Auburn Tigers 2016 Football Schedule and Analysis

Auburn opens with College Football Playoff runner-up Clemson at home and finishes its slate with defending national champion Alabama on the road

Auburn was arguably the most disappointing team in college football in 2015. The Tigers were predicted to win the SEC championship during SEC Media Days and considered by many to contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

 

Instead, Auburn finished last in the SEC West with a 7-6 (2-6 SEC) overall record. The Tigers ranked next to last (13th) among SEC teams in total defense in Will Muschamp's only season as defensive coordinator. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson also failed to live up to expectations as a preseason Heisman hopeful.

 

Related: Auburn Tigers 2016 Spring Football Preview

 

But Auburn could see a turnaround this season with an improved roster, despite facing a tough SEC West schedule. Here's a look at the Tigers' entire 2016 schedule.

 

2016 Auburn Tigers Schedule


Bye: Week 7

 

Wk Opp. Date Location
1.

Sept. 3

9 PM ET

ESPN

Auburn, AL

Battle of the Tigers Auburn's season kicks off with a matchup against ACC Champion Clemson, which fell five points short of a national championship in January. Obviously, this will be a tough test for Auburn coming off a last-place finish in the SEC West and Clemson will be a heavy favorite.

2.

Sept. 10

7:30 PM ET

SECN

Auburn, AL

Gus Malzahn coached at Arkansas State before taking over at Auburn in 2013. Beyond that, this should be an easy matchup for the Tigers. However, last season's game against Jacksonville State proved that no opponent should be taken lightly, especially a winning program like the Red Wolves, which are coming off a 9-4 (8-0 Sun Belt) finish in 2015. Still, the Tigers should be a heavy favorite leading up to kickoff.

3.

Sept. 17

7 PM ET

ESPN/ESPN2

Auburn, AL

Malzahn and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin both enter 2016 on the hot seat, which would seem strange when they were two of the SEC's fastest rising coaches early in their tenures. This matchup will be crucial for both their job security and the SEC West standings.

4. Sept. 24 Auburn, AL

Auburn was decimated by Leonard Fournette during a historic 228-yard, three-touchdown performance in Death Valley last year. Fournette should be even better as a junior and Auburn's defense will have a tough time stopping him once again in 2016.

5. Oct. 1 Auburn, AL

ULM finished with a 2-11 overall record and was 1-7 against Sun Belt teams. This should be an easy win for Auburn.

6. Oct. 8 Starkville, MS

Mississippi State has the misfortune of having to replace Dak Prescott, the best player in program history. In total, the Bulldogs will lose seven players to the NFL Draft. Although this matchup could be competitive, Auburn should have the upper hand.

8. Oct. 22 Auburn, AL

Arkansas is a tough team to predict. Many expected the Razorbacks to be a contender in the SEC West last preseason. They answered by dropping three consecutive games in September before winning seven of their last nine, including a 54-46 overtime win over Auburn on Oct. 24. This should remain a competitive matchup with both teams vying for contention in a tough SEC West.

9. Oct. 29 Oxford, MS

Ole Miss has improved during each of Hugh Freeze's first four seasons. Many expect the Rebels to continue their success despite losing Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, three of the top prospects from their program-changing 2013 recruiting class. But Ole Miss still has Chad Kelly, the SEC's 2015 passing leader, and return plenty of talent on defense. The Rebels may not be as good as they were in 2015, but should remain a tough matchup.

10. Nov. 5 Auburn, AL

Vanderbilt's defense made drastic improvements in Derek Mason's second season as head coach. However, its offense -- aside from standout running back Ralph Webb -- has failed to follow suit. If the Commodores can find stability in their passing attack they may be a surprise team. Either way, Vandy's defense should provide a surprisingly tough matchup.

11. Nov. 12 Athens, GA

Georgia fired Mark Richt, the second-winningest coach in school history, last season despite an eventual 10-win season. That's how high expectations are based on the current roster's level of talent. If Kirby Smart lives up to the lofty expectations set by being one of the nation's top assistants, the Bulldogs should be a legitimate contender in the SEC.

12. Nov. 19 Auburn, AL

Auburn should win this game fairly easily and by a rather large margin.

13. Nov. 26 Tuscaloosa, AL

Iron Bowl Regardless of the records, this remains Alabama and Auburn's biggest game of the year. Even if the Crimson Tide weren’t coming off a national championship this game would still be one of the biggest in college football. That additional factor makes it even more prestigious. Auburn managed to challenge the Tide for most of last year's matchup, despite falling 29-13 late. If the Tigers show improvement in 2016, this year's Iron Bowl should be even more entertaining.

 

— Written by Jason Hall, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and works for Fox Sports Florida. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhallFSN.

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