Summer Stock: Auburn Tigers
The Tigers' top performers from last year are gone, but don't count them out just yet
This article is part of our "Summer Stock" series, a three-week look at the programs generating the most buzz coming out of spring practice.
Bill Walsh often said that setting high expectations is the most important thing a coach can do for his team. Athletes are like most people in that they will almost always try to raise their performance to the level their boss has set, so if a coach doesn't keep it as high as his players' talent levels, the team will almost certainly not reach its potential.
That probably explains why Auburn coach Gene Chizik has title aspirations for his team in 2011. "Our goal is championships, period," Chizik said at a recent Auburn alumni gathering. "It doesn't matter if we play with 22 freshmen. The goals have not changed. The expectation and standard have not changed. Anything less than a championship is not good enough."
Even the most positively aligned Auburn pundit would likely agree that the Tigers' current situation (Cam Newton and Nick Fairley leaving for the NFL, only six returning starters, a very rough schedule in arguably the nation's toughest division) makes a repeat BCS title game appearance highly unlikely.
The better question, then, is whether this team can make a run at the SEC West title. The answer at first glance appears to be no, but there are also several reasons why the Tigers shouldn't be counted out just yet.
To read more about the Auburn Tigers' 2011 outlook and their chances in the SEC West, become an ESPN Insider today.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Accuser lawyer blasts Winston investigation
- Irish QB Golson re-admitted after suspension
- Georgia QB Murray: I'll be ready for pro day
- Navy coach: We don't talk about the streak
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Summer Stock series
College Football Previews
May 16: Georgia Bulldogs
May 17: Florida State Seminoles
May 18: West Virginia Mountaineers
May 19: Alabama Crimson Tide
May 20: Texas A&M Aggies
May 21: Arizona State Sun Devils
May 22: Arkansas Razorbacks
CFB Rumor Central
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Bruce Feldman's Blog
Daily insight from around the gridiron
Ryan McGee's blog
On refs, bowl bids, and campus life
NFL Draft Blog
A look towards April 2011
Always on top of the college and pro game
- Under Armour Men's Auburn Tigers Blue Football Military Appreciation Tech Performance T-Shirt