Auburn Tigers Vs. Washington State Cougars 8/31/13 Free Pick
Washington State Cougars (0-0) at Auburn Tigers (0-0)
College Football: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm (Jordan-Hare Stadium)
The Line: Auburn Tigers -14.5 --- Over/Under: 59.5 See the Latest Odds
The Auburn Tigers and the Washington State Cougars face off on Saturday in a SEC-Pac-12 Matchup to start their 2013 seasons.
It was an offseason of change for the Auburn Tigers are National Championship winning Head Coach Gene Chizik was shown the door and Chizik’s former offensive coordinator and Arkansas State Head Coach Gus Malzahn was brought back to run the show. Malzahn was seen as the architect of the Cam Newton offense that brought the Tigers the National Championship just a few years ago. Last years starting QB Kiehl Frazier was moved to safety and Junior Nick Marshall is the new signal caller. Tre mason was Auburn’s leading rusher and he is back and should thrive under Malzahn. The Tigers’ receivers were non-existent last season but Travon Reed, Quan Bray, and Jaylon Denson all have experience. Tight end C.J. Uzomah as his work cut out as he will need to replace Phillip Lutzenkirchen who was just tough as nails. Defensively for Auburn safety Jermaine Whitehead was third on the team with 86 tackles last season, Jonathon Mincy had 57 tackles, and 310-pound junior Angelo Blackmon ad 26 tackles and seven tackles for a loss. Auburn had just two interceptions all season and 11 fumble recoveries making them minus 12 in turnovers and reversing that number is a great place to start to turn around this team.
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Washington State Cougars Head Coach Mike Leach knew he had his work cut out for him when he took the job but he also knew he was at a place where he had a chance to put the pieces in place. In year two Connor Halliday takes over at QB full time after splitting time last season when he threw for 15 touchdowns but 13 interceptions. Teondray Caldwell is the starting running back but others like Marcus Mason will see action but this is a pass first offense. Brett Bartelone was Wazzu’s top receiver a year ago and Gabe Marks has earned high praise in camp while Dominique Williams looks good as well and the fourth receiver spot is a close call but receiver is clearly the deepest position on the team. Leach likes his offensive lineman big and tall and 6’4 is the shortest O-Lineman and the right side including center Elliot Bosch are all seniors. WSU’s defense allowed 33.7 points per game last year including 21 rushing touchdowns, numbers they will need to improve on. Leading tackler and interception leader Deone Bucannon returns as foes second leading tackler Darryl Monroe and Casey Locker rounds out an experienced secondary. I have to believe Washington State will be better this year, it is just a matter of how much better.
Auburn is 5-11 against the spread in their last 16 games and 3-9 against the spread on natural grass. Washington State is 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four non-conference games and 2-5-1 against the spread in their last eight road games.
I can surely understand where hopes are high for both of these programs as they begin to climb off of the mat but I think the line suggests a huge jump for Auburn and really I am not seeing it. The Tigers will be a lot better, that isn’t going to be hard to do, but a complete turnaround in one year and beating a high powered spread offense by more than two touchdowns right out of the gate?, that might be a little on the ambitious side though I do think Auburn can and should win the game but it is closer than this number.