Earlier today in a special surprise Wednesday announcement, the SEC released the entirety of the 2021 schedule and we got to see how things shake out for every team in the league.
For Auburn, we knew the opponents already — at least the non-conference group — but we didn’t know the order in which we’d take on our SEC foes. We knew of course that LSU would be on the road, and that we’d get Georgia/Alabama at home, but also that the Bulldogs would be coming to Auburn early in the season like this past year.
While the SEC Network tried to do a dramatic March Madness type of reveal, thankfully intrepid reporter Justin Ferguson was able to capture the fun before it was fully released.
So, here you go —
September 4th – Akron – Wow, we missed Terry Bowden coming back to coach on the Plains by one game. He left the Zips to go coach Louisiana-Monroe, but that would’ve been the only interesting thing about this game. No matter how different the team and the offense might look, Akron is terrible and this will be an easy start to 2021.
September 11th – Alabama State – Ditto above. It’s nice to give back to an in-state team when you’re paying someone a boatload to lose to you by 50 points, but the Hornets will be bad and Auburn will be 2-0.
September 18th – @ Penn State – The Nittany Lions were one of the wildest teams in 2020 thanks to their start and finish. PSU began the year by losing to Indiana in that hilarious overtime collapse, and started 0-5 before winning their final four games and finishing 4-5. They weren’t particularly good in any aspect, but it’ll be a trip to what may end up being a full Beaver Stadium for a new head coach’s first road game. At least we get a couple of warmup games before this.
September 25th – Georgia State – Repeat Games 1 & 2. Auburn will be 3-1 at worst here.
October 2nd – @ LSU – Okay, here we go. SEC play begins with a bang. Now, LSU was awful in 2020, and Auburn took advantage for the largest win in series history. However, the Tigers return almost everyone in 2021, and cannot be as bad as they were at times last season. Still, this will be Auburn’s best chance to get the elusive win in Baton Rouge, as they been ever so close the last two trips.
October 9th – Georgia – 2021 will be an important year for Kirby Smart, since the Bulldogs have steadily gotten further away from their 2017 SEC title. In 2018 they had a close loss in Atlanta. Then a blowout loss in 2019. Finally last year they didn’t even win the East. For Bryan Harsin, the two games that might make the biggest impact on his standing with the fanbase are the first two SEC contests. Break the Baton Rouge streak or beat Georgia… either one will get you a ton of credit.
October 16th – @ Arkansas – This team will be salivating to get Auburn at home after what transpired last season. The backward spike was the source of so much bacony ire, and another loss for the Hogs was tough to swallow. They’ll be better than they were last year, and Auburn is looking to stay roughly the same. Watch out after those first two huge conference matchups.
October 30th – Ole Miss – Lane Kiffin is back for more, and he’ll have a fun offense once again. Hopefully Derek Mason’s got the Tiger defense seasoned by this time, but thankfully it’s not sandwiched between a couple of huge games. Being at home helps as well.
November 6th – @ Texas A&M – The question here is if Jimbo can sustain what he built last season. What did A&M accomplish in the end? They were just outside of the Playoff picture, but ended up with a forgetful Orange Bowl win. Now, a bunch of talent is gone from College Station, and there’s very little to show for the work. This is a great spot to get the Aggies, since Auburn will at the very least be seasoned by this point and have the kinks worked out of the Harsin/Bobo attack.
November 13th – Mississippi State – Is Mike Leach still there? 2020 was so ridiculous with the way they beat LSU to start the year and then collapsed. The lasting Gus Malzahn image will be him dancing in a Starkville locker room like he’s Ryan Sterritt visiting his favorite SEC town. Instead, Leach visits Auburn for the second time and will have to show that his offense can work in this league.
November 20th – South Carolina – Revenge time. You know what they say… if you can’t beat ‘em, then use the loss to them to fire your coach and poach half of their coaching staff. We’ll see if it works, but at the very least most of these players will remember being miserable in Columbia.
November 27th – Alabama – Oh no. Thankfully they lost most of the terrors they had on offense, so we’ll just have to watch new ones come up in their place. Great. At least it’s at home.