Auburn well positioned despite mounting distractions, paranoia

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Auburn fans made my BlackBerry go berserk last week. No, really.

After I wrote that I believed TCU and Boise State would beat the Tigers on the field, Auburn fans bombarded me with e-mails touting the Tigers' résumé and questioning my intelligence, heritage and sexuality. Because all e-mails from our reader response forms get forwarded with the same subject line, my BlackBerry assumed I was getting spammed because of the sheer volume.

I don't blame Auburn fans one bit for their anger or their paranoia. The Tigers got royally stiffed by the BCS system in 2004, and Auburn fans have every reason to fear that the human polls or the computer rankings will derail the Tigers' chances to win the 2010 BCS title. So even an AP voter -- whose ballot doesn't count in the BCS rankings -- is a threat. My intentions are pure. I have Auburn at No. 4 for one reason: I think the Tigers would lose to Oregon, TCU and Boise State, but I can't fault Auburn fans for seeing black helicopters everywhere.

(By the way, I'm only talking about on-field and BCS stuff here. I'll address the most recent allegations against Auburn quarterback Cam Newton in a column to be posted later Tuesday.)

Auburn has nothing to fear from the BCS. The factor that worked against the Tigers in 2004 -- perceived strength of conference -- now works in the Tigers' favor and against TCU and Boise State. If Auburn beats Georgia and Alabama and wins the SEC title game, the Tigers will play for the national title.

But I don't blame Auburn fans if they don't believe me.

Besides, I'm girding up this week for an onslaught of e-mails from Boise State fans. Before you send them, read this: I realize the Broncos beat Oregon and TCU last season, but that was last season. Oregon is killing everyone in a strong conference, and TCU just beat a Top 25 team by 40 on the road. Boise State made a conscious choice -- and I still think it's a brilliant one -- to play only two AQ-conference opponents. In a different year, it probably would have worked. It still may work this year. But just as I think the Broncos would beat Auburn if they met tomorrow on a neutral field, I think Oregon or TCU would beat the Broncos if they played on a neutral field tomorrow. That's my opinion. You're welcome to disagree, and I'm sure you will.

Flame away.

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