AUBURN, Ala. — The beginning of the college football season looked grim for Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and his Tigers.
Then Auburn traveled to Starkville for the first SEC road game of the year, and things changed.
After dominating the Bulldogs 38-14 on the road, Auburn earned a spot at No. 23 in the AP Top 25 poll released Monday afternoon.
Seven SEC teams are ranked this week, including Alabama at No. 1, followed by Texas A&M (6), Tennessee (9), Ole Miss (12), Florida (18) and Arkansas (22).
Auburn opened the season with a loss to then-No.2 Clemson and a loss to then No. 17 Texas A&M. The Tigers were 1-2 before reeling off three consecutive wins vs. LSU, Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi State.
The Tigers return to conference play following a bye week, taking on Arkansas Oct. 22. The Razorbacks dropped six spots in the poll from 16 to 22 following a 49-30 loss to No. 1 Alabama.
The following week (Oct. 29), Auburn travels to Oxford, Miss., to play Ole Miss.
Last season Auburn began the year ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll before dropping to No. 18 in Week 3 and sliding out of the Top 25 altogether by the end of the year.
Auburn has been ranked in the Top 25 a total of 533 times since 1936.