Michaels: Auburn lands at 8 on preseason top-10 list

John Michaels will count down from 10 to 1 each day over the next two weeks...

John Michaels
August 06, 2018 - 9:15 am
Auburn Tigers quarterback Jarrett Stidham

© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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Moving up the top-10 list is a team who had the playoffs in its sights in 2017 but fizzled in the last two weeks, and now has a lot to prove in 2018.

Positives: Jarrett Stidham grew into the quarterback job in Year 1. After taking a beating versus Clemson in Game 2, the first-year starter rebounded and finished with 3,158 and 18 scores. He should be even better in Year 2 under Gus Malzahn. Auburn returns the top five receivers, led by Ryan Davis, who had 84 receptions and 815 receiving yards last year. Defensively, the Tigers return seven starters on defense. Middle linebacker Deshaun Davis returns as the leading tackler with 82 stops in 2017.

Negatives: Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway are gone out of the backfield, which leaves a void. Tray Matthews also will be a loss in the secondary. The schedule leaves no room for error with games versus Washington, LSU, at Mississippi State, at UGA and at Alabama.

Best case scenario… Auburn is back in the SEC Title game….worst case Auburn loses five games.

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