Georgia Tech (0-0) at No. 16 Auburn (0-0) 8:45 pm EST
AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) - Minus four first-round draft picks,
the Auburn Tigers put the nation's third-longest winning streak
on the line Saturday.
With running backs Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, cornerback
Carlos Rogers and quarterback Jason Campbell gone, the
16th-ranked Tigers will have to hope a rebuilt offense and
stingy defense is enough to tame Georgia Tech and pick up their
16th consecutive win in Saturday's season opener.
After going 13-0 last season, coach Tommy Tuberville's squad did
not get a crack at USC in the Orange Bowl. However, the the
Tigers did get a schedule that has five consecutive home games
to open the campaign.
Brandon Cox will take over the offense from Campbell, the 2004
SEC Player of the Year. Cox has an accurate arm but has
attempted just 34 career passes.
Junior Tre Smith is the most experienced running back to replace
Williams and Brown. He has 631 yards and nine touchdowns on
118 career carries but missed 10 games last season with a
The defense led the nation by allowing only 11.31 points per
game last season, and all three starting linebackers return. If
a replacement for Rogers can be found, the defense should be
tough under first-year coordinator David Gibbs.
After going 7-5 with a bowl victory a year ago, the Yellow
Jackets will be hard-pressed to continue a string of eight
straight seasons with a bowl appearance. A tough non-conference
slate features three bowl teams, and the Yellow Jackets travel
to Virginia Tech, Miami and Virginia in the Atlantic Coast
Quarterback Reggie Ball may be challenged by freshman Taylor
Bennett and will have to regain the form that made him 2003 ACC
Rookie of the Year if Georgia Tech is to have any success. He
needs to improve on a 49.7 percent completion rate from a year
ago, then hope running back P.J. Daniels' recovery from
in-season knee surgery goes well.
Bell's job should be made easier by sophomore wide receiver
Calvin Johnson, who had 837 receiving yards and seven TDs last
The defense returns eight starters from a formidable unit that
showcases speed. End Eric Henderson is the best of the bunch
but must stay healthy for a defense that ranked third in the
conference in fewest yards allowed.
Auburn holds a 47-40-4 edge over Georgia Tech in a series that
dates to 1892.
Top 25 Overview
Check, 1-2-3 ... Is this thing on? Does anyone remember that Auburn was undefeated last season?