Closer look at Auburn's schedule

August 25, 2013 

Where: Auburn, Ala.

Date: Aug. 31

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: ESPNU

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Auburn leads, 1-0

Players to watch: Connor Halliday is the team's leading returning passer, throwing for 1,874 yards and 15 touchdowns last season despite splitting starting duties. Senior safety Deone Buccannon is back to lead the defense after tallying a team-high 106 tackles last year.

What it could mean: This game is a good barometer for each team, as they both finished with 3-9 records last year.Arkansas StateWhere: Auburn, Ala.

Date: Sept. 7

Time: 7:30 p.m.

TV: FOXSN

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Auburn leads, 2-0

Players to watch: David Oku ran for for 1,061 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. Defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers was a first-team All-Sun Belt performer last year.

What it could mean: The overarching storyline will center on Gus Malzahn facing his former team, which he led to 10 wins and a conference title last season in his only year on the job.Mississippi StateWhere: Auburn, Ala.

Date: Sept. 14

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: ESPN or ESPN2 or ESPNU

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Auburn leads, 60-24-2

Players to watch: QB Tyler Russell set 11 team records last season. Linebacker Benardrick McKinney could be primed for an All-American season after collecting 102 tackles last season.

What it could mean: If Auburn wins this game, it likely means it has started 3-0, since Mississippi State poses its toughest test to this point.LSUWhere: Baton Rouge, La.

Date: Sept. 21

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: LSU leads, 26-20-1

Players to watch: Though he was controversially reinstated (courtesy of a team-wide vote) following an arrest in the spring, there's no doubting sophomore running back Jeremy Hill's talent, who stands as the best player in a ridiculously deep unit. Safety Craig Loston is the next in a long line of great defensive backs for the Tigers and will be in the running for all-conference and All-American honors this season.

What it could mean: This game will be one of the few times Auburn is an big underdog. Pull off the upset and Auburn (the city, the school and the fan base) will be in a state of euphoria. A loss won't be taken too hard unless LSU cruises to an easy win.Ole MissWhere: Auburn, Ala.

Date: Oct. 5

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Auburn leads, 27-10

Players to watch: Receiver Donte Moncrief is one of the best players in the country at his position, and will have a shot to win the Biletnikoff Award provided he stays healthy. Sophomore Denzel Nkemdiche rung up a team-best 82 tackles last season, though.

What it could mean: Ole Miss will have played against Alabama the week before and then host Texas A&M and LSU after this contest. The Tigers could possibly steal one against a team caught looking ahead to its next two games.Western CarolinaWhere: Auburn, Ala.

Date: Oct. 12

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Auburn leads, 2-0

Players to watch: Darius Ramsey finished as the team's leader in rushing yards (503). The defense was one of the worst in the FCS last seaon under first-year head coach Mark Spier.

What it could mean: All Auburn wants out of this is an injury-free game and an easy win.Texas A&MWhere: College Station, Texas

Date: Oct. 19

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Texas A&M leads, 3-0

Players to watch: The Aggies have the reigning Heisman winner on their side in Johnny Manziel, assuming an NCAA investigation centered around possible acceptance of money for autographs doesn't sideline him for this game. Linebacker Steven Jenkins showed he could be a dominant performer when he was on the field with 79 tackles (5.5 for loss) along with two sacks and an interception.

What it could mean: If Manziel is eligible and healthy, Texas A&M will be expected to win comfortably. If he's out, anything could happen, which means Auburn might be able to walk out of Kyle Field victorious.Florida AtlanticWhere: Auburn, Ala.

Date: Oct. 26

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Auburn leads, 1-0

Players to watch: Junior William Dukes posted team-highs in receptions (63) and receiving yardage (979). Though Andrae Kirk started only half of FAU's games in 2012, he still finished with 70 tackles, fourth-most on the team, which will only increase this year.

What it could mean: See Western Carolina.ArkansasWhere: Fayetteville, Ark.

Date: Nov. 2

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Auburn leads, 11-10-1

Players to watch: For a coach who loves to pound the ball on the ground as much as Bret Bielema, he's fortunate to inherit one of the best centers in college football in Travis Swanson. Chris Smith tallied nine sacks in 2012.

What it could mean: At this point in the season, one of these teams could be the surprise of the conference. Or they could be fighting to stay out of the division cellar for the second straight season.TennesseeWhere: Knoxville, Tenn.

Date: Nov. 9

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Auburn leads, 27-21-3

Players to watch: The Volunteers bring back four starters on the offensive line, none better than left tackle Antonio "Tiny" Richardson, who can make a case for himself as one of the top players available for next year's NFL draft with another great season in 2013.

What it could mean: The Tigers hope they've already attained bowl eligibility by this point in the season. If not, this game represents Auburn's last best chance at a win before ending the regular season with two of its most difficult contests featuring two of its biggest rivals.GeorgiaWhere: Auburn, Ala.

Date: Nov. 16

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Series tied, 54-54-8

Players to watch: Senior quarterback Aaron Murray can set virtually every major career SEC passing record this season if he stays healthy. Sophomore linebacker Jordan Jenkins will be expected to fill the disruptive playmaking void left by All-American Jarvis Jones.

What it could mean: If Georgia is still a factor in the national title race, Auburn could play the spoiler role. If the Bulldogs have multiple losses, it will instead represent a chance for the Tigers to pull back in front of the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry."AlabamaWhere: Auburn Ala.

Date: Nov. 30

Time: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: WVRK-FM 102.9; WGZZ-FM 94.3

Series record: Alabama leads, 42-34-1

Players to watch: AJ McCarron returns for his third season as the Crimson Tide's starting QB sporting a 25-2 career record. After leading the team in tackles (107) last year, senior linebacker C.J. Mosley is back for more.

What it could mean: If the Crimson Tide are on track for their third straight national title, the Tigers will have the opportunity to halt history and stun the world.

-- Ryan Black

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