Monday, September 26, 2011

What we think we know -- Week 4

Let's have a hearty EXPATS' welcome to Texas A&M . . . clap, clap, clap . . . Sorry, that's the best I can do.

I just don't buy the notion that the SEC needs to expand to protect its preeminence, particularly when the new teams may or may not enhance the best brand in all of football. How do you expand a footprint that already runs coast to coast? Given the damage expansion inflicted on ACC hoops, SEC football already offers the only MUST-SEE TV in college sports.

Further, it took years before Arkansas and South Carolina in the SEC didn't sound and feel totally weird. Some Hogs fans still believe they are the outlier. The Aggies, who will give us an Auburn sensibility when/if Auburn goes to the eastern conference, will certainly bring a fanaticism that's par with its new surroundings, and it's on the upswing as a team. Saturday nights in College Station could be a great 7:30 game -- with the right opponent. But that's one of my problems: How long will the SEC have to carry A&M before it reaches conference cruising speed?

The best thing that may come out of this is further isolation of Texas. The Horns lose their biggest in-state rival. Their conference continues to teeter, and if it falls apart, UT may be left sucking its thumb with its $300 million network, spending nights in the fall watching reruns of Happy Feller and Tommy Nobis. Missouri? Bigger TV market, right. Your honor, as Exhibit I, we'd like to introduce Boston College . . .

Auburn's Gene Chizik has had the shortest honeymoon since Ernest Borgnine married Ethel Merman.

How do you go from having the greatest year in the school's history, capped out by the GREATEST winning comeback in Iron Bowl history, made EVEN GREATER because the Tigers turned the Tide inside out IN TUSCALOOSA!! to drawing the level of ire Chizik is getting now for AU's struggling start? Let's review. They didn't call it "All In" for nothing. Auburn lost about everything. Somehow that's been lost on a surprising number of AU fans, or at least the ones spending too much time posting and not enough thinking. Anonymous internet heroes, as a group, show the analytical skills of an army ant. But c'mon! In this case, the so-called Family -- even the online bohunks -- needs to show some patience. Auburn has brought in very good players. The season is young. Talent + practice + game experience = Improvement. The defense is awful, inexplicably so. But it should get better. Too bad for the Tigers, the meat of the schedule is at hand.

OK, I admit it: Alabama appeared scary good against Arkansas But before Tide Nation flies too close to the sun, remember what's waiting Saturday: A stadium filled with alcohol-enhanced, full-throated obnoxiousness and a roster with just as much athleticism as Alabama. This is our Blinking Yellow Game of the Week. True, AJ McCarron was 15-20 for 200 yards against Arkansas on Saturday, but that's the most misleading stat of the weekend. He still doesn't look comfortable in the swarm. His downfield accuracy is suspect, and Will Muschamp will be firing his guns from the get-go. On the other hand, if this is the Alabama defense we'll see from here on out, McCarron can sit in a lounge chair at midfield and slug beer all night, and still walk out of Gainesville with a win. Big game for both teams. But if Alabama escapes, it will be on veritable cruise control until its November matchup with LSU. This is no gimme. In fact, I think it will turn out to be the slugfest Arkansas/Alabama was supposed to be.

How bad is Ole Miss? Maybe we can trade the Rebs' outright to Southern Conference for Wofford and App State and a Miss America Finalist to be named later. Houston Nutt ran a shell game for years in Arkansas and once again he has fielded a team in Oxford that is outgunned, undermanned and undercoached.

No way to go through life, son.



Anonymous said...

MG, Are you really basing your analysis on internet boards? 99 percent of Auburn fans knew this would be a tough year and Chizik will be fine. We'll just watch the Iron Bowl replay on youtube alot this year.

Michael said...

Valid point, and I hate to think that I'm overestimating the intelligence of an online poster. But come on, even the biggest lughead should be cutting this team some slack.

One other thing that I may have overlooked in the original post . . . Auburn's defense should be better than it is. Gene and the Boys don't get a blanket pass.

Anonymous said...

Key to the game Saturday night will be if my Gators can establish the run at all against the Bama D and set Brantley up with some play action passing. No run game equals a Bama romp. Rainey and Demps running just half as well as they have so far means pressure on McCarron to perform, and he'll fold like a tent.

Also, as far as 'alcohol-induced' goes, just how far into the bag will Verne be calling the game on CBS? I put the over/under for geographical location blunders for the evening at 3...he'll come back from a commercial and say, 'we're back in Athens (or any other SEC locale not named G-ville or Loosa).

Michael said...

Gatoronymous: At this point you nail it.

The last couple of years we've been able to handle Rainey and Demps. If we do it again this year, great. But that still means we have to score. Big, big challenge for all aspects of the offense, particularly AJ and the receivers.

Anonymous said...

The second half of Saturday night's game was the most complete half Auburn has played this year. Of course the opponent was very inferior, so it doesn't say much. To me, the formula for beating the Fightin' Chickens is simple: put 9 in the box and wait for the QB to screw something up. On offense, as long as Trotter can get the ball out of his hands quickly, we should be able to score (SC has very little on defense behind the 4 studs up front).

MG has no reason to worry. Florida has played only 1 legitimate Division I team, and I maintain they share the tile of Most Overrated Team with Georgia. Speaking of Verne Lundquist, he's going to repeat a line this week that he used a couple years ago during a 'Bama-Florida game: "Last week, the Gators only gave up (can't remember what stat he quoted here) to Kentucky. This ain't Kentucky." The Evil Empire will win going away.

Georgia is still ridiculously overrated, and they haven't beat a Division I-A team yet (Misipi isn't D I-A quality anymore). Now they get Misipi State, who have taken 2 steps backward this year. Why do I have the feeling that their fans will start screeching about how superior they are after this win?

Anonymous said...

Ole Miss is so bad that their offense has only scored 2 touchdowns against former Div 1A opponents. They have also given up two touchdowns on turnovers so they are scoring as many for the other team as they are for the Pooh-Bears.