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Countdown to kickoff: Game by game predictions for Auburn’s 2016 schedule

Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson warms up before his team’s game against Idaho in 2015.
Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson warms up before his team’s game against Idaho in 2015. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Editor’s note: We are counting down the days until Auburn opens the season against Clemson on Sept. 3 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Check back every morning as we break down the roster, profile key players and look at unanswered questions coming out of training camp.

Auburn gets to enjoy the comforts of home for the first month of the 2016 season, but Jordan-Hare Stadium hasn’t exactly been a safe haven for the team the past two seasons.

While coach Gus Malzahn loves the advantage of playing in front of 87,000-plus friendly faces, his team hasn’t benefitted from it. The Tigers haven’t won a marquee game at home since beating LSU two years ago.

I see Auburn struggling early in the season as they figure things out offensively. Malzahn has a blueprint going into week one, but with so much inexperience at the skill positions the coaches will be moving pieces around for awhile.

The Tigers won’t enjoy many benefits from an improved defense either as many of the teams in the SEC are equally as loaded on that side of the ball.

Texas A&M is intimidating up front, LSU has a dynamic secondary and even the lower SEC tier teams like Vanderbilt have a number of NFL defensive prospects.

There are three toss up games on the schedule to me — Texas A&M, Arkansas and Georgia — and I have Auburn losing two of them.

If quarterback Sean Whites proves to be much more proficient in the red zone than maybe Auburn can get to eight wins.

Anything beyond that seems unrealistic.

Final regular season record — 6-6 (3-5 SEC)

Sept. 3 vs. Clemson | Loss

Sept. 10 vs. Arkansas St. | Win

Sept. 17 vs. Texas A&M | Loss

Sept. 24 vs. LSU | Loss

Oct. 1 vs. ULM | Win

Oct. 8 at Mississippi St. | Win

Oct. 22 vs. Arkansas | Loss

Oct. 29 at Ole Miss | Loss

Nov. 5 vs. Vanderbilt | Win

Nov. 12 at Georgia | Win

Nov. 19 Alabama A&M | Win

Nov. 26 Alabama | Loss

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