No. 11 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 16 Auburn Tigers
TV: ABC; Line: Auburn -3; Over/Under: 56
Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m.; AT&T Stadium; Arlington, Texas
Beating the Auburn Tigers was a coming out party for Tennessee football last year under Jeremy Pruitt and something that made Gus Malzahn’s seat hotter than ever. However, the Tigers enter this year on a mission to prove something after finishing the season with a 63-14 bowl win over the Purdue Boilermakers.
They will be the first program in the SEC put to the test as well. Auburn is facing an Oregon Ducks team that went 9-4 last year and is now in its second season under head coach Mario Cristobal. Oregon has lots of hype with the return of so much talent on both sides of the ball, most notably star quarterback Justin Herbert.
However, despite losing Jarrett Stidham, Auburn has a ton of talent returning up front, which matters the most. And they are making the bold move of starting a true freshman at quarterback in this game, Bo Nix. What difference will that make, if any?
Despite the quarterback advantage for Oregon, Malzahn has a ton of returning talent in the trenches. And in a season-opening game at a neutral site when skill guys aren’t in rhythm yet, that’s a huge difference. It propels Auburn to a close victory. They cover the spread, and the game hits the over because of the tempo of both teams.