When it comes to playing football in the SEC, every week is a grind.
A win or loss at a crucial point of the season could be the difference between a team winning their division, earning a bowl bid, or even a coach keeping their job.
Brad Crawford of 247sports recently listed his top 12 “swing games” for the SEC, and then ranked them according to importance. Auburn is only featured once on the list, with the Iron Bowl checking in at No. 11 in the rankings.
Crawford says that this game is important solely because Auburn could be fighting for that much-needed sixth win in order to become bowl eligible. Another tight game with Alabama could make the difference in head coach Bryan Harsin’s future as well.
“The Iron Bowl is this far back on the list following last season’s unexpected four-overtime classic? This is more of a projection than anything, but Auburn could be fighting for bowl eligibility against the Crimson Tide during the final weekend of November. Bryan Harsin is on the SEC’s hottest seat and his future on the Plains will likely be determined by what happens before the Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa this fall and take on Alabama.”
Most of the national media is giving Harsin a snowball’s chance to keep his job by the time December rolls around. But, as we have seen many times in Auburn football history, it seems that the teams with the least amount of expectations are the ones that are the most surprising.
Sure, Crawford’s projection could be correct, but there is also a chance that Harsin finds success on the field and recruiting trail, meaning that his seat is a little cooler by the time the game in Tuscaloosa comes around.
For the complete list of 247sports’ 12 biggest swing games in 2022, see below:
12. Tennessee at LSU, Oct. 8
CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 01: A detailed view of a helmet worn by the Tennessee Volunteers before their game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Bank of America Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
11. Auburn at Alabama, Nov. 26
Dec 28, 2021; Birmingham, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin during the first half of the 2021 Birmingham Bowl against Houston at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
10. South Carolina at Arkansas, Sept. 10
South Carolina Head Coach Shane Beamer speaks to the media during SEC Media Days at the Hyatt Regency in Hoover, Ala., Monday, July 19, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Sec Media Days Ed Orgeron
9. Georgia at Kentucky, Nov. 19
Sep 4, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart talks with an official during the second half against the Clemson Tigers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
8. Ole Miss at Texas A&M, Oct. 29
Texas A&M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher speaks in the main media room in the Hyatt Regency during SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., Wednesday, July 21, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Sec Media Days Texas A&M
7. Alabama at Tennessee, Oct. 15
AUBURN, ALABAMA – NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts during pregame warmups prior to facing the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
6. Georgia vs. Florida (Jacksonville), Oct. 29
Nov 20, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; A general view of a Florida Gators helmet against the Missouri Tigers during the game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
5. Alabama at LSU, Nov. 5
Dec 1, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers football head coach Brian Kelly speaks to the fans at halftime between the LSU Tigers and the Ohio Bobcats at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
4. Florida at Tennessee, Sept. 24
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
3. Alabama at Arkansas, Oct. 1
Nov 26, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) runs with the ball during the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
2. Tennessee at Georgia, Nov. 5
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
1. Texas A&M at Alabama, Oct. 8
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher andAlabama head coach Nick Saban chat at midfield before the Alabama vs. Texas A&M game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday September 22, 2018.