TAKES: 2ND EDITION, VOLUME 7

Thomas B. Shea

9-3 ISN'T A HOMER PICK AFTER ALL.

One friend and follower suggested that I could make this a lot easier by just posting the Vine of myself laughing maniacally. Maybe add a lot of HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAs. I dunno. I thought about it. It was around this time last year that I simply drew a picture of a dumpster on fire after Auburn lost to Arkansas.

Man, a lot has changed, ain't it?

I watched this game! Start to finish! I didn't think I'd be able, because my pesky day job that allows me opportunities to make bloggin' $$$ had a big event this weekend and I was required to work it. But my very kind boss realized that I could handle my social media responsibilities from home and allowed me to leave after lunch. So I grabbed some beers and headed over to my pal @joey__t's place with my Bammer lady pal and her two Cocker Spaniels and we watched football. We ate chips. Even some salamis and pickled dilly bean things she made. Cheeses. The whole spread. It was wild! Just bros hanging out watching our alma mater play a football game. Brad was there, too. Do you guys know Brad? He's cool. He has a great story about Polo jeans. Ask him sometime.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA: lol. LOL! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAH! I knew this was going to happen! I did. I called it. Charles Hollis did not call it, and he is universally know for being "The Picker." Not one staffer at AL.com called it, and they are universally known for their fair and objective opinions. Across the board. No one. No one thought Auburn could win this game except for me, my AL.com Auburn Football Podcast co-host War Blogle and a bunch of people dismissed as homers.

But this wasn't a homer pick. I'll never convince a non-believer otherwise, but it wasn't. Sometimes, I just get feelings in my gut, in my BONES, and I knew this. This was that time. To be absolutely clear and distinguish, that time was NOT at LSU. It was also against Florida in 2001. It may have even been against Alabama in 2010. I said before the season began that Auburn would win the four it should, the four swing games and ONE of the four it shouldn't. And I know that I was called a dumb homer.

But I just felt it. That's a bizarre thing to try to explain, but it's the reason. The team that Gene Chizik left behind wasn't untalented, it was undisciplined. And lazy. And after seven games, that seems clearer than ever.

I knew that Auburn would win this game. And I'm not really sure that I ever doubted it while it was happening. The only time I felt uncomfortable was leaving the 70 seconds or so on the clock after the go-ahead touchdown.

IFS AND BUTS: I said it then. It didn't take this long to have 50/50 hindsight. But if Gus didn't get cute in the LSU game, the first half, Auburn has a real shot at being undefeated.

But it's a double bind.

I understand why Gus thought he had to be cute in that game. LSU was a much more intimidating opponent when Auburn got those Tigers than they are now. If Auburn had gotten the other Tigers later in the season, the outcome would have likely been different. But that's how the cards fall, and it's difficult to complain about 6-1 and 11th in the BCS with one week remaining in October.

DROP IT LIKE IT'S HOT: The wide receiver drops are bothersome. It's the one thing that is just really nagging at this point. But then, sometimes Nick Marshall throws terribly. It's the damnedest thing -- sometimes he is awful, sometimes Sammie Coates drops a bomb in stride and then, every now and then, both things work at the same time and it's gorgeous. I don't know what you do about that. The tunnel screen to Coates was one of the finest play calls of the year. Coates throwing that defender off of him will be on the $35 videocassette of the season's highlights sold at J&M.

I am going to tell you another play call that I loved. And it will factor into ONE PLAY that is big later in the season:

Jeremy Johnson makes his first appearance in the "two-quarterback system." Hands off.

That's it. Hand off. A few yards. It's like Chinese water torture. Bring Jeremy Johnson in. Every now and then. For the next few games. And hand off.

Then? You bring him in on second-and-1 against, I don't know ,Georgia? BOMB.

THAT was the greatest call of the game. Bring more of that.

OFFICIATING: "Welcome to SportsCenter, where we're here to tell you how SEC officials messed with our narrative. Stay tuned for highlights of Auburn's horse collar."

I don't think it was a horse collar, but I am a graduate and a fan, so I understand I may be blinded. What I do believe to be fair is this:

What the what with the officials telling Johnny Manziel, following his go-ahead touchdown, "Settle down, son. You are about to do something to get a penalty, and we don't want that?"

Why is no one talking about that?

I don't think either call makes a difference in the outcome, but you're telling me that the officials had an agenda because their subjective opinion was that Manziel was tackled by his jersey, but that they don't have an agenda because they intervened and explicitly told him how not to get a 15-yard penalty?

Forget the A&M line holding like they were making a Craigslist exchange in Roebuck after dark. Let's go call against call. Telling a player not to do something that you know he is going to do that will cause you to penalize him is more egregious than a judgement call.

Like, if a cop sees you pee on a wall outside of a bar and looks the other way, whatever. "No, thank YOU, officer." But when the cop sees you start to unzip your pants and says, "You don't want to do this. If you follow through, I will arrest you."

THAT"S WEIRD.

So. Here we are. I told you that Auburn had a chance to shock the college football world, and it did. Plainly stated, Auburn will enter November of 2013, one year removed from its most catastrophic season in program history, 7-1. Likely in the top 10. And in control of its own destiny, not just in the SEC West, but the SEC, and perhaps the nation.

Auburn isn't going to beat Alabama. At least, I don't have the slightest "gut feeling" that's a reality yet. But 10-2 is a real thing. That can happen. 10-2 and a trip to Orlando? Maybe New Orleans?

These are real things right now. It seems impossible, but with what this team has done, and with what it has ahead, the eight wins that most "pundits" and "brilliant experts who look down on you because you are an invalid fan" thought were impossible would be a disappointment.

Eight wins is a disappointment at this point. Eight. A HUGE disappointment.

Eight wins at this point means you beat Florida Atlantic, either Tennessee OR Arkansas (which are both pretty terrible) and lost to everyone else. Including Georgia.

I said nine. Maybe I'm not a dumb dumb after all.

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