Power Ranking Auburn’s must-win games in 2012
Which are the must-win games for Auburn in 2012? Well, all of them, obviously. This post isn’t going to outline which rivalries are more important than the other, instead, it’s going to rank which games Chizik and co. have to win if they are to fend off any angry mobs that are eager for another head coach firing.
The Razorbacks have had our number as of late, and it’s about time we end it and start a streak of our own. Arkansas have been just above average since they entered the SEC, but now with Bobby Petrino gone, Chizik has a chance to build a winning streak of his own and make sure that they never sniff another win over us. There are no more excuses as to why we should lose to Arkansas this time we get them at home, up against an array of returning starters on both side of the ball. We’ve never had that much of an issue scoring points on Arkansas, but stopping them is the challenge. This is a must win in my eyes.
We had two fourteen point leads over this team last season on the road, and blew them both. There’s no telling how much better Clemson’s defence will be in this game, but I somehow can’t imagine we’ll have issues scoring on them. Another edge we have is the Willie Martinez factor – Martinez was on new Clemson DC Brent Venables’ staff last season at Oklahoma, so he might have a little bit on an input on what to expect. The Auburn defence will be eager to impress in the season opener.
This isn’t necessarily a must-win for Auburn, but there’s no reason why we should accept a loss either.
Like Arkansas, Georgia have also had our number as of late. They should be pretty good this year, but by the time we play them, our defense should be well improved and Brian VanGorder will be looking for blood against his former team. This will be a tough challenge, but beating Georgia is something that all gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling inside – having them at home doesn’t hurt us either.
Some will argue the point that Alabama should be higher on the list, and I can see the theory behind that, especially after last years drubbing. The Iron Bowl is always a must win, so that’s not really a point worth discussing. Anything can happen in this game, and I’m not overly worried since it’s the last game of the regular season, and even though our record in Bryant-Denny is pretty damn good, it’s still a tough road game, against a team that let’s face it, still has a lot of talent.
5. Texas A&M.
Every game counts, and getting a win against the new team in town wouldn’t hurt either. A&M will be coming into Jordan-Hare not knowing what to expect, but we can’t afford a slip up here. This just scream’s ‘trap game’.
I don’t hold much animosity towards LSU, but I’d be lying if I said last years
massacre loss didn’t hurt. I think we have a good shot at upsetting them, and LSU-Auburn games are always fun and unpredictable. LSU will be taking no prisoners after what happened in the Superdome, so there’s no doubt they will be ready for this one – I just hope we are too.
7. Miss. State.
Dan Mullen /yawn has yet to beat an SEC West team not named Ole Miss, and it should stay that way. We will be on the road in a tough, loud environment, but we haven’t lost to them since 2007, so I’m not that worried – although it’s only July. Nevertheless, it’s a team we should beat.
I don’t think I can take another loss to Vanderbilt. After what happened in 2008, Chizik should drum into the players the importance of not slipping up. James Franklin is a decent coach in his own right, and this win may not come easy.
9. Ole Miss.
Yes, it’s a road game, but it’s still Ole Miss.
10. ULM, 11. NMU, 12. Alabama A&M.
Through Auburn’s woes over the years, we’ve never made a habit of losing to teams like these, so I don’t expect it to happen.