With the 2007 season less than three months away, the Auburn Tiger faithful look forward to a season of high expectations. Yes, there is an offensive line in need of being rebuilt, but the Tigers are loaded with talent at the skill positions. There are some holes to fill on defense but Coach Will Muschamp's defense improved as the season progressed and his second installment promises to be just as good if not better than the 2006 version.
The Tommy Tuberville era has logged 100 games into the books, which is clearly enough to develop and examine tendencies. Auburn has a vicious road schedule this upcoming season, which will determine if the Tigers are one of the elite programs in the conference. It would appear the Tigers are now in a position of reloading rather than rebuilding, which should make the 2007 football team an entertaining bunch to follow.
Here are some situations to watch for in 2007, which could be a strong indicator for success on the field...
* Under Coach Tuberville, Auburn is 42-0 against opponents with a non-winning record or from a non-Division I program. Yes, there have been a few upsets over the past eight years but for the most part, Auburn has won the games they are supposed to. Over the last three years, Auburn is 9-2 against opponents with a 9-3 record or better.
When running backs coach Eddie Gran is happy, the Tigers almost always come away with a victory.
* The Tigers are 33-0 when they outrush their opponent by 100 yards or more. They are 50-6, when they outrush their opponent by 50 yards or more. The losses came to Arkansas in 2001, Southern Cal, Georgia and Florida in 2002, Ole Miss in 2003 and LSU in 2005. Coach Tuberville might be conservative at times but having a strong running game will still pave the way to a high win percentage.
* Over the last eight seasons, Auburn is 25-1 when it rushes for 150 yards and holds its opponents to under 100 yards rushing in the same game. The lone loss came against the Ole Miss Rebels in 2003. When you can accomplish both during the same game, you take ownership of the line of scrimmage.
* Leading or tied at halftime is almost a sure victory for the Tigers. Auburn is 57-2 under Tuberville from 2000-2006, with the two losses coming to Southern Cal and Georgia during the 2002 season. Auburn is 36-0 over the last four years and the best seven-year run under Coach Pat Dye was from 1982-1989, when the Tigers posted a 59-4-2 record when leading or tied at halftime.
* Auburn is 62-3 when it scores at least 21 points, with losses to Michigan in 2000 and Florida and Georgia in 2002. When Auburn scores 24 points, it is 56-1.
* Scoring 21 points at Jordan-Hare has equated to a 38-1 record and Auburn normally scores at least 21 points at home (80 percent of the time).
* When Auburn scores on at least a third of the offensive possessions, it is 50-1 with their lone defeat coming at the hands of Ole Miss in 2003.
* With a brutal road schedule ahead for the Tigers in 2007 it's good to know Auburn is 11-1 during regular season play over the last three years. Auburn will need to at least split its four road games this year to have an opportunity to play for the conference title. The 2005 squad discovered that a 7-1 conference record wasn't good enough to make it to Atlanta.
* During the 100-game history under Tuberville, Auburn has recorded at least one 100-yard rusher in 48 games. Auburn is 43-5 in those games with losses to Florida in 2000, Florida and Georgia in 2002, Ole Miss in 2003 and LSU in 2005.
* Auburn has always been known for its running game but when the passing game is clicking, it has been very successful. The Tigers are 40-4 when they complete at least 60 percent of their passes for at least 7.5 yards per pass attempt. The losses came to Michigan in 2000, Alabama in 2001, Arkansas in 2001 and Arkansas 2006.
* When the Tigers convert on 50 percent of their third-down conversions, they are 22-1 with the only defeat coming to the hands of Alabama in 1999. The 2004 offense converted on 46 percent of their third-down conversions for the entire season. Last season Auburn was held to under 40 percent in six of 13 games.
* Up until the last couple of years, the kicking game has been inconsistent. How important is the kicking game? Auburn is 34-5 when it converts on all of its field goal attempts during a given game. The losses occurred against Mississippi State and Florida in 2000, USC in 2002, Georgia Tech in 2003 and Arkansas in 2006. Special teams played a major role in last season's 11 victories.
* One of the components of a successful offense is the ability to generate the big play, which was something the Tigers lacked in 2006. Auburn is 34-3 when it has at least three plays of 30 yards or more in the same game. The losses came against Arkansas in 2001, Florida in 2002 and LSU in 2005.
* Starting out strong is always a positive for Auburn. The Tigers are 46-6 when scoring at least 14 points during the first half and 28-1 over the last four years. The lone loss over the last four years came against Georgia Tech in 2005. The addition of offensive coordinator Al Borges has been a major lift for the Tigers on offense. Prior to his arrival, Auburn scored at least 14 points in the first half just 39.3 percent of the time. Under Borges, the offense has accomplished this goal 57.9 percent of the time.