Georgia Football can make life very uncomfortable for Auburn

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 15: Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers looks on during the game against the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 15: Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers looks on during the game against the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Georgia Football will host an Auburn team this weekend that is not having a great season. A loss to UGA would really leave the Tigers struggling to answer where their program is going.

This time last season, Auburn put together one of the great performances of Gus Malzahn’s tenure. They destroyed Georgia in a one-sided matchup that catapulted them to Atlanta. Their subsequent victory over Alabama gave the Tigers a chance to go to the CFP for the first time, but instead, they were defeated by the same Georgia team that they humbled in November.

Fast forward a year and things look very different. Auburn managed to pull off a come from behind win over Texas A&M last week, but things are not good for the Tigers. They have already lost 3 games in the SEC this season one of which was completely unacceptable. Their loss to a Tennessee team that is in full on rebuild mode was frankly embarrassing.

Jarrett Stidham came into the season with a lot of hype as the Tigers QB. Many were expecting him to turn himself into a first-round draft pick this season. Instead, he has struggled to throw the ball as the offense he plays in has failed to run the ball. Their defensive line remains one of the best in the country but their secondary is seriously missing some of the players that left in 2017. In short, this team is not performing as well as many expected.

Now, that’s a real problem for Gus Malzahn. Georgia lost a lot of talent and leadership this past season as well. However, while Kirby Smart’s team have stepped up and now find themselves once again in the hunt for a CFP spot, Auburn has floundered. Both teams suffered their first losses to LSU but while UGA has rebounded and won their division, Auburn bottomed out and played poor football. One good 4th quarter performance against A&M does not cover for the fact that this year the Tigers have fallen flat on their faces.

Now Malzahn might not be that worried. Much like Kirby Smart, he also signed a brand new mega-contract this offseason. He’s not going anywhere at least after one substandard season. However, the fact is that right now, Auburn does not look like a team that is going to get better next season. Stidham will probably enter an NFL draft that is weak at the QB position and desperate for a star. Their best position group, DL is about to lose all of it’s best players to that same draft.

Their last couple of recruiting classes have been decidedly meh. Since Kirby Smart arrived, it’s become harder and harder for the Barn to pull the best recruits from the state of Georgia anymore. That state produced much of the talent on those great Auburn teams that many of us still remember. When the likes of Derrick Brown leave after this season, they will no longer have a single 5-star player from the state of Georgia on their roster.

That might change of Owen Pappoe sticks to his commitment, but recent rumblings have him looking hard at Tennessee. All of this puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Malzahn for this game. Coaches with $49 million contracts should not be putting together one good year every three seasons. Now in his 6th year, he’s only won more than 8 games twice, in 2013 with Gene Chizik’s players and last year. It’s becoming increasingly hard to argue that this is a program going in the right direction.

Look guys with $32 million buyouts don’t get fired easily. Auburn is stuck with Malzahn for the foreseeable future because of that one good year and that’s kind of funny. If Georgia can put a good licking on them this weekend, much like they themselves received last season, they will put the entire program in an even more difficult position. Does the school really believe that they have the right head coach for their program going forward? If they don’t, how on earth are they going to get out of a 7 year contract with 6 more seasons left to go?

Next. Score prediction for the Auburn game. dark

All of which works rather well for this upcoming game. UGA remains a program on the rise despite a season that hasn’t quite reached 2017’s heights. They have the youngest team in the SEC and each week, more and more young players make an impact and get better. I doubt many of us would complain if those same players left Auburn fans once again feeling concerned about their head coach after this matchup.