Auburn Tigers vs. Utah St. Aggies
The 2010 National Champion Auburn Tigers open defense of their crown as they host the Utah State Aggies. The Tigers are -21.5 favorites over the Aggies with an over/under point total set at 53.
It’s been a wild ride for the Auburn Tigers as they were barely mentioned last season for any kind of post season honors but they took home the crystal, Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy, and Newton and Nick Fairly were among the top players picked in the NFL Draft. This season Gene Chizik’s team will have to come from nowhere once again to be playing in a BCS bowl game as they have lost a ton on both sides of the ball and while the cupboard isn’t bare, this looks to be playing for a day a year from now. Barrett Trotter is slated to take over at QB and he’ll get help as Michael Dyer is back at Running Back is is Onterio McCalebb . At Wide Receiver last year’s stars are gone but it’s spot that Chizik has recruited well and as some senior leadership with Quindarius Carr and juniors Emory Blake and DeAngelo Benton though Trovon Reed should contribute at the very least. The word that best describes the Tigers defense is depleted as they have just three returning starters. It will be all Sophomores across the DL led by Nosa Eguae while Daren Bates leads the linebackers and Neiko Thorpe leads the secondary. This is a team that is loaded with talent, how fast it all comes together is the question.
The Utah State Aggies have a chance to be one of the bigger surprises this season and while it won’t be a surprise to the extent Auburn took it to last season, it could be a pretty decent year in Logan. It’s year three for Head Coach Gary Anderson who came over after being a coordinator at Utah and while last year his team was weak, they were depleted by injuries. On Offense the Aggies return seven starters from a year ago and while one of them isn’t at QB, and the position still is somewhat undecided, it looks like Adan Kennedy will get a shot but freshman Chuckie Keeton isn’t far behind. Another player who wasn’t a starter a year ago is Robert Turbin, the Running Back who was injured last season but rushed for 1,296 yards and 18 touchdowns two seasons ago and Wide Receivers Matt Austin, Stanley Morrison, and Eric Moats all can play. Anderson was the Defensive Coordinator at Utah and out of necessity he has taken over that role for USU as the Aggies were scorched last season for 33.8 points per game. Linebacker Bobby Wagner is the WAC’s reigning leading tackler for the past two seasons and Quinn Garner and Walter McClenton are a pair of the five Seniors slated to start on defense.
Auburn is 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as a home favorite, 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games against WAC teams, and 1-5 against the spread in their last six games as a favorite of 10.5 or more. Utah State is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven non-conference games, 12-3-1 against the spread in their last 16 games as a road underdog of 10.5 or more, and 10-4-1 against the spread in their last 15 road games.
I can see Auburn’s speedy backs running up and down the field here and I don’t love this game because I can also Utah State moving the ball and putting up enough points for the backdoor cover. I won’t be touching this one as I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Auburn starches the Aggies either but they points just look too tempting to pass on.
Utah St. +21.5 Auburn