Always easier said than done, right?
Auburn football has had its ups and downs in fall camp, sure. There are a ton of negative things that you could point at. Coaches are out with COVID-19, the offense is not performing, Nix has still been struggling with his decision-making and Auburn Twitter is currently on fire.
There are a ton of good things happening around this program as well.
Let’s take a second and try to spin these last few days before kickoff positively.
We’ve seen Auburn perform at its best when it has plenty of questions entering the season. Why can’t 2021 be any different?
Here are five reasons Auburn will win the SEC in 2021.
1. Tank Bigsby
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn should have it's first 1,000-yard rusher since Kerryon Johnson in 2017. Bigsby will be the focal point of this offense, and that's a very good thing. He's Auburn's true dark horse for the Heisman.
2. The secondary is improved
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Auburn's defense was not the best in terms of passing yards allowed per game (242.6) and third-down conversion defense (50.3%, 120th nationally). But the secondary is loaded in 2021. Transfers Bydarrius Knighten, Dreshun Miller and Donovan Kaufman bolster a unit that already has NFL talent Roger McCreary and Smoke Monday. Expect this unit to be one of the best in the country.
3. The offensive scheme is more efficient
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Bryan Harsin and Mike Bobo bring in a new offensive scheme that does three things: makes the passing routes more complex, helps Bo Nix make better decisions and makes the running game downhill. Auburn's run game will not be stretches and sweeps on the edge. Instead, it will go between the tackles more often. The passing game has been inefficient under Nix, especially on the road. Auburn's new scheme will give him more options, especially when the play breaks down. The Tigers may not score in bunches this fall, but they will not be stalling and forcing the ball into coverage like last season.
4. Everyone in the SEC West has question marks
Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin helps Auburn wide receiver Ja'Varrius Johnson (6) with his face mask during Auburn football A-Day spring game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama, on Saturday, April 17, 2021.
Auburn is one of two SEC West teams to return a quarterback that started every game in 2020. The experience at the position will help Auburn in its 50/50 games (LSU, Texas A&M and Penn State). Alabama has question marks on offense. Texas A&M has a completely new offensive line and new quarterback. LSU had one of the worst defenses in the country last season and is trying to get its backup quarterback Max Johnson ready for the opener against UCLA. Ole Miss has major defensive issues and lost much of its receiving production for an offense that likes to sling the ball around. Arkansas is a year or so away from truly making a run at an 8-plus win season. Mississippi State's offense is so bad it may struggle to put up more than 21 per game in SEC play. If there was a year for Auburn to surprise everyone, especially with all of the returning production, it would be 2021.
5. Auburn gets Georgia and Alabama at home
Auburn linebacker Zakoby McClain (35) snags a pick six in the third quarter.
It doesn't get simpler than this. Auburn gets its two biggest rivals at home in a year when everyone is counting them out. It spells disaster for the rest of the conference.