The Auburn Tigers were the surprise of college football last season. Under the direction of first-year head coach Gus Malzahn, the team went from 3-9 in 2012 to champions of the SEC, even making an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game in which they came within seconds of capturing it all.
Obviously, coming into the 2014 season, the Tigers are favorites among many to repeat as champs of the toughest conference in college football.
However, former Georgia head coach Jim Donnan is not one of those supporters. He sees everyone’s other favorite, the Alabama Crimson Tide, as the clear cut top team in the conference, unless Malzahn can work up a few more of those trick plays that helped them win some games last season.
“The (SEC) West will be Alabama and everybody else unless he’s got some more trick plays to end games,” Donnan said, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “You can’t count on that every year, but what he did last year was one of the best coaching jobs ever.”
Despite the fact that Auburn returns the leader of the offense, quarterback Nick Marshall, Donnan believes that there’s just too much to replace elsewhere, while also pointing out that, opposed to last season, everyone knows what’s coming their way.
“I think he will have a tougher row to hoe this year,” Donnan said of Malzahn. “There are some good players to replace, and everybody’s had a year to get ready for what he’s doing.”
Donnan does raise some interesting points, especially the part about the teams being ready for Malzahn’s offensive onslaught this time around and having the offseason to prepare.
Nonetheless, as with every SEC season, it’ll be fun to watch everyone try to knock off the reigning champs, even if this time around it’s the “other” team in the state of Alabama.