Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 8/5/12

What did we just learn from Joe Paterno? Erecting a statue for someone while they’re still alive and their legacy is not yet fully formed is risky business. And sometimes backfires. There’s already a Cam Newton statue at Auburn. Again, something scandalous could arise, especially given Newton’s past history.

The Bo Jackson statue I’m cool with; his career is long over.

As for the Auburn Tigers this college football season, a step forward? 2011 was rebuilding from the title year of 2010, so now better things are expected. Even though they’re breaking in a new coordinator on each side of the ball

Go here for the Auburn Tigers men’s basketball season preview

2011 was: a really solid year, with a bowl appearance. Not bad for a re-load. The offense by the numbers wasn’t good, the defense a little better, and the run defense kind of terrible, yet they still had a winning record despite the low national rankings in the major categories. Auburn started 4-1 and went 8-5, 4-4 in conference.

2012 will go smoothly if:  Scot Loeffler and Brian VanGorder have great years. Loeffler is aptly tight-lipped on what his system will be, but expect a pro-style attack which departures greatly from the Gus Malzahn’s direction. Lot of talent at TE in Phillip Lutzenkirchen. There’s a lot of returning starters in the front seven, defensive linemen Corey Lemonier and Jeffrey Whittaker are studs.

2012 will be rough if: Both the passing game and the stop the opponents’ passing game need to improve their numbers from last year. Clint Moseley will have a chance to start, but this is pretty much Kiehl Frazier’s team. Will be interesting to see how he runs the new system. It is expected to take a step forward, but the O line needs to come together for that to happen. Tailback could be by committee now that Michael Dyer had a bad breakup with the school and has joined Malzahn at Arkansas State. Onterrio McCalebb, the last real name remaining from the national title team, should get the first crack at starting.

BMOC: all the guys I’ve mentioned thus far and OL Reese Dismukes, who (along with the tight end with the long ass name) belongs in both this category and the next. Yes, I’m talking about Lutzenkirchen

 All Name team: DE Gimel President, QB Zeke Pike, CBs Robinson Therezie, T’Sharvan Bell, WR Travante Stallworth

Bottom Line: They should be better than .500 as 7-9 wins could happen, but is not guaranteed. They will likely straddle between the upper and lower divisions of the league, and they still have a very tough schedule. Last year was the rebuilding year, so expectations are higher this year. But the results could be similar. It looks like AU is at least a season or two away from being in the same tier as 2010.

Rankings:

Lindy’s- 31, Athlon-30 , Phil Steele- 27 ESPN/USA Today Coaches- 25

All the 77s

#27 Kansas St.

#28 Utah

#29 Missouri

#30 Georgia Tech

#31 Virginia

#32 Notre Dame

#33 NC State

#34 Iowa

#35 BYU

#36 UCF

#37 Washington

#38 Tennessee

#39 Rutgers

#40 Penn State

#41 Baylor

#42 Texas Tech

#43 Pittsburgh

#44 Cincinnati

#45 Mississippi State

#46 North Carolina

#47 Northwestern

#48 Miami, FL

#49 California

#50 SMU

#51 South Florida

#52 UConn

#53 UCLA

#54 Illinois

#55 Vanderbilt

#56 Washington St.

#57 Wake Forest

#58 Ole Miss

#59 Purdue

#60 Iowa St

#61 Kentucky

#62 Arizona State

#63 Boston College

#64 Ohio

#65 Marshall

#66 Arizona

#67 Southern Miss

#68 Tulsa

#69 Oregon State

#70 Houston

#71 Syracuse

#72 Colorado

#73 Kansas

#74 Maryland

#75 Duke

#76 Minnesota

#77 Indiana

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

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