Coaches will tell you that every game, no matter the opponent, brings a different challenge.
While we understand they say this to keep their team focused, there are some games that are just going to be more difficult than others.
In 2021, Auburn faces a gauntlet of a schedule with trips to Penn State, LSU and Texas A&M while hosting Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss.
But which games should be the easiest for the Tigers in Bryan Harsin’s first year and which ones will provide more difficulty? Glad you asked. Here is a game-by-game ranking of each opponent on Auburn’s 2021 schedule, starting with the easiest.
Note: Scale runs from 1 (easiest) to 10 (hardest).
12. Alabama State
Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
The only question that should exist for this game is what sort of amazing show will the Alabama State Marching Band puts on. The Hornets will be no match for Auburn in Week 2. Difficulty Ranking: 0.5
Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics How will the Tigers fare in Harsin's first game in charge? Luckily, Auburn starts off with the Zips who finished 1-5 last year in a shortened MAC schedule. Expect the Tigers to run away from Akron early. Difficulty Ranking: 1.0
10. Georgia State
Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
On Saturday, I explained why the visit from the Panthers could be a trap as trips to Penn State and LSU surround the matchup. If Auburn is focused, it should be a good win. If not, this game could be closer than expected. Difficulty Ranking: 2.5
9. Mississippi State
Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
This is no respect to the Bulldogs who will likely improve in Mike Leach's second season in Starkville. It is just a sign of the opponents that follow and how tough the schedule is. Leach has a quarterback battle on his hands heading into the season but that is a good thing for State. Difficulty Ranking: 4.0
8. South Carolina
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Bo Nix played the worst game of his career against the Gamecocks in a shocking loss last season in Columbia and will have to travel to the same stadium, this time in front of a full capacity. Revenge will be on the Auburn quarterback's mind. Difficulty Ranking: 4.5
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A full Razorbacks Stadium expects to await the Tigers and the Hogs will be out for blood after having a blown call cost them an upset of Auburn last season. Difficulty Ranking: 5.5
6. Penn State
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
This game would be much higher if more than 100,000 people were going to fill Beaver Stadium but that doesn't seem to be the case. Penn State struggled early last season but gained some momentum to close out the year. Either way, this will be a huge non-conference game for both teams. Difficulty Ranking: 7
5. Ole Miss
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The Lane Kiffin Show comes to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 30 and that means a high-octane offense that will give Auburn fits. Yet will the Rebels be able to stop anyone this year? That has been a question for some time now. Difficulty Ranking: 7.5
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Much like Arkansas, LSU will be out for revenge after getting crushed by the Tigers last season in Jordan-Hare to a score of 48-11. Auburn has yet to win a game in Baton Rouge since 1999 and that streak will be difficult to break yet again. Difficulty Ranking: 8
3. Texas A&M
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Can Auburn's success at Kyle Field continue? The Tigers have yet to lose to the Aggies in College Station but Texas A&M, led by running back Isaiah Spiller, will be competing for a SEC West title again. Difficulty Ranking: 9.0
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
The reigning national champions must replace their Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver in DeVonta Smith and Heisman finalist quarterback Mac Jones, but the Crimson Tide have become a machine under Nick Saban. Auburn has won the last two against the Tide in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Can Harsin continue that run? Difficulty Ranking: 9.5
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No team, not even Alabama, has dominated Auburn the way Georgia has over the past eight years. During that time, the Tigers are 2-7 against the rival Bulldogs and Kirby Smart has his team ready for a shot at the national title once again. Difficulty Ranking: 10.0