There’s a real chance that Gus Malzahn, who enters the season on the hot seat, doesn’t make it out of September with his job. That’s because there’s a real chance that the Tigers, who open the season with four home games, start 0-4 on the year against Clemson, Arkansas State, Texas A&M, and LSU. Yes, Arkansas State, a team that is exponentially better than the Jacksonville State team that almost beat Auburn on the Plains last year. What issues appear solved heading into the season? The defense, outside of Carl Lawson, isn’t noticeably improved, and the quarterback situation is anything but settled — they’ll either roll with Sean White again or go with John Franklin III instead of Jeremy Johnson. Franklin, a junior college transfer, left Florida State because he wasn’t deemed good enough to be the fourth-string QB. They also have only one running back with collegiate experience and lost their two leading receivers from 2015. The makings of a bounce back do not appear to be in place — there’s a real chance Auburn finishes in last place in the SEC West again in 2016.
Dayum. Even I’m not that down on Auburn’s chances this season — although I reserve the right to change my mind if Lawson goes down again.