Auburn update, 10/19
a.) I've received a few emails from fans who think Auburn's fourth-place position in the Bowl Championship Series standings means Auburn will stay there if it doesn't lose. Nope. It doesn't work like that. The Tigers don't have much in the way of nationally recognized competition ahead. Games against Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama will provide challenges, no doubt, but none of those teams will give AU a boost in opponent value.
If Alabama gets hot, beats Tennessee and LSU, well, that's different. I think Georgia and Ole Miss are too far gone at this stage to help Auburn's opponent ratios improve from where they are right now.
If Auburn if going to be a national-championship team, it needs to build a non-conference schedule that reflects that. Period. It's OK to play a Tulane or an Arkansas State, but then you add Buffalo (a third cream puff) and the schedule loses luster.
If Auburn wins out, which probably would include a rematch with UF in the SEC championship game, I think it'll finish fifth or sixth in the BCS. That's good enough for a lucrative, high-exposure BCS game. So that's a $10 million boost for the program. Still, there's basically no chance for shot at the title.
b.) David Marsh. Great coach. Clean coach. Probably overvalued in the sense that his achievements haven't added a lot to the athletic program's bottom line. Money is king these days. I find it odd that Marsh leaves now. He'd been campaigning for this outdoor pool for years. Now that it's a done deal, he's out. Awkward. I think assistant coach Brett Hawke eventually will take over this program in a few years, and he'll keep it going.
c.) Cracks me up how Auburn was warned for excessive noise at Jordan-Hare Stadium last weekend. You don't think Florida raised hell about that, do you? Urban Meyer just can't get a break. Poor guy.
d.) Looks like tailback Ben Tate won't be redshirting after all. It makes sense. Brad Lester is a sophomore this season. Enrique Davis is firmly committed. Auburn still has a good shot at another major tailback recruit in Caleb King. Tate needs to go ahead and get his career started. The Tigers don't need three young tailbacks all jumbled up like that.
PROJECTED 2007 TAILBACKS
GRADUATED -- Kenny Irons, Tre Smith
SR -- Carl Stewart (mostly a fullback, I know)
JR -- Brad Lester
SO -- Ben Tate
RFR -- Mario Fannin (I think he could be an impact back)
TFR -- Enrique Davis ... and Caleb King?