Despite defeating Samford and improving to 3-0 on the season, the Auburn Tigers have dropped one spot in this week’s ESPN Power Football Index, falling from 25 to 26.
Auburn dismantled FCS opponent Samford on homecoming in week three, winning 45-13 off the back of quarterback Payton Thorne’s 405 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
The FPI ranks each college football team by a variety of factors; Strength of record, strength of schedule, offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, and overall efficiency.
Here’s a look at where the Tigers rank in several major categories in the ESPN FPI after their first 3-0 start since 2019.
Overall Ranking: No. 26
The Tigers have once again fallen in the FPI rankings despite a win.
Hugh Freeze’s team has played well this season, albeit against mostly subpar competition, and that has caused the FPI to look poorly on Auburn so far.
That could all change this week if they can go into College Station and upset Texas A&M in their first SEC test of 2023.
Strength of Record: No. 8
Auburn was ranked #3 in this category in week two but has fallen to #8 this week. That was bound to happen after the team welcomed in FCS opponent Samford for homecoming.
The Power Football index gave the Tigers a 98.7% chance of winning going into the game, so it’s no surprise the index isn’t give Auburn much credit at all after the win.
This week the FPI is giving Auburn a 33% chance to beat A&M, so a win could catapult the team back into the top 3.
Strength of Remaining Schedule: No. 3
Auburn was ranked #3 in remaining strength of schedule after week two and they remain there after this week.
They still have rival Alabama on their schedule too of course, as the Iron Bowl will be played November 25 in Jordan-Hare.
Overall Efficiency: No. 22
Auburn dropped eleven spots in overall efficiency from last week, falling from 11 to 22.
While the defense played well in week three and held Samford to 218 yards and 13 points, the Auburn offense struggled with turnovers, losing the turnover battle 3-2.
The 45-13 final score looks nice, but losing the turnover battle and only winning the time of possession by seven minutes is not very efficient football, especially against a FCS opponent.
Offensive Efficiency: No. 79
In terms of sheer yardage, Auburn’s offense put on a show in week three. Quarterback Payton Thorne had his best game as a Tiger, throwing for 282 yards and rushing for 123 more.
Wide receiver Jay Fair was good, catching seven passed for 93 yards.
While the running back room struggled, Thorne’s work on the ground made up for it.
The issue was Auburn once again coughing up the football. Losing the turnover battle is never a good thing. Losing the turnover battle to a FCS team is a horrible thing.
Ball security in week four will be imperative if the Tigers hope to upset Texas A&M.
Defensive Efficiency: No. 4
Auburn’s defense has been a revelation in 2023.
The unit ranks 14th in the nation and 2nd in the SEC in YPG allowed (264), 10th in the nation and third in the SEC in PPG allowed (12), and 17th in the nation and 2nd in the SEC in Pass Yards Allowed. (160.5)
It’s no surprise ESPN’s FPI has them ranked in the top five.