Auburn starts the 2019 season with the tough task of facing Pac-12 opponent Oregon in Arlington, TX. The contest can be seen at 6:30 p.m. CT on ABC.
Auburn vs Oregon
All-time in season openers, the Tigers are 97-27-2 and 5-1 under head coach Gus Malzahn. They’re 9-3 against current members of the Pac-12 Conference and 1-0 against Oregon.
The Tigers look to improve on a somewhat disappointing season a year ago when Gus Malzahn's team ended up 8-5 overall and 3-5 in the SEC.
Malzahn named Bo Nix the starting quarterback last week after a long battle with Joey Gatewood to win the job. It will be the first time in his head coaching career that Malzahn has started a freshman quarterback to open a season.
Nix, who took home Alabama Mr. Football honors as a senior and was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, was the most productive offensive player in Alabama history. He set state records for total offense with more than 12,000 yards and total touchdowns with 161 — including 127 passing touchdowns and 34 rushing.
Auburn returns a veteran offensive line that features five fifth-year seniors. That will be key in order to protect a young quarterback and to establish a running game against the Ducks.
The ground game features last year’s top rusher, redshirt sophomore JaTarvious Whitlow, along with senior Kam Martin, junior Malik Miller, sophomore Shaun Shivers, freshman D.J. Williams and redshirt freshman Harold Joiner.
Whitlow led the team with 787 rushing yards, 150 carries and six touchdowns last season. Martin was second with 458 rushing yards and 103 carries with one touchdown.
Auburn returns a stout defense and arguably the best defensive line in the country anchored by Derrick Brown, Marlon Davidson and Nick Coe. The line allowed just 3.7 yards per carry and the trio combined for 14 sacks alone last season.
Oregon, led by head coach Mario Cristobal, offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and first-year defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, went 9-4 overall and 5-4 in conference play last season.
The Tigers face future NFL quarterback Justin Herbert, who finished last season with 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns with eight interceptions. Herbert is projected by many as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft after choosing to return to Oregon for his senior season.
Oregon returns all five of its starters along the offensive line and running back CJ Verdell looks to have an even better sophomore season after rushing for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns as a freshman while appearing in all 13 games.
On defense, the Ducks return nine starters from last season’s group that allowed 25.4 points per game, 144.3 rushing yards per game, 241.6 passing yards per game, and 385.9 total yards per game.
The star on defense is senior linebacker Troy Dye. Leading Oregon in tackles each of his first three seasons, Dye has 313 career stops and has double-digit tackles in 17 games.
Prediction: Oregon 28-24.
Texas State at Texas A&M
Prediction: Texas A&M 50-6.
Toledo at Kentucky
Prediction: Kentucky 30-12.
Ole Miss at Memphis
Prediction: Memphis 17-14.
Miss St vs Louisiana
Prediction: Miss St 31-7.
Duke vs Alabama
Prediction: Alabama 56-7.
S Carolina vs North Carolina
Prediction: S Carolina 27-17.
Georgia State at Tennessee
Prediction: Tennessee 34-3.
Portland State at Arkansas
Prediction: Arkansas 45-10.
Georgia at Vanderbilt
Prediction: Georgia 38-10.
Ga Southern at LSU
Prediction: LSU 21-12.
Missouri at Wyoming
Prediction: Wyoming 17-13.