Tiger Bowl: Does Auburn have a chance at upsetting LSU?

Derrick Brown, Auburn Tigers. (Photo by Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Derrick Brown, Auburn Tigers. (Photo by Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The marquee game in Week 9 will be the Tiger Bowl between the No.9 Auburn Tigers and the No. 2 LSU Tigers? Does Auburn have a realistic shot in Baton Rouge?

Week 9 of the 2019 college football season features several intriguing games, but none will be bigger or more impactful than the one going on in Baton Rouge on Saturday afternoon. The No. 2 LSU Tigers (7-0) will face their SEC West big cat brethren in the No. 9 Auburn Tigers (6-1) in the 2019 edition of the always entertaining Tiger Bowl.

This will be the 54th meeting between these college football blue-bloods. These southeastern Tigers have met annually since 1992’s SEC realignment with them being placed in the same western division. LSU holds the series lead at 30-22-1, but this has been a rivalry game that doesn’t often see lengthy winning streaks.

While LSU holds the longest winning streak in this series at six games, that streak was from 1926 to 1937. That’s not exactly in modern times. However, since realignment, the longest winning streak in this series has been four games, and that includes the 1989 game which Auburn won before becoming SEC West division rivals with LSU.

LSU has won the last two games and is expected to win at home on Saturday afternoon. However, the last time LSU lost to Auburn, former head coach Les Miles got fired immediately afterward. So no, relatively new LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has never lost to Auburn since taking over for Miles full-time. But does Auburn have a fighting chance in this game? You better believe the Tigers do!

There are several reasons Auburn has a shot at pulling off the upset over LSU in Tiger Stadium. The first is Auburn has a ferocious defensive line headlined by defensive tackle Derrick Brown.

When Auburn allows 23 points or fewer in a game, the Tigers win. Their only loss was on the road to the then-No. 10 Florida Gators 24-13 down in The Swamp two weeks ago. Defensive prowess gives Auburn its best chance in this one.

A second reason Auburn has a shot at knocking off the Tigers in Baton Rouge is that LSU could be potentially looking ahead to their huge rivalry game with the Alabama Crimson Tide in three weeks. LSU will be on bye in Week 10, but Auburn will certainly be a team that’ll give the Bayou Bengals everything they got in Week 9.

The third reason Auburn can knock off LSU is that this will not be a night game in Tiger Stadium. If this game were starting after dusk, good luck with trying to pull off an upset, Auburn. But having a slightly earlier start time only favors Auburn in this one. Instead of playing inside of a drum, it’ll be like them hearing the bass boom from a car passing them by on the street.

Finally, the fourth reason Auburn has a legitimate shot at an upset is the nature of this rivalry series. Just when it looks like LSU is about to go on a lengthy winning streak, Auburn finds a way to win. Of course, most of those LSU winning streaks have been snapped down on The Plains in Auburn. Also, Auburn hasn’t won in Baton Rouge since 1999, so that’ll be working against them.

So if War Eagle Nation wants to party like its 1999, they’ll need Auburn to play its best game of the season. Fortunately for Auburn, the Tigers have shown that they can win big games this season already.

Auburn has wins over two ranked teams this year in the then-No. 11 Oregon Ducks on a neutral site in Arlington, Texas and on the road versus the then-No. 17 Texas A&M Aggies in College Station. LSU is a superior football team over both the Ducks and the Aggies, but Auburn has been tested this season. The Tigers have played a tough schedule this year, including the loss at Florida.

So how does Auburn find a way to shock the Bayou Bengals in Baton Rouge? It’s pretty simple really. Get after Heisman Trophy front-runner in LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. While Burrow can certainly move around in the Tigers backfield, making his pocket muddy and forcing him to throw balls under constant duress is the clearest path to victory for Auburn.

With the high-octane nature of the LSU offense, the LSU defense will give up points when forced to play in a shootout, thanks to Burrow coming alive in Joe Brady’s newfound passing game. If Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix limits his mistakes, then the Tigers have a realistic shot at the upset.

Auburn doesn’t have to play a perfect game to win, as the Tigers are the No. 9 team in the nation. With no margin for error left when it comes to making the College Football Playoff, a loose Auburn team and one that isn’t overwhelmed by the stage of Tiger Stadium can knock the Bayou Bengals down a peg by handing them their first loss of the season. It’s not probable, but it’s very possible.

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