Alabama Football: Auburn football losing more ground to Crimson Tide


While all is well for Alabama Football, the situation on the Plains is significantly different. The Auburn Tigers football program is reeling and the hole Bryan Harsin needs to fill keeps getting deeper.

Fall camp may be hotter than normal in Auburn and not solely because August scorchers will be unrelenting in Auburn’s nearly sub-tropical climate. The problem smoldering under the foundation of Auburn football is a serious shortage of top talent. Being generous to the Aubies, Harsin has maybe four guys who could compete for a starting job in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama Football Develops Talent … Auburn …

Auburn under Gus Malzahn did not develop players at every position. That led to a program that has not been able to lose fewer than four games in any season since 2013. In those seven Auburn seasons, the Tigers won only 63 percent of their games. While all that mediocrity was occurring, the Tigers fanbase clung to a belief that in any given season the Tigers could outperform the beast to their west.  During those seven seasons, two victories over the Crimson Tide, having followed the first Gus Malzahn win over Nick Saban in 2013, fueled the delusion the two programs exist on the same level.

Enter Bryan Harsin. The Group of Five darling, Boise State was built to legitimacy by Chris Petersen. In the seven seasons since Petersen left for the Pac 12, Harsin kept the Broncos on par. His strong performance at Boise, will not help Harsin in Auburn. The early indicators should be troubling for Auburn fans.

Harsin should have inherited enough talent from Gus Malzahn. Malzahn’s last three classes were ranked No. 12 (2018), No. 11 (2019) and No. 7 in 2020. But there are two problems with Auburn’s returning classes. One is the aforementioned Malzahn weakness in developing players. The other problem is the Tigers are having a huge exit of players through the Transfer Portal.

Portal numbers change frequently, but as of this post, Auburn has lost 11 players through the Portal. Five more Auburn players are using the Portal to find a new team. Balanced against those defections are two players joining the Tigers via the Portal.

Note: Transfer Portal data from 247Sports.

Auburn fans want to believe there is no cause for alarm because help is on the way in the 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes. A closer look at the 2021 class shows that while it was No. 19 in the FBS, it was No. 7 in the SEC. Most programs are lagging in 2022 class recruiting. Alabama Football is one of them. Auburn is farther behind.

Harsin has three commits and a class ranked No. 44 in the FBS and No. 13 in the SEC. Auburn will fill its class and it will land some good players. How many and how good are the questions. Based on the 247Sports list of Auburn prospects, the Tigers are not in the mix for much top talent. When the Tigers should be gaining ground under a new staff, they appear to be losing it.

Auburn not the only SEC team in trouble. dark. Next

Auburn has months to catch up in recruiting. It might do so or it might not. Even if Harsin strengthens the Auburn roster with the 2022 class, 2021 could be a very tough season for the Tigers.