking for revenge after the Tigers won the Iron Bowl last season, 48-45. This time, the game will be in Tuscaloosa at Bryant-Denny Stadium with the possibility of a title game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on the line.
The biggest question before the season, other than how 2020 will play out on the field, is when the games will actually be played. With the coronavirus ending winter and spring sports across the country, will Covid-19 do the same for the fall, or possibly just push it back?
Auburn Football Schedule 2020
Sept. 5: ALCORN STATE
Sept. 12: North Carolina (Neutral Site, Atlanta)
Sept. 19: at Ole Miss*
Sept. 26: SOUTHERN MISS
Oct. 3: KENTUCKY*
Oct. 10: at Georgia*
Oct. 17: TEXAS A&M*
Oct. 31: at Mississippi State*
Nov. 7: ARKANSAS*
Nov. 14: UMASS
Nov. 21: LSU*
Nov. 28: at Alabama*
* — Denotes SEC game
ALL CAPS — Denotes home game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama