Auburn Tigers Football Schedule Lacks Tradition

With conference realignment and expansion, the Auburn Tigers football schedule is barely recognizable.
Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze and LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly
Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze and LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly / Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports
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The entire landscape of college football has changed and there’s plenty more on its way. NIL, the transfer portal, conference realignment – who knows where this will end up. The Southeastern Conference is welcoming Oklahoma and Texas into league play this fall, and as a result, many conference rivalries have come to an end. 

The SEC released its 2024 conference schedule opponents in December 2023, and decided recently that the 2025 schedule will be the same, just with home and road opponents flipped. 

For old-timer Auburn Tigers fans, the opponents listed on the 2024 and 2025 schedule are more symbolic of the changes of the times and what to expect of the future rather than a continuance of its rich traditions with other league foes. 

It’s a two-off from what the league is likely to eventually settle into, and the league office had a chance to renew or continue Auburn’s history with several of its league rivals. Instead, Auburn drew longtime members of the Big 8, the Southwest Conference, and a couple of others that it doesn’t have a long history with. 

The Southeastern Conference was formed in 1933 with 13 members including Suwanee, Georgia Tech, and Tulane, who left in 1940, 1964, and 1966, respectively. From 1967 until 1992 the league was comprised of the other 10 charter members – Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. 

Fall 1992 marked the first of three expansions as Arkansas and South Carolina joined the conference, and the first college football conference championship game was formed. Missouri and Texas A&M joined in 2012, and now Oklahoma and Texas in 2024. 

The one constant in the last 91 years of the SEC was the membership of those 10 schools, who have been members for the longevity of the league’s existence. Most of them were even members together of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the Southern Conference prior to the existence of the SEC. 

Heading into 2024 and 2025 the SEC office and those in charge of scheduling were tasked with incorporating Oklahoma and Texas onto conference schedules, while also maintaining traditional rivalries and competitive balance. Without the ability to see into the future with whatever will happen of the ACC and the fallout that will ensue, the SEC opted to keep it simple with 8-game conference schedules and no divisions. Each team in the league will play either Texas or Oklahoma.  

Auburn kept Alabama and Georgia on its schedule and added Oklahoma, which left room for five other opponents. Instead of maintaining its current and long-standing rivalries with the likes of Mississippi State, LSU and Ole Miss, or renewing old rivalries that dissipated because of previous expansion like Tennessee and Florida, Auburn drew a bunch of other schools it doesn’t have longstanding tradition with. 

In fact, Auburn has more all-time meetings with the seven opponents not on the schedule than with the eight who are on the schedule. 

Auburn and Mississippi State have played each other every year since 1937 (aside from 1943) for a total of 97 meetings. That’s more times than the Iron Bowl has been played, but that streak will be broken this year. (The Bulldogs are having most of their rivalries end in 2024, but more on that later). 

LSU and Ole Miss have obviously been on Auburn’s schedule every year since 1992 as Western Division foes, but their competitive days extend beyond that. Auburn and LSU have met a total of 78 times. Ole Miss – 47 times. Neither of those schools are on the schedule for 2024 and 2025. 

Auburn and Florida have met a total of 84 times on the gridiron. Aside from WWII times, the Tigers and Gators played every year from 1927 until SEC reformatted its scheduling after the 2002 season. Fans from both sides of Auburn/Florida have fond memories of classic clashes in the 1980s and 1990s. The Florida game late in the season was a part of what Pat Day called “Amen Corner,” ahead of matchups with Georgia and Alabama to end the year. 

Auburn and Tennessee have similar history. That rivalry was held in late September annually starting in 1956, but ended after the 1991 season because of expansion and the switch to divisions. 

In a two-year scheduling quick fix that would have been great for the fans to see Auburn return to Ben Hill Griffin or Neyland Stadium, neither will happen. And neither the Vols nor the Gators will return to Jordan-Hare. 

As Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss, Florida and Tennessee aren’t on the schedule, let’s now take a look at who is. 

Kentucky and Vanderbilt are the two charter members of the SEC that have squared off with Auburn the least number of times. They’re both on the schedule. 

Oklahoma’s longstanding Big 8/Big 12 rival Missouri made the cut as well. Old Southwest Conference rivals Arkansas and Texas A&M round out the eight Southeastern Conference teams Auburn will be playing the next two years. 

Here’s a list of conference teams in order by the number of times Auburn has played them (teams on the 2024-25 schedule in bold/CAPS). 

GEORGIA – 128 
Mississippi State – 97 
Florida – 84 
Lousiana State – 78 
Tennessee – 54 
Ole Miss – 47 
South Carolina – 14 
TEXAS A&M – 14 
Texas – 8 

The SEC football programs Auburn has faced the 2nd most, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th were left off the schedule. Half of the teams on Auburn’s schedule have joined the league since 1992. 

The only program’s whose traditional competition was struck harder than Auburn’s was Mississippi State. The annual Egg Bowl is set for the end of November, but the Bulldogs’ other rivalries have come to an end. Mississippi State and LSU have played 117 times, but that’s over for at least the next two seasons. Same with MSU and Alabama (107 games), and previously mentioned MSU vs Auburn (97). Not even Kentucky (51) made the Bulldogs’ schedule. 

The league office managed to link up old SWC rivalries over the next two years playing in the SEC like Texas vs. Arkansas, Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, and Texas vs. Texas A&M. Big 8 rivals Oklahoma and Missouri are seeing each other again, too. However, somehow a number of SEC rivals had to come to an end. 

It’s likely just a matter of time before even more rivalries end, but it sure would have been nice and seemingly easy to have some sense of normalcy and tradition on the schedule. 

Auburn’s 2024 Football Schedule 

Sat. Aug. 31 Alabama A&M 6:30 p.m. CT 
Sat. Sept. 7 California 2:30 p.m. CT 
Sat. Sept. 14 New Mexico (HC) 6:30 p.m. CT 
Sat. Sept. 21 Arkansas 
Sat. Sept. 28 Oklahoma 
Sat. Oct. 5at Georgia 
Sat. Oct. 19 at Missouri 
Sat. Oct. 26 at Kentucky 
Sat. Nov. 2 Vanderbilt 
Sat. Nov. 16 Louisiana Monroe 
Sat. Nov. 23 Texas A&M 
Sat. Nov. 30 at Alabama

Stephen Atkinson