Although not a surprise, Alabama Football fans were disappointed on Saturday when 5-Star, Perry Thompson flipped to the Aubies. The change will be only a blip on the Crimson Tide’s future roster radar. Not that Thompson lacks the potential to become an outstanding player. He could become a game-changer for Hugh Freeze. Auburn is woefully short in such elite talent. Nick Saban will just add another highly talented prospect instead.
The Aubies are celebrating the flip. That will go on through August fall camps across the SEC. Auburn fans can continue to rejoice after week one of the season, following what will be a massive beatdown on the worst FBS team, UMass. Going on the road next to Cal and then home to Samford, the Tigers should be a giddy 3-0. The celebration will end in week four in College Station. Jimbo’s Aggies may just be good, rather than great in 2023, but due to the talent disparity, Auburn will drop to 3-1 and likely look bad doing it.
Over the succeeding month, the image of Hugh Freeze as Auburn’s savior will dim – considerably. The Auburn Tigers will lose to Georgia, have an ‘off’ week, then lose to LSU and Ole Miss. With a losing record of 3-4, Auburn will host a game it must win. There are many questions about Mississippi State’s first full season under Zach Arnett. What is known is that Arnett will begin the season with one of the most experienced teams in college football. Some estimates are that 19 of Arnett’s 22, core starters will be seniors. A hostile crowd in Jordan Hare will not intimidate such men. ESPN’s FPI has Auburn as the favorite but at a slim 55.4%.
Alabama Football fans will be pulling for the Bullies
A win over the Bulldogs will not make Auburn’s season a success. But a loss would be devastating. If the Tigers drop to 3-5 on Oct. 28, Auburn will have to rebound by beating Vanderbilt and Arkansas on the road and dispensing with New Mexico State at home. Those three wins would make the Tigers bowl-eligible before Alabama Football pens a sixth loss on Hugh Freeze’s first Auburn team.
At 6-6 at best, and possibly only 5-7, the Hugh Freeze honeymoon will be over in Auburn. What will be worst for Auburn is that recruiting will suffer. Elite recruits don’t pick programs to play in Birmingham Bowls (or worse).
Is it possible Hugh Freeze can shock college football with a surprise upset? Not against Georgia or Alabama or LSU. Auburn in those games will have nothing to celebrate.