Let’s say the reports that the NCAA is investigating Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton’s recruitment are accurate. Let’s say Newton winds up missing games this season, as fellow stars like Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green and North Carolina Tar Heels Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn, and Greg Little have. How does this affect Auburn’s SEC West chances?
First, you’ll note this totally dismisses Auburn’s national title chances. Anyway. If the Tigers were forced to play without Newton, there’s no reason to think they’d have a shot at winning the SEC. It’s hard to describe a football team as a one-player team, but Auburn is as close as it gets.
Newton has accounted for 41 percent of his team’s rushing yards and 93 percent of their passing yards. He’s even caught one of Auburn’s 16 touchdown receptions. He’s fourth in the nation in rushing yards and yards per pass attempt, and he’s done it against one of the country’s toughest schedules.
Auburn’s defense ranks in the bottom of the SEC. The only teams worse in both scoring and total defense are the Mississippi Rebels, Tennessee Volunteers, and Vanderbilt Commodores, who combine for one SEC win against teams besides each other.
This team’s only chance at winning has been to outgun opponents, and its only chance at doing that has been to let Newton do his thing. Without Newton around, the winner of this weekend’s game between the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide would have to become the clear favorite to win the conference.