Every year, I calculate my minimum expectations for Auburn football, along with the various scenarios I can imagine playing out.
My minimum expectations this year are simply for Auburn to win as many games (8) as we did last year, get to a decent bowl, and show signs of improvement.
That being said, the fact is that the stars have lined up for this year to be Auburn's best chance to make some noise in the SEC. The schedule is more favorable than it will be in 2011, and we have a senior-laden O-line that will be completing its eligiblity before we can get to 2011.
So this is the year we need to make a splash!
Cam Newton struggles in the offense and can't throw the ball. QB controversy erupts. Fannin puts the rock on the ground a bunch, and Dyer isn't ready (or gets hurt, a la Caddy). Mullins has MSU cranking. South Carolina and Arkansas are as good as advertised. LSU pulls out yet another last-second improbable win over us. The AU-UGA game continues to be oddly imbalanced towards the east. I'm giving us one upset win even in this scenario, which would be likely.
Newton gets it going, but our defense is still suspect (and on the field too much). We split with the Carolina teams. We drop either the Kentucky game on the road or Arkansas at home. We split LSU/Georgia.
Losses to probably SC, Ark, LSU, bama
Newton grasps the offense, can throw the ball fine, and just rocks. Fannin/Dyer/McCalebb roll (avoiding turnovers and injuries). The defense is improved. South Carolina is not as good as advertised. LSU is on downward curve. We lose somewhere in there, but are a remarkable 10-1 when we go to Tuscaloosa; I can envision no scenario as of yet where we win there.
Once again just missing the SEC title game by a hair, as we did in 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2006 (sheesh!).
Which of these scenarios will come true? Most of it depends on how Cam Newton plays, and how the defense shapes up after being nearly worn down last year.