With transfer QB Jarrett Stidham firmly in place on The Plains, the hype train for Auburn as an SEC contender in 2017 is getting ready to leave the station before this fall. And it sounds like you may be able to count SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland among those who are buying in on the Tigers.
The former LSU defensive tackle, who now serves as an ESPN studio analyst, had some very positive things to say about Auburn on Monday.
“If Stidham is what he was at Baylor, I’m buying into Auburn,” McFarland told Barrett Sallee on SEC: Smothered and Covered. “Because I think their defense is going to be pretty good. Linebackers are going to be young, but the front four could be the best in the SEC. The secondary, I think, still has some pieces that (Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele) likes, he just doesn’t quite know where to put them at yet. So I think, overall, if that front four is as good as advertised that defense will be legit.
“Offensively, Auburn has always been able to score some points even without a quarterback. Now, if Stidham can throw the football, you start talking about Nate Craig-Myers and some of the receivers they have. And, oh by the way, remember the tailback they had last year that nobody wanted to hit.”
McFarland, of course, is referring to Kamryn Pettway, who ran for 1,224 yards on 209 carries last season.
“When it’s all said and done, Auburn is a team that may not win the media days and all the preseason hype, but I’d be scared to play them around about the middle of October.”
Auburn finished second in the SEC West last season on its way to a Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma to cap an 8-5 campaign. While the acquisition of Stidham is certain to help, will it be enough to push the Tigers ahead of the Crimson Tide in the SEC West standings for the first time since 2013? Time will tell that story.
You can listen to Booger McFarland’s conversation with Barrett Sallee here: