It’s about Auburn’s starting quarterback ($$).
In the first nine games of his college career, Auburn quarterback Bo Nix averaged fewer than six yards per attempt five times. He completed less than 60 percent of his pass attempts four times. He threw at least one interception three times.
The three games that fit into all three categories were Auburn’s 27-21 win against Oregon, its 23-14 loss at Florida and its 23-20 loss at LSU.
That trio of games have two things in common. They all were away from home for Auburn, and they all were against teams that are currently ranked inside the top 11 of the latest College Football Playoff rankings.
This Saturday, a fourth member of that top six, No. 4 Georgia, will play Auburn. Two weeks later, the Tigers will face No. 5 Alabama.
In those games, a crucial question about Nix, Gus Malzahn and Auburn’s 2019 offense as a whole will be answered — were the Tigers’ struggles in those games due to tough environments or tough opponents?
There’s a case to be made for a little of both — Nix says it’s easier to communicate at home and that seems like a safe bet.
But speaking of easier, Nix’ three best performances as measured by passer rating have come against Kent State, Mississippi State and Arkansas. (The rest of his season falls between 75.85 and 133.09, which ranges from poor to average.) Nationally, defensive passer ratings for those three teams rank 99th, 94th and 114th, respectively. Powerhouses they’re not, in other words.
Georgia’s defensive passer rating coming in to the game is 107.94. That’s ninth-best in the country. But Nix is playing at home.