The Week 6 matchup in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is pivotal for both teams involved. On one hand, you have the Georgia Bulldogs, who are coming off a national championship.
In the last two weeks, they have looked mortal against Kent State and Missouri. They could flex their muscles and prove the last two games were nothing more than a blip on the radar. On the other hand, we have the visitors who are looking to turn things back into their favor and snap a five-game skid in the series.
It is no secret that the Auburn Tigers’ offense has struggled this season. Through five games, the unit ranks No. 13 in the SEC in points per game against Power Five opponents. Harsin’s calling card has been offense and this week he is tasked with scoring on the SEC’s top defense. They surrender just 10.8 points per game.
It will take a Herculean effort against Kirby Smart’s defense.
Offensive Rankings under Bryan Harsin
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
2021-22 Rankings in the SEC against Power Five opponents. Rankings are listed in parentheses.
The numbers look comparable to last season’s team that finished 6-7 after the bowl game loss to the Houston Cougars. The performance on the field along with Auburn’s recruiting efforts are why Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports has the head coach at the top of his hot seat rankings.
Unfortunately, Harsin is a veteran of this space. He was third behind Frost and Edwards on the initial list. At some point, being the Auburn coach becomes less about the job you’re doing and more about those shadowy rich dudes in who decide your fate. Harsin did himself no favors in a 29-point loss to Penn State. Then that clunky game against Missouri almost felt like a loss. A home loss against LSU certainly did not help. The next two are at Georgia and red-hot Ole Miss. This is painful to say: Harsin might not make it to Halloween of Year 2
Another indictment for Bryan Harsin has to be the performance of Bo Nix with the Oregon Ducks.
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Following the performance against Georgia to open the season, we have seen a very different Bo Nix. He is among the top quarterbacks in the nation through five games with his new team. A performance that is very much needed on the Plains after what we have seen from T.J. Finley, Robby Ashford, and Holden Geriner to start the season.
Bo Nix at Auburn in ’21 vs Bo Nix at Oregon in ’22
Auburn (10 Games)
Oregon (5 Games)
Current Auburn QBs
Why is Bo Nix having so much success in Eugene? Quite simply he is having the best season of his career since his freshman season. That year his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach was Kenny Dillingham. Who did first-year head coach Dan Lanning put in charge of his offense? Yes, Kenny Dillingham.
As far as Harsin, he is a coach known for offensive prowess but when you look at this football team, his unit has become a liability to winning football games. Just look at how they play in the second half of football games.