September 9, 2008

Notebook: Looking to step it up for SEC

The dye will be cast in 18 more days.

Auburn's next three games, starting with Saturday's road trip to Mississippi State, should go a long way in determining if AU can achieve its goal of winning the SEC West and playing for the SEC Championship in Atlanta.

While many fans are already looking ahead to the Sept. 20 showdown with LSU and the renewal of the Tennessee rivalry the following weekend, Auburn needs to take care of business in Starkville this Saturday or risk being eliminated from the race in September.

After being upset by the Bulldogs in Jordan-Hare last year, AU head coach Tommy Tuberville said the Tigers won't be taking this game lightly.

"This is the first game of the SEC," Tuberville said. "They work all year long knowing that they've got eight opportunities each year to have a chance to get to Atlanta. It starts with this one on the road.

"Last year brings back a little incentive. They beat us; you can't say we gave the ball game away. They played a good game. We didn't play a good game."

After solid performances against non-conference opponents Louisiana-Monroe and Southern Miss, Auburn will need to step up its play on both sides of the ball this week.

Tuberville said the Tigers still have plenty of room for improvement.

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