On Friday night my friends Pat and Susan McNease drove from their farm in Virginia to go to the Auburn Ole Miss game. We did dinner at the Hunter’s Pub, a steak house literally in the middle of nowhere. (Click here to read my Feb 27, 2012 review). Our steaks were good and we had a fried lobster tail appetizer that was yummy.
Pat is a rabid Ole Miss fan and the Rebel’s close win at Jordan-Hare left him exhausted for the ride back to Jackson, Mississippi. The close loss left 80,000 Auburn fans scratching their head and wondering just what in the heck is going on. The Plainsmen are 4-4 with only one win in the SEC and that is unacceptable by any standard of Tiger expectations.
Everyone is offering their version of what is wrong with Auburn and I might as well jump in with mine. I believe Auburn has talent equal to any school in the SEC with the possible exception of Ole Miss. I believe that expectations were set so high by the coaches and media that following the first loss of the season everyone, coaches and players began to try too hard.
The coaches have abandoned any attempt to control the offensive line of scrimmage in favor of hoping for big gains on complex plays. This strategy results in an occasional big play and a whole lot of third and longs. This is putting pressure on the players to leap tall buildings and out run speeding bullets. They are uptight and no one is having much fun. Opposing teams are allowing Auburn to beat itself.
What should be done? Nothing dramatic, just relax, this season is already a disappointment, but the disappointment could be soothed with wins over the last four opponents. Auburn has better talent than A&M, Georgia and Idaho and they are just as good as Alabama. Gus, just let the guys play and by the way, don’t go for fourth down at midfield in close game. It’s like going all in to draw to an inside straight, the odds are horrible and it looks desperate.
The rest of Saturday’s games went pretty much as expected, Miami’s win over Duke was a mild surprise, especially in the way it came about, but the Hurricanes are better than their record. Memphis and Houston won and kept their records unblemished. Memphis will be taking on the Naval Academy and Houston will face Tommy Tuberville’s Cincinnati Bearcats. The Cougars and the Tigers will play on Nov.14th
Next Thursday my MSU Bullies will travel to Columbia Missouri for a game with Mizzou. Mizzou has a good football team will be playing with their starting QB. As usual the TV crew will be touting the home standing Tigers and analyzing what is wrong with Mississippi State this year. We’ll have to play at our best to have a hope.
No 8 Notre Dame coming off a close win at Temple will travel back to the Keystone State and take on the Pitt Panthers. Pitt has played up and down this year, but they won’t have a problem getting up for the Irish and I see Notre Dame in another close win. The annual battle for football supremacy in Research Triangle Park plays out when the 6-2 Duke Blue Devils come to Chapel Hill to face the 7-1 Tarheels. North Carolina will win in a shoot-out.
Ole Miss will rout the visiting Razorbacks at Vaught Hemmingway and Florida State will upset the high flying Clemson Tigers. One of two premier games will pit Undefeated TCU against equally undefeated Oklahoma State in a battle for the Big 12. Both teams can light up the score board and I have no idea who will prevail, but I suspect the over and under will be close to 150.
The other premier game will be played in Tuscaloosa when LSU visits the Crimson Tide. LSU is undefeated and Bama has but one loss and both will have plenty of incentive. This is a must game for Bama, lose and they are out of the running for the SEC West. LSU can make the Ole Miss game the SEC West championship game by downing the Tide. I’m picking the Bengal Tigers to win thanks to some wild assed play calling by Les Miles.
There was good news and bad news surrounding my grandson Jackson this week. The good news is that his team, the Jackson Broncos, won their first game in the playoffs to remain unbeaten. The bad news is that Jackson injured an ACL and is out for the rest of the play offs. I only hope that this won’t ruin his skiing this year.