Gus Malzahn and Auburn are taking on all comers in 2018, but the degree of difficulty in the Tigers’ upcoming schedule might be even stronger than expected.
Auburn begins the season against Washington, the Pac-12 champion last season, and plays LSU in September. The final month of the season, which always ends with an Iron Bowl rivalry game, brings visits to Alabama and Georgia, the teams that played for national title in January.
“It’s a man’s schedule. Once again, I feel like we have the toughest schedule in college football,” Malzahn said at SEC Media Days in Atlanta. “To win the (SEC) West, you’ve got to beat (Alabama). That’s just part of the job description at Auburn.”
Malzahn felt like Auburn was “very close” to being in college football’s final four last
season — beating a pair of No. 1-ranked teams, Georgia and Alabama, but history doesn’t remember near misses.
“There is a fine line between winning a championship and almost winning a championship,” Malzahn said. “We were in the almost category last year. We have to find a way to take that next step. You know what you are getting into with that schedule.”
Malzahn has 14 starters back and said the key to the team this season could be the offensive line. They’ll protect returning quarterback Jarrett Stidham, whose name is showing up on several watchlists for awards, including Heisman Trophy discussion.
“I’m just worried abut being the best quarterback for the Tigers,” Stidham said.
–Field Level Media