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Looking at Auburn’s 2010 schedule, or something like it

We've got Amen Corner... but do the Tigers need a Jazz Hands Junction?

So yesterday Beaver posted a full 2010 Auburn schedule without a link but with a note that it had been “officially released,” which caught me a little bit off guard–I didn’t remember hearing anything about a finalized 2010 schedule, there hadn’t been any news releases from the Auburn beat writers, there’s not even any mention of a completed schedule or anything like it on the official Auburn football news page.

But sure enough, go to the Auburn football home page, and tucked away underneath the links to national rankings and post-game traffic routes you’ll find the 2010 Auburn football schedule. Why Auburn wants to keep it as some kind of open secret, I’m not sure–potential last-minute changes to the roster of cupcakes?–but there it is.

Now, Evan Woodbery noted that a preliminary schedule had appeared at the same link back in January, but if I remember correctly the SEC schedule hadn’t been finalized at that time. It’s possible I’m not remembering correctly and that I’m just rehashing some terribly old cheese here, but Auburn didn’t officially release their 2009 schedule until last October and the Tide just announced theirs a few weeks back. Then again, aren’t those SEC dates ironed out by the league office way in advance? I’m so confused.

In any case, I haven’t taken the opportunity here or at the old site to offer any first impressions on the 2010 slate we’ve got. Since this seems as good a time as any, I’m going to now, knowing that this could all (or at least somewhat change) in a week or two:

This just in: Auburn hates Alabama. For the second straight year, Auburn will play 11 games in 11 weeks to start their season and save their bye week for the Saturday just ahead of the Iron Bowl.

I fully approve.

I guess you’ve won, LSU. If you’ll recall, LSU was doing some preliminary griping and moaning last year about how the Tiger Bowl has been played early in the season when Auburn’s hosted and later in the year when the game’s been in Baton Rouge. Whoever’s in charge of these things was apparently listening, because next year’s tilt will take place in Jordan-Hare on Oct. 23. As a result …

This schedule’s kind of a slow starter. Obviously winning at neither Mississipppi St. nor Kentucky next year will come easy, and home dates against Clemson and South Carolina should provide plenty of bang for the Auburn fan’s buck.

Still: Auburn won’t take their first headlining road trip until two days before November (when they go to Oxford). And if you ask most Auburn fans, I’d imagine they’d tell you the five biggest games on that schedule are against ‘Bama, Georgia, LSU, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. Those happen to be five of the last six games on the roster.

On the one hand, it’s nice that Auburn has some time to ramp up to taking on the toughest teams on the schedule. On the other, mid-October’s a long time to wait for one of those games where you wake up on Saturday and would give up your pancreas to go to bed with a victory.

Me likey the road schedule. It’s not just that if you look past the trip to Tuscaloosa, you’ll see three less-intimidating-than-the-SEC-average venues at Starkville, Lexington, and Oxford–it’s that all four are spaced out almost perfectly evenly. It’ll be the first time since 2006 Auburn will go without any back-to-back road dates.

It bears repeating. The identities of Auburn’s non-Clemson non-conference opponents isn’t anything new (and could still change, obviously), but still: Arkansas St., UL-Monroe, and a I-AA patsy. Just sad.

In a related story …

Overall, doesn’t it seem like it needs more pizzazz? It’s not Auburn’s fault that neither Florida nor Tennessee are in the rotation from the SEC East or that Tommy Bowden’s final, ultimate implosion means that as of today the Clemson matchup looks a little less glamorous than it did when it was scheduled. But it is Auburn’s fault, of course, that even knowing a headline match-up with the Gators or Vols wasn’t in the cards, the athletic department passed on a golden (-helmeted) opportunity to make up for that loss of “buzz.”

As long as Auburn’s in the SEC West and playing at least one quality nonconference opponent, the schedule’s going to be strong enough. Hell, it’ll even be exciting enough. But is it as exciting as I’d like it to be? Not this one.

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