Tigers Finally Finish 2006 Football Schedule

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn announced its 12-game 2005 football schedule on Friday that includes three first-time opponents with home dates vs. the Washington State Cougars, the University of Buffalo Bulls and the Arkansas State Indians.

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said he wished the schedule could have been finalized earlier, but unusual circumstances caused a delay.

"One of the institutions (Tulane) we were playing had a little problem with their schedule so we were patiently waiting to give them time to get that worked out because we have all had scheduling snafus," he says.

"I know it has maybe been frustrating to some of the Auburn people to not be able to get the schedule," Jacobs adds. "Being the Auburn people we are, particularly when somebody else has issues, our history has been we treat people the way we wanted to be treated. We give them time to get their problems worked out and we take the high road."

There were several issues delaying the schedule in addition to Temple's schedule and the addition of a 12th game that was approved in March 2005. Changes in the conference schedule were a factor, too, like the one involving Auburn and LSU.

Jacobs says he likes the change of moving LSU from Oct. 21st to a Sept. 16th date because without that switch the Tigers wouldn't have an SEC home game until Oct. 7th when the Arkansas Razorbacks come to Jordan-Hare Stadium. "I didn't think that was good for our team or our fans," he says.

As originally planned, the schedule would have featured five consecutive SEC games, something that Jacobs notes that he and head football coach Tommy Tuberville concluded wasn't a good idea.

The Tigers were going to play five league games in a row vs. South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida, LSU and Ole Miss. The new 12-game schedule has a three-game stretch of league games vs. South Carolina, Arkansas and Florida before the Tigers have a home game vs. Tulane on Oct. 21st.

"When I looked at the original schedule, it didn't make sense for us to play five straight SEC games and the way it has worked out is much better for us," Jacobs says.

With the NCAA allowing teams to add a 12th game for 2006, but not allowing the season to start earlier, there is only one spot for an open date. The Tigers will have that following their contest against Alabama, which would give the team two weeks to prepare for the SEC Championship Game if they are the divisional champions this fall.

Buffalo, a member of the Mid-American Conference, also has a new head coach following a 1-10 campaign. The only victory was a 10-6 MAC win over Kent State.

In December, the university located in Buffalo, N.Y., hired former University of Nebraska All-American quarterback Turner Gill to become the school's 23rd head football coach, signing the 43-year-old to a five-year contract.

Gill was working as player development director and an offensive assistant with the NFL's Green Bay Packers when hired by the Bulls. Before that he was an assistant coach at Nebraska from 1992-2004.

Washington State finished the 2005 season with a 4-7 record and the Cougars were 1-7 in Pac 10 play. The only conference win was a 26-22 victory to close the season vs. Washington. The other three victories were non-conference games to open the season vs. Idaho (38-26), Nevada (55-21) and Grambling (48-7).

Arkansas State, a Division I school, replaces a game originally scheduled with Villanova, a I-AA program from the Atlantic 10 Conference that Auburn was going to play in a throwback game with teams wearing uniforms similar to ones when they played in the first and only Bacardi Bowl in Havana, Cuba following the 1936 season. That game ended in a 7-7 tie.

Quarterback Brandon Cox is a returning starter for the Tigers.

The other non-conference opponent, Tulane of Conference USA, is a former member of the SEC and once was a regular opponent for the Tigers. The two teams first met in 1902, but haven't played since 1955 when Tulane upset eighth-ranked Auburn 27-13 in New Orleans. The Green Wave leads the series 17-13-6.

The Green Wave was hit hard by the flooding of New Orleans and had to practice away from its campus and play all of its 2005 games on the road. Tulane posted a 2-9 record with victories over SMU (31-10) and Southeastern Louisiana (28-21). It played its home games at four different sites in Louisiana with its home field, the Louisiana Superdome, damaged by Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters.

With classes cancelled for fall semester, the athletic department and teams relocated to four different campuses. The football team set up camp at Louisiana Tech and other teams spent the fall at SMU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Arkansas State of the Sun Belt Conference finished the 2005 season 6-6 including a 31-19 loss to Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl, which was relocated to LaFayette, La., due to the storm damage in New Orleans.

2006 Auburn Football Schedule

Sept. 2--Washington State at Auburn (ESPN)

Sept. 9--Auburn at Mississippi State

Sept. 16--LSU at Auburn

Sept. 23--Buffalo at Auburn

Sept. 28--Auburn at South Carolina (Thursday, ESPN)

Oct. 7--Arkansas at Auburn

Oct. 14--Florida at Auburn

Oct. 21--Tulane at Auburn

Oct. 28--Auburn at Ole Miss

Nov. 4--Arkansas State at Auburn

Nov. 11--Georgia at Auburn

Nov. 18--Auburn at Alabama

Dec. 2--SEC Championship Game, Atlanta.

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