AUBURN, Ala. — It’s another week, another top-10 projection for an Auburn football team that is quickly picking up hype on a national level.
On Monday, Athlon Sports released its preseason Top 25 for 2017, and Auburn came in at No. 9 in the country. The Tigers are the second-highest SEC team behind Alabama, which led the rankings at No. 1.
“The Tigers are the biggest threat to Alabama in the SEC,” Athlon’s Steven Lassan wrote. “With the addition of former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham, the offense now has a difference-maker under center to go with one of the conference’s top ground attacks.”
Since the start of spring on the Plains, Auburn football has received top-10 projections from Bill Connelly’s S&P+ ratings system, ESPN’s Football Power Index and ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. While the Tigers started in the middle of most way-too-early Top 25 rankings in January, they’re now near or in the top 10 in most of them.
A lot of that added hype has to do with Stidham, who performed well during practices and the annual A-Day spring game. While he hasn’t been officially named the starting quarterback, Stidham is viewed as the key for Auburn to unlock its full potential in 2017.
“Stidham impressed this spring and possesses the arm strength and accuracy to open up the passing game downfield,” Lassan wrote. “He’s also surrounded by a cast of promising playmakers on the outside, including sophomore Nate Craig-Myers.”
Lassan noted three important game for the Tigers’ title hopes in 2017 — Sept. 9 at defending national champion Clemson, Oct. 14 at LSU and Nov. 25 vs. Alabama. The Tigers went 1-2 against these opponents last season, and they’ll go for their first road win at LSU since 1999.
Here is Athlon Sports’ full top 10:
- Ohio State
- Florida State
- Southern Cal
- Penn State