Dye-Gest: Tigers Need to Forget And Focus

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the Auburn Tigers and this week's SEC games.

The Auburn Tigers have been living on the edge in games and sooner or later it was going to catch up with them, and that is what happened in the loss to Texas A&M.

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I know the Tigers didn’t play nearly as well as they can, especially defensively. There were too many breakdowns even though the defense came back and played better in the second half.

It would be hard to find much fault with the offense other than the first fumble of the game and the turnovers at the end.

The important thing now is for the players, coaches and fans to put the Texas A&M game behind them because there is a game this week that is going to take everything Auburn has got to have a chance to win.

I really think the last two SEC games vs. Georgia and Alabama are going to define this season for the Tigers. If they can win both of those I think it will be safe to say they have developed into an outstanding football team.

Going into Saturday’s contest at Georgia, I still don’t believe the Tigers have played their best football yet for a full 60 minutes. At times this group has looked like a championship caliber team and at other times it has been its own worst enemy with mistakes. I know that is frustrating for the players and frustrating for the coaches.

The only thing the Tigers can do now is keep working, keep digging and keep scratching to make good things happen. Knowing the history of this coaching staff since it got to Auburn, I expect that is exactly what will happen and I expect the Tigers to be ready to play a strong game on Saturday night in Athens.

Going into Sanford Stadium what you want to see from the Tigers is a team that plays its best football from start to finish on Saturday night. If that happens after the final whistle blows, win or lose, Auburn will have a different feeling than the frustration left behind by what happened vs. Texas A&M. That was a game the Tigers could have won and should have won. I have got a lot of those in my background as a coach and they hurt. It isn’t a good feeling losing like that, and it is something that you will remember for a lifetime.

Looking at this week’s SEC games:

South Carolina at Florida--This is going to be an interesting game. I am picking Florida playing at home with the Gators finding a spark on offense in recent games, but this should be a really close one.

Mississippi State at Alabama--I think the big matchup is going to be Alabama’s defense vs. Mississippi State’s offense. The other area to watch is whether or not Alabama’s quarterback, Blake Sims, can take advantage of Mississippi State’s secondary, which has had issues. This game looks close, but I think Alabama is better and will find a way to win at home.

Kentucky at Tennessee--The change at quarterback has made a big difference for the Vols and that will give Tennessee enough offensive punch to win this game against the slumping Wildcats

Missouri at Texas A&M--This could be another close contest. I am going to assume the Aggies will play with the same intensity they showed vs. Auburn so I am picking Texas A&M to win.

LSU at Arkansas--This could be the week the Razorbacks finally win an SEC game. I think the difference will be better play from the quarterback for Arkansas with LSU struggling at that position.

Auburn at Georgia--The biggest challenge for Coach Malzahn’s team will be stopping Georgia’s running attack. The Tigers will need to load the box to contain Todd Gurley and the other running backs while at the same time they need to do a solid job of defending Georgia’s play-action passing. It is going to be important for the Tigers to get pressure on the quarterback and play much better against the run than they did last week. I am going to pick Auburn because I love Auburn. I think the Tigers have a chance to come home win a big win if they play inspired football.

Season Record: 68-20

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