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Phillip's blog: Biggest prize there for the t

For the first time in modern history, Auburn has reached the ninth game of the season with the national championship there for the taking.

Phillip Marshall, Senior Editor,

Fret if you must about Boise State, about polls, about what talking heads say on ESPN and all the rest. But know this: If Auburn wins six more games, it will be the 2010 national champion. No question about it.

The unbeaten 1993 team wasn’t in that situation. Neither was the unbeaten 2004 team. Not even the 1957 national champions could know for sure. They were ranked No. 2 into the final game of the season against Alabama. The 1971 Tigers were 9-0. Had they beaten Alabama and beaten Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, neither of which happened, they’d have still ended up behind eventual national champion Nebraska.

With four victories over nationally ranked teams in the past five games, this Auburn team has grabbed control of its own destiny. But the journey ahead is fraught with danger.

Here’s the road map:

Oct. 30, at Ole Miss: Auburn should win, but it’s not like an Ole Miss victory would be the upset of the century. The Rebels have gotten steadily better offensively as quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has become more comfortable. It’s reasonable to expect Auburn’s defense could have some struggles.

Nov. 6, Chattanooga: The Mocs are a decent FCS team, but if they beat Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium, that would be pretty close to the upset of the century.

Nov. 13, Georgia: A few weeks ago, it looked like this one might not be all that much of a problem. Georgia had lost four straight games, including three straight in the SEC. But wide receiver A.J. Green returned and Georgia took off. The Bulldogs have won three straight in impressive fashion going into Saturday’s game against Florida. If they win, they’ll have a very real shot at winning the East.

Nov. 26, at Alabama: Auburn and Alabama have twice matched unbeaten records, but this could be the biggest Iron Bowl ever. The winner might just be in position to win it all. Is Auburn good enough to go into Tuscaloosa and win such a game? It sure would be fun to find out.

Dec. 4, SEC Championship Game: Should Auburn make it to the Georgia Dome, the most likely scenario would be a rematch with South Carolina. But the opponent could also be Florida or even Georgia. One thing to keep in mind: Alabama’s loss at South Carolina and Ole Miss’ early-season loss at home to Vanderbilt are the only the East’s only wins over the West this season.

As of today, other than against Alabama, Auburn would be favored in every game, including a potential SEC Championship Game.

The Tigers have put themselves in strong position. Are they good enough to finish the job? The answer is coming soon.

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