Bruce Pearl’s Thoughts on Auburn’s “Tough” SEC Schedule

Opelika, Alabama – The agenda for the Auburn Securities and Exchange Commission is nothing short of loading.

No, not the SEC schedule.

Ahead of the conference, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday evening announces the full 2023 football seasons, Bruce Pearl He shared some of his reactions to what was revealed three months ago: Auburn basketball’s road to defense of the SEC regular season title from last season. It’s another game off the Pearl program’s schedule, versus a league that has greatly improved in recent years in both training and talent.

“Mike Burgomaster, may need to look for a job after this season,” Pearl joked about his assistant coach and head scheduler during a conversation with a few reporters Monday ahead of fundraisers for Bruce, Barkley and basketball at Opelika.

But it starts with strong tests in non-conference play, with Auburn having seven home games between November and December, but also making a Pac-12 road trip to play USC and Washington. In this year’s Big 12/SEC Challenge, Auburn drew West Virginia on the road.

“At the University of Southern California, in Washington, in West Virginia — he told me one school in the league plays three Power Five road games,” Pearl said. “And then Memphis, in a neutral location. And St. Louis coming here.”

Last year, Auburn successfully advanced through its no-conference roster, with just one loss to UConn, en route to a 22-1 start in a year that tapped into the number one polls in program history. Led by a pair of first-round picks in Jabbari Smith And the Walker KesslerAuburn went 15-3 in league play and won his second SEC title of the regular season under Pearl and was ranked No. 2 in the NCAA Championship.

After back-to-back games at USC and Washington in mid-December, Auburn opened the SEC’s home game against Florida – which would be a homecoming for the former Auburn assistant. Todd Goldenwho is now coaching the Gators and is proud of who Pearl thinks could be the best big man in the conference: Colin Castleton.

“Anytime we play Florida with Todd Golden as coach, it’s not going to be a game I’m looking forward to,” Pearl said. “There are a lot of other players I’d rather beat than I’d rather try to beat. Because he’s part of my family. And he’s really good. And so we’re going to get this game out of the way. We have to do better against Florida. This is not one of the teams we have a great record against. And they have the best player inside.”

In Saturday’s first game of the SEC season, Auburn hosts what is expected to be a top 5 team in Arkansas on January 7. Record competitors are there – two games against Alabama, Georgia and the Ole Miss – and the Tigers have tied twice. With Texas A&M and Tennessee – in back-to-back games, on the road, no less.

“In terms of the league table, catching up with Texas A&M and Tennessee twice — both teams will be selected in the top five or six in our league, Tennessee in the top four, and Texas A&M in the top five or six, I expect,” Pearl said. “So the league is going to be a challenge.”

However, there should be some breaks, especially given that the league has broken into six new coaches this season: (Five if you don’t count Mike White and UGA): Chris Gans (Mississippi), Dennis Gates (Missouri), Matt McMahon (LSU) and Lamont Paris (South Carolina).

But the final week of the regular season is soccer: Auburn heads to Kentucky on the last Saturday in February, travels to Tuscaloosa for a midweek game, and then wraps up the season at home to Tennessee.

“The way the schedule ends, it’s daunting,” Pearl said. “But look, this is the league we’re in, man. It’s the business we picked. I’ve got to play it sometime.

Auburn opens the season in under 50 days, and finishes on November 7 at home against George Mason.

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