Georgia Southern Eagles vs. Auburn Tigers
Date and Time: Saturday, September 2, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
Opening College Football Odds: Auburn -35, O/U 51.5
Georgia Southern vs. Auburn TV Coverage: SEC Network
When Auburn was at its best under Malzahn, its offense was one of the best in America and led by a quarterback who could run for days and get the ball out of his hands in a hurry. Luring Jarrett Stidham from Baylor was the coup of all coups, as he's the first pivot who really can throw the ball that Malzahn has had in a longtime. Toss in the fact that Chip Lindsey is coming in as the new offensive coordinator for this team, and you've got the makings of a team that should average over 500 yards per game and could drop 600+ in games like this one all year long.
The Tigers promise to throw the ball vertically right out of the chute, and that should make Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson both huge threats on the ground. Don't be shocked if Auburn averages over seven yards per play this season, as both backs could be 1,000-yard threats with Stidham stretching the field and keeping safeties out of the box.
Georgia Southern took a year away from the standard triple option, but after going just 5-7 with a team that was figured to challenge for the Sun Belt title, it's back to basics for a team that won't have much experience this year. The Eagles will be starting redshirt freshman Shai Werts under center in this one. Werts can't really throw the ball, but he isn't going to have to in this offense.
That said, Werts was legitimately just the third option at the start of this offseason. The real blow came when Seth Shuman left the football team to focus on baseball.
The Eagles only sacked quarterbacks 11 times last season from its members of its front seven, and it's no wonder why this unit got plowed at times.
Georgia Southern rotated nine linemen last season. Just two of the nine are back this year. The team also only has back one of its top four linebackers from a year ago.
And now you want to see the Eagles go up against an Auburn offense that could be the best in America this season? It's certainly not an enviable task.
The only hope that Georgia Southern has of getting some stops in this game is if it takes a little while to get Lindsey and Stidham on the same page as the rest of this offense. But knowing that this offensive scheme isn't going to be much different from what Malzahn has preached year in and year out, it's hard to see that being the case.
Georgia Southern vs. Auburn Free Picks
The Eagles don't have any experience a quarterback, they're starting a brand new offensive scheme, and the only useful members of their defense are in the secondary. And exactly where do they look appealing against Auburn?
The Tigers are obviously heavy five-touchdown favorites in this one, and the fact that they've come down to +34 doesn't scare us all that much. All of the top online sportsbooks can't be wrong; Auburn is sure to be the superior team by a wide margin, and if the defense can step up its game and figure out this triple option attack, there isn't a reason to believe that this one should be even remotely close at halftime.
College Football ATS Pick: Auburn -34 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Auburn 44, Georgia Southern 3