Paul Finebaum details what a successful season looks like for Hugh Freeze, Auburn

On3 imageby:Alex Weber02/26/24

When joining Cole Cubelic and Greg McElroy on their radio show Monday morning, SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum detailed what a successful season looks like for Auburn football in year two under Hugh Freeze.

Finebaum believes that first year was tough to judge Freeze on it — though it did include some really exciting moments as well as some heartbreaking close losses.

“I think, in many ways, the Hugh Freeze era begins now,” Finebaum stated to McElroy and Cubelic. “Last year was a collection of high-wire moments, some success, some absolutely bitter disappointment from the Alabama game to the New Mexico State game and obviously the bowl game.”

This is the first year to judge Freeze.

“For Hugh Freeze, this is where it begins and I’m not saying he’s on the clock, because he’s not. He’s well-liked and he there’s every reason to think it’s going to be an imminently successful program. But I think now we can start looking objectively at what he’s doing.”

With that laid out, Greg McElroy asked Finebaum what success actually looks like for the Tigers in 2024. “No less than 8-4,” was Finebaum’s short answer. That may not sound like the greatest record in the world, but he believes it’s a good benchmark after a 6-6 season in 2023.

“There was a time when 8-4 got you fired at Auburn, it wasn’t that long ago, just ask Gus Malzahn. But I think that’ the bottom and I think he has to turn a couple of games. I think being in the conversation for the playoff is what I’m looking for,” stated Finebaum.

“Last year, it was .500, it was going to a bowl game. This year, better than that. By the way, 8-4, that means if you miss one of those games, you’re 7-5, which would be disappointing. And if you’re 9-3, you’ve had a pretty good year, which means you’re on the verge of the playoffs. So I think that’s where it is.”

Lastly, Finebaum wrapped up his comments on Freeze’s expectations by noting that he’s got to win some of those “tweener games” that, perceptively, could go either way, and then also go pull off one big upset to really get the fans excited. If they win the games they’re supposed to and knock off one of the big does, Auburn’s path to 8-4 or 9-3 territory isn’t impossible.