Well, here we go. Everyone was thinking we'd be lucky to be 7-5 this year, and that's precisely what it's shaping up to be. Saturday night was a really nice reality check for those of us that were hoping for 8 or 9 wins this year. We just got beat, at home, by KENTUCKY. Oh yeah, they haven't beat us since 1966, either. I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
At least Arkansas made us look better earlier during the day by giving Florida all they wanted and more, but then we had to go and make ourselves look terrible in our own game. We can forget about contending for the SEC west now. At this point, I'm just hoping we can beat Furman and become eligible for the obscurewhateverwebsite.com bowl against some mid-major 6 win team who will show up and try to make us look bad. The Arkansas game was at least excusable, perhaps going on the road for the first time against what is appearing to be an underrated team (at least after this Saturday), and then maybe Kentucky would have been excusable if we could be accused of looking ahead to LSU, but under these circumstances, there are no excuses. Auburn was just flat out piss poor Saturday night. I had to keep a can by my chair to constantly dry-heave into.
This week Auburn managed to get a measly 3 votes in the AP poll, after being #17 2 weeks ago. Wow. If that doesn't say something about our performance, I don't know what else does. Ben Tate was a shining star on an otherwise pathetic offense, rushing for 132 yards. The Auburn rushing attack was right about where it usually is, with Auburn rushing for a very respectable 220 yards. The passing game, however, was awful. Chris Todd looked like the holding-the-ball-too-long, spaghetti-noodle-for-an-arm Chris Todd of last year. In fact, he has for the last 2 weeks. 2 weeks ago, I was on here making the argument that he has numbers as good as any Heisman candidate QB in the country. And he did.......2 weeks ago. Now he looks like Chris Todd from last year: The Chris Todd that we all hated, the Chris Todd that was Tony Franklin's boy, the Chris Todd that we wondered why in the hell he was EVER in a game instead of Kodi Burns. I was a Chris Todd fan until Saturday night. Saturday night his ridiculously poor play cost us the game. He missed so many throws, made so many bad decisions, that I was ready to see him replaced by ANYONE.
One thing I've noticed about Todd is that he lives and dies by his first few throws. Earlier this year, the Auburn offense came out, looked stout, put together a strong drive, scored, and gave Todd his confidence. As a result, he played beautifully. The last couple of games, the offense has come out and sputtered, and Todd sputtered with it. If he doesn't start well, Todd doesn't seem capable of bouncing back to a good game. That is NOT a quality you want in your starting QB.
Most of you are going to think I am crazy, but I think the defense looked better last night then they have all year. The only glaring problem was the inability to stop the run. Of course, most of this was due to the same problem we've had all year: tackling. They only gave up 21 points, which you would normally think would be plenty for the vaunted Auburn offense to overcome. And OMFGROFLCOPTERWOWZERS!!! There were actually some BLITZ PACKAGES put in!!! And oh yeah, THEY WORKED!!!!!! Wow!! Who would have thought that tossing in a blitz or 2 might actually create some positive results!! I know I'm going to get destroyed on an Auburn website for this, but I have to bring it up: Alabama's 1992 national championship team. Probably the best defense ever seen in college football. Why? They blitzed, blitzed more, and blitzed on top of blitzes. They had 10 guys up on the line every single play. You knew they were coming, and there was nothing you could do about it. They forced offenses to adjust to THEM, which is the exact opposite of normal. The moral of this story is, BLITZING WORKS WHEN DONE CORRECTLY. Saturday night was the first night that I've seen Auburn actually put in a blitz package or 2 and go after the QB on 3rd down. Well done, coach Roof. Despite the fact that our defense is weak, and everybody knows it, the strongest part of it is the secondary, in my opinion. I'd trust them to man cover on a few blitz packages. It's the best chance we have of stopping other teams.
What about LSU? Again, you guys are going to think I'm nuts, but I think we've got a real shot to beat them in Baton Rouge. Why? MATCHUPS. Auburn matches up well against them. LSU is not as good as they are ranked, I can promise you that. They have a 1st year starter QB that will make some bad decisions. Their defense is good, but not that good. If Auburn's offense wakes up and executes like they did the first 5 games LSU will have a LOT of problems. They'll have 2 weeks to prepare for us, which is bad. But, at this point Auburn should be in we've-got-nothing-to-lose mode. We've got 5 games left, and we are capable of winning any and/or all of them. I'm not convinced we're dead yet. As of right now, we have nothing to lose. The pressure is off, there is no more talk of 5-0, contending for the SEC West, or anything like that. The coaching staff needs to wake and get these kids ready to play. Chris Todd needs to wake up and get his own game in shape, or be replaced. He needs to get back to what I saw in the first 5 games, when I was singing his praises. If his arm is gone, or he is hurt, he needs to be replaced.
War Eagle everyone! Don't give up yet. I'll be very interested to see what happens Saturday!