SEC MD17 4: Scouting Auburn

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Auburn coach Gus Malzahn
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn speaks during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering Thursday in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Auburn Coach: Gus Malzahn, fifth season (44-21 overall, 35-18 at Auburn).
Last year: 8-5 overall, 5-3 in the SEC (T-2nd in the West). Lost to Oklahoma 35-19 in the Sugar Bowl.
Best case scenario: Quarterback Jarrett Stidham, the highly publicized transfer from Baylor, turns out to be as good as expected and the offense is one of the most potent and most balanced in the league. Put it with a fast, physical and improving defense, and the Tigers are good enough to beat anyone in the West, even Alabama.
Worst case scenario: The Tigers get off to a promising start, including a win at Clemson, but then get tripped up by a difficult road schedule that includes consecutive games against LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M, followed with a home game against Georgia. And, of course, Alabama is sitting there at the end of the schedule.
Quotable: “Probably the biggest thing that’s standing out to me about this team, is that they’re hungry. They’re hungry and they’ve got something to prove. And really the last time I felt this was 2013. So that’s a good comfort for me. I mean, obviously, we’ve got a challenging schedule. We’ve got some great teams in our league. We play the defending national champions on the road week two.” — Malzahn