SEC Football: Way-too-early 2015 Power Rankings

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Nov 29, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn reacts on the sideline against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3: Auburn Tigers

2014 Finish: 8-5, 4-4 SEC, 4th in SEC West
Key Losses: QB Nick Marshall, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, RB Corey Grant, WR Sammie Coates, WR Quan Bray, TE C.J. Uzomah, OL Reese Dismukes, DL Gabe Wright, LB Krist Frost, DB Jermaine Whitehead, DB Jonathon Mincy, DB Robenson Therezie
2015 Recruiting Class: 11th in nation (20 commits)
2015 Prediction: 2nd in SEC West

Auburn may not have been as good as advertised in 2013, but they weren’t as bad as their record indicated in 2014 either. The combination of some luck turning the other way, and playing a brutal schedule had the Tigers slipping a bit.

Defensively, Auburn should be much better off this season with Will Muschamp replacing Ellis Johnson. Cassanova McKinzy returning will be a huge boost for the linebacker corps. The Tigers shouldn’t get thrashed by some of the better offenses in the conference as they did last season.

Gone is Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne, two huge blows to the Tigers’ offense. Malzahn’s system is built to plug-and-play, but Marshall was a unique player who might be difficult to replace.

Next: Georgia