Auburn is a slight two-point favorite over Washington in the latest point spread, per OddsShark. The over-under is set at 48. Auburn is favored in the matchup after coming close to making the College Football Playoff in 2017. A loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship sent the Tigers to the Peach Bowl, rather than one of the playoff matchups.
Today’s game features two of the top quarterbacks in college football, Washington’s Jake Browning and Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham. After a slow start, Stidham started to find his footing in the Auburn offense last season, and the Tigers are hoping he can be even better in his second season with the team after transferring from Baylor. Stidham has worked with quarterback guru Jordan Palmer the past three off-seasons, and Palmer thinks Stidham can become an elite NFL quarterback.
“Jarrett is, in my mind, potentially the most talented QB in the country,” Palmer told AL.com. “He’s gonna have a monster year and separate himself from the pack pretty quickly. He was as good or better than Josh Allen and Sam Darnold.”
Stidham appears to be feeling more comfortable in the Auburn offense.
“Obviously Auburn is completely different to what I was used to before coming here; total opposite sides of the spectrum,” Stidham explained to AL.com. “I think with time you learn about not reading things or not taking things too much to heart because everybody’s got their own opinion, but I also think there comes a lot of responsibility. I think that’s a great thing to have and the platform that you have, the influence that you have on other people can be pretty high at times. I think you just have to keep a level head and kind of take it day by day and learn from, whether you make a mistake or don’t, just kind of keep progressing forward and just be a better person every single day.
Washington Looks to Return to the College Football Playoff
Washington had a good, but not great 2017 as the Huskies went 10-3. Washington is just one year removed from making the College Football Playoff. The big question surrounding Washington this season is who will step up at wide receiver after the Huskies lost Dante Pettis and John Ross the last two seasons to the NFL. Aaron Fuller, Ty Jones, Chico McClatcher and even freshman Marquis Spiker are hoping to fill the void for this season.
The Huskies do have the benefit of leaning on running back Myles Gaskin, who can be used in both the run and pass game. Washington coach Chris Peterson believes his team will be ready to play Auburn.
“Our kids, they understand who Auburn is,” Petersen told the Montgomery Advertiser. “They beat the two teams that played in the national championship game. We’re playing the best of the best right out of the gate. Our kids, they know that. I don’t have to say a word about that. I know what Auburn’s going to be. I’m more worried about what we’re going to be.”
Auburn vs. Washington Pick
While the Atlanta matchup is technically a neutral site game, it will essentially be a home game for Auburn who has played their last two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That said, the Tigers have also lost both games in Atlanta. Auburn has weapons on offense, but their offensive line concerns me against a very good Washington defense. Look for this to be a breakout game for a relatively new Washington receiving core, as Washington tops Auburn in the season opener.
Heavy’s Pick: Washington 24 Auburn 20. Washington Covers +2 Spread. Under on the Point Total.
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