With it now being ten days to the kickoff between the Clemson Tigers and your Auburn Tigers, I wanted to do something related to the number ten today. I didn’t want to do another countdown because I’ve done that before and before. So instead, I decided to look back at the last ten years worth of Auburn’s opening games. You know, since we’re, like, coming up on the opener and all.
For multiple reasons — like losses, quality of opponent, or quality of wins — Auburn’s last ten season-opening games have not been that great. They’ve actually been pretty bad, or boring, or bad. I can say that because I was lucky enough to attend them all. Let’s take a look.
2002 – at USC – L (17-24) – What they say about people in L.A. not caring about football is true. After only being out there a few days, I found that it was almost impossible to get into the game. The only thing I remember about it is Carson Palmer slowly driving down the field to break the tie score with a little over a minute to go. Auburn played good enough to win, which is more than we can say about the next year’s match-up with the Trojans.
2003 – USC – L (0-23) – Auburn came into the season ranked #1 by some publications. They would go on to take three games to score a single touchdown. This meeting with USC was one of the worst games I’ve ever seen in Jordan-Hare. Stupid Nallsminger offense…
2005 – Georgia Tech – L (14-23) – Somehow, Georgia Tech managed to play Auburn sandwiched around their best season in a decade. They got to play them in the debacle that was 2003, and lit up new starter Brandon Cox in the 2005 opener. I remember interceptions. Interceptions everywhere. Four to be exact.
2006 – Washington State – W (40-14) – For some reason I was slightly worried about this game before it started. Then I forgot that Washington State was terrible. We also learned that Kenny Irons was good. I think the Cougars return to Jordan-Hare in a few years with the pirate at the helm. A96 provides some highlights.
2007 – Kansas State – W (23-13) – Easily the best opener on the list in terms of excitement. It probably shouldn’t have been as exciting as it was since we thought the game wouldn’t be that close. Instead, Auburn played pretty badly until they had to make a big stop at the end. Quentin Groves’s hit and forced fumble on Josh Freeman sealed it.
2008 – UL-Monroe – W (34-0) – Yeah, another cupcake on a hot day. One of the few simple wins from that season though.
2009 – Louisiana Tech – W (37-13) – The Chizik era began with a respectable opponent. It was night, it was humid, and everybody fell in love with Chris Todd after bashing him the year before. Watching the Malzahn offense was very fun, so this wasn’t exactly the snoozer that the level of opponent suggested.
2010 – Arkansas State – W (52-26) – Allowing 26 points was a little scary, but the introduction to Cam Newton more than calmed my nerves. Before we knew who he would be, Cam took the game over and showed us a taste of what we would see for the rest of the season. In that respect, the opponent meant nothing in this one as well. It was fun to watch. A96 has a pretty good highlight video here.
2011 – Utah State – W (42-38) – Yeah, a win’s a win, but dang. What was supposed to be a nice, easy “get your feet wet” game for the Cam-less Tigers turned into one of the toughest games of the season. It was very depressing, but also very exciting at the end at least. I don’t remember going that crazy in a long time. You can watch the whole game here by the way.
Of the last ten openers, Auburn has played at home nine times, winning seven of those. That’s not too bad I guess. The Tigers have opened on the road once in the last decade, the loss at USC. There have been no neutral games to start the season, but as we know, that’s coming. Given the proximity, and the amount of Clemson tickets being bought by Auburn fans, I have feeling it’s going to feel like a home game. Let’s just hope the respectable opponent/opening game jinx doesn’t hit them.