No. 6 Washington Huskies vs. No. 9 Auburn Tigers
Saturday, Sept. 1 at 3:30 p.m.; Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Atlanta, Ga.
TV: ABC; Line: Auburn -1.5; Over/Under: 48.5
There are reasons to believe the Auburn Tigers are Tennessee football’s toughest opponent this year with the return of Jarrett Stidham to run Gus Malzahn’s offense. And in their opener against the Washington Huskies, it’s a bit of a role reversal. With a ton of returning talent and their advantage on the line of scrimmage, Chris Petersen’s program from the Northwest looks like the SEC team going up against the high-powered offense of Auburn, which would look like the Pac-12.
What everybody is forgetting with the Tigers is despite their returning weapons, they have numerous issues on the line of scrimmage. So as we just said, if you believe in the style of the SEC, you have to put your money on Washington in this game. Auburn does have an advantage with this game being in Atlanta. But Washington will control the clock. So take them and take the under.
Washington: 20 Auburn: 13 (Washington +1.5; Under)
Washington vs. Auburn might be the best matchup of the first week of college football. After all, it is a Top ten game. It honestly does not get much better than that. As for the game, it should be similar to an SEC defensive battle. Both teams have strong defenses that are going to want to win the turnover battle.
Yes, Auburn won the SEC West last season but how they are the favorites in this game is beyond me. Their offensive line is comparable to Tennessee football’s. And, that could spell trouble going up against a talented and veteran-led defensive for the Huskies. I kept the game close out of the respect I have for the Auburn Tigers, and the game is in Atlanta, but I would not be surprised if this game were a double win for Washington when it is all said and done.
Washington: 23 Auburn: 20 (Washington +1.5; Under)
This game will be the biggest game as far as the College Football Playoff implications go. Both teams cannot lose this game otherwise their Playoff hopes could be tossed out the window. Auburn has lost a lot on offense. Their power running game that was unstoppable is not there anymore. Their offensive line is below average, and since they don’t have a power running game, their game plan will change. Washington (statistically) is an excellent defense, especially in the secondary. Ultimately though, the Huskies defense is inflated with their schedule of play.
Jarrett Stidham is going to have to find a way to exploit Washington’s secondary while making them respect the run. This is not in Auburn’s favor. However, Auburn’s defense is not too bad either. I expect both offenses to try and figure out how to move the ball against one another. In the end, experience and schedule of play are what comes to my mind in figuring out who wins in this game. The advantage there goes to Auburn.
Auburn: 35 Washington: 24 (Auburn -1.5; Over)