SEC Power Rankings: Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia All in the Title Hunt

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Apr 20, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn cheerleaders wave the flag following a touchdown during their A-Day spring game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

13. Auburn Tigers

Last Season: 3-9 (0-8)

Key Addition: Gus Malzahn

Key Word: Spread


Two years removed from a national championship, Auburn fired head coach Gene Chizik after a disaster of a season in 2012. In to save the day comes Gus Malzahn, who was Auburn’s offensive coordinator in their national championship year and the head coach of the Sun Belt champions Arkansas State last season.

Malzahn brings an offensive philosophy that is known to work in the SEC, and a pedigree of grooming quarterbacks. The hope is with improved offensive play and an Ellis Johnson lead defense that Auburn can get back into the national title conversation sooner rather than later.

Like Kentucky, Auburn is going to have to whether to 2013 storm before hope starts arriving in the form of a top 20 recruiting class. But unlike Kentucky, Auburn has a navigable non-conference schedule that should help bad their season record. And if they can manage to pick off a couple of SEC games, they could backdoor their way into a bowl game. Finding those two SEC games is going to be tough though.

If Auburn is going to win those games it is going to be because they are matching their offensive personnel with an offensive scheme that makes sense. Malzahn’s return means a return to the spread offense, which should mean an improvement from their 114th ranked offense from last season. Players like Ricardo Louis, Quan Bray, and Trovon Reed could all benefit from the scheme change.