The Southeastern Conference revealed its seven opening weekend football games on Monday, and Auburn must be furious.
The Tigers got absolutely hosed when the SEC announced Kentucky as Auburn’s opponent in Jordan-Hare Stadium for the season opener. Auburn has known for six years that it would have to play Kentucky in 2020, but today the game was moved from October 3 (Week 5) to the first game of the season, in place of Alcorn State.
For Auburn, this means lining up with one of the league’s most experienced teams with little time to prepare. Kentucky’s locker room is full of familiar faces, like at quarterback and on the offensive line, where UK is strongest. The Big Blue Wall is back and considered one of the best offensive lines in the entire nation, while Auburn will play its first game without defensive linemen Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. Brown was the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year last season and the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft; Davidson a four-year starter and four-time SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, picked in the second round. Their replacements will need to be ready right away.
Speaking of linemen, Cole Cubelic, a former Auburn offensive lineman himself, thinks Kentucky is better. He said so on Twitter two days ago and Cole Cubelic knows his football.
MY 2020 SEC power rankings: pic.twitter.com/HucOkIqMCE
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) August 15, 2020
Just wanted to get that in so you don’t forget.
Also adding to Auburn’s troubles, home field advantage is gone and there is a big difference in playing Auburn in front of 100,000 screaming fans and playing Auburn in front of some old guy they named a building after and the players’ immediate families. You want your difficult road games early and your difficult home games late. Auburn was given one of its tougher home games first.
You really hate to see it.
Then there’s of course that big ugly stat staring Auburn fans between the eyes: Kentucky hasn’t lost at Auburn in over 15 years. Morgan Newton and Will Fidler combined for 82 yards passing (9 for 22 and 0 touchdowns) the last time Kentucky played at Auburn, and Kentucky still won.
Now the SEC is making Auburn kick off its season against Mark Stoops’ Kentucky with Terry Wilson at QB, experience across the board and one of the conference’s best defenses.
Tough day to be an Auburn football fan.