Mel Kiper Jr. is buying the hype surrounding Auburn and Jarrett Stidham this year.
On his radio show, Dari & Mel, Kiper picked said that it will be the Tigers representing the SEC in the College Football Playoff.
“I have a lot confidence in Jarrett Stidham and Mason Rudolph. It came down to Auburn and Oklahoma State and I’m going with Auburn,” Kiper said. “I think it’s Auburn’s year with Stidham at quarterback to get it done. The line is a veteran group. Offensive line play is key.”
Kiper picked Washington as his national champion. He also had Ohio State and Florida State in the College Football Playoff. He had reservations about Alabama due to concerns about its pass rush.
The Tigers, who officially named Stidham the starter earlier this week, have tricky schedule which includes a road trip to Clemson as well as visit from SEC East favorite Georgia. And of course there is the game against Alabama at the end of the season.
In addition to bringing back Stidham, Auburn returns running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson as well as a talented group of wide receivers. They do have to replace a few pieces on defense, namely Carl Lawson and Montravious Adams, but there is still some solid talent and a veteran presence.
Kiper’s co-host Dari Nowkhah, picked Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Washington. He had Alabama beating Ohio State in the championship game.
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