Auburn will have to overcome some low outside expectations if it hopes to turn heads in Brian Harsin’s second season.
Auburn was picked to finish last in the SEC West this season, as voted on by the media this week at SEC Media Days in Atlanta. Rival Alabama was picked to finish atop the division and win the conference title, while defending champion Georgia was picked to finish first in the SEC East.
Auburn received 338 vote points in the preseason media poll, second-fewest among all SEC teams, behind only Vanderbilt — who, incidentally, received one vote to win the SEC title this season. The Tigers’ 338 points were 52 behind Mississippi State, which ranked sixth in the division.
Texas A&M was picked second in the West, behind Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss and LSU.
Auburn was picked fifth last season, Harsin’s first year on the field, and finished sixth in the SEC West after a historic backslide at the end of the year. The Tigers went 6-7 in 2021 after starting 6-2 in Harsin’s inaugural season, losing five straight games to end the year. Last year’s record marked the program’s first losing season since 2012, when the Tigers went 3-9.
Coming out of that campaign in 2013, Auburn was picked to finish fifth in the West, leaving the prospect of even lower heading into the 2022 season. This is Auburn’s last-place finish in the SEC preseason poll since at least 2001. Auburn’s previous worst finish in that span was sixth — in 2016, when the team was coming off a 7-6 season and a last-place finish in the SEC West in 2015.