aubiefifty 12,914 Posted October 24, 2017 Share Posted October 24, 2017 Sports AL.com All-Access: Don't jump back on the Gus Bus just yet Posted on October 23, 2017 at 9:58 AM 13 Gallery: Auburn defense holds off Arkansas 249 shares By Kevin Scarbinsky email@example.com As you know by now, Auburn went to Arkansas over the weekend, and Gus Malzahn made himself right at home. He spanked Bret Bielema for the fourth time in five meetings, pulling the Tigers together nicely after the LSU collapse. Of course he did. This is what Malzahn does. This is who he is. He doesn't lose to bad teams, and often he bullies them, tricking you into thinking his team is better than it really is. With a bye week ahead, Auburn at 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the SEC will enter November with a chance to win the SEC West at least. It's the fourth time in his five years as head coach Malzahn has put the Tigers in contention two months into the season. That's the good news, but before you jump back on the Gus Bus, you should be aware of a startling stat. In its last 10 SEC games against teams that finished the season with nine or more wins, Auburn is 1-9. That's not the end of the world or a coaching tenure, but you can see it from there. Auburn avoids mistake vs. Arkansas that cost LSU game One week removed from a disastrous second half against LSU, Auburn had its highest-scoring quarter of the season after halftime against Arkansas. That run of Malzahn and his team getting put in their place by the big dogs started with the 2014 season. When's the last time Auburn beat an SEC team that finished with nine or more wins? Nov. 1, 2014 at Ole Miss. The Tigers have lost their last eight games against SEC teams that would finish the season with nine or more wins. That streak includes three losses to Alabama, two losses to Georgia and one loss each to LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State teams headed to nine wins or more. ADVERTISING Which means the Tigers have not been at their best against the better teams on the schedule. Who's left on Auburn's SEC schedule? Texas A&M, which is now 5-2, 7-0 Georgia and 8-0 Alabama. The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide each should blow past the nine-win mark with ease. The improving Aggies have a shot to avoid their own typical late-season collapse. It sounds like a clever oversimplification to say that Auburn is a program that's good against bad teams and bad against good teams, but the numbers don't lie. Statistically speaking: AU 29th total, scoring offense Auburn is in the top 30 in both total and scoring offense. Hanging 52 points and 629 yards on defenseless Arkansas means little in the big picture. That picture won't change until Auburn can put one more point on the scoreboard than Georgia or Alabama or both. If Auburn is going to end this negative trend, if it's going to turn the Iron Bowl into the SEC West Championship Game for the first time since 2013, it'll have to beat both Texas A&M and Georgia. One of those tasks looks a lot more doable than the other. Narratives can change, and Malzahn has given himself the opportunity once again to change his own. If he is who the last three years have shown him to be, Auburn may win in College Station, but the Tigers will have no prayer at Amen Corner. Sports Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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