I'm sure that most of you in addition to being college football fans are also major NFL followers. I'm bandwagon at best and I admit to more than a passing fancy to have seen the lockout continue until next year. Yes, I know--no hate mail, please, and whatever you do, don't leave this thread with almost four
minutes paragraphs left on the clock. With NFL preseason contestswinding down, that left the rare weekend of having college games played ad naseum Thursday through Sunday. And if that ain't a triumphant return, I don't know what is.
With all the hype of the Chick Fil A Kickoff Game and the Cowboys Classic showcasing nationally ranked SEC teams, I'm not so sure that the two games actually leading off the season Thursday night, Wisconsin-UNLV and Miss State-Memphis, weren't the ones that didn't grab the largest audience share. Yes, they were top-20 ranked teams playing nobodies, but both put on quite the show. I tuned into the State game for some scouting for next week and they looked like a finely-oiled machine, drumming the Tigers thoroughly. State did what they could to earn points for SEC-west TV game of the week for this Saturday, but we didn't hold up our end of the bargain, hence the 11:20 AM kickoff this weekend.
And memo to Memphis: I know you play in C-USA, but if you open the season on a Thursday night with a national audience against a ranked team from the strongest conference in the nation agreeing to open on the road and you can't fill but two-thirds of your stadium, maybe it's time to focus on basketball. Either that or import other fans from the conference to give you all the asses in seats you can get. That was embarrassing.
And what about that game Friday night with Baylor and TCU? Already a BCS-buster has been busted. Thank you Bears, since Georgia didn't take care of business with the perennial other one. Do they play no defense in Texas or the Big
12 10-9? That was a pretty exciting game, I must admit. Maybe I need to take in Arena Football next?
All and all the SEC did well this weekend with their cupcakes (not you, LSU or Auburn) with only Georgia and Ole Miss losing to teams that play or played in conferences with the word west in them. Auburn's last minute miracle placed the spotlight firmly on the Dogs and Rebel-Bears--the former with a beat-down at the hands of Boise and the latter with a late 4th quarter face-plant against BYU.
And memo to Georgia: time to bury the gimmick uniforms once and for all. I know the Blackout worked for you once against Auburn, but by my reckoning, you're 1-3 in fashion statement contests and the last time I looked, this wasn't Paris or Milan. That was awful--Georgia with their futurama outfits and Boise with their throw-backs. You can't go to the future and back in time simultaneously--it could cause a college football black hole--one outside Miami, that is. Stick to the silver britches and leave the CFB haberdashery to Oregon. You see how well it works for them.
Oh, and Oregon. How close you are to disproving the whole notion of west-coast football superiority. You're the best from there of late but you're 0-2 against SEC teams your last two games, so the streak remains alive. I thought for sure you had revenge on your minds from January, but you were clobbered at the hands of another SEC defense. While I'm pretty sure you'll run through the PAC this year and still challenge for the BCS, you have to think that RB Lamichael James, the Heisman runner-up from last season, is out already this year. Forty-nine yards against Auburn in the BCS title game and fifty-four Saturday night against LSU? Those are like Emmit Smith against Auburn numbers. Meh, just as well. I think they've already crowned Andrew Luck of Stanford anyway.
So now to the Auburn Tigers. Okay, meaningless stat of the week: Auburn has now won it's 92nd opening game in history, which is second all-time in the conference to--wait for it--Alabama at 93. What does that mean? Probably that we schedule a lot of patsies for season openers. I think I'd be more impressed if we had a similar record in conference openers. Of course, that would probably mean that we usually open with Mississippi State.
Okay, elusive stat of the week: who was the last national champion to lose it's season opener the following year? They mentioned first Miami in 1990 during the broadcast, but it turns out it was Michigan in 1998. Notre Dame was the last champ to lose to an unranked team, lastly in 1978. Makes you wonder if they research these things beforehand just in case, or if they just have some guy in the booth on the internet?
Since it's Tuesday and we at TET have already rehashed the game backwards and forwards, here's my quick hitters about last Saturday:
- You simply must work Phillip Lutzenkirchen into the game early and often. His leadership is desperately needed. We can't save him until the end like some sort of trump card. Auburn has forever under-utilized tight ends. I thought that would change when we starting calling Lutz a H/Slot-back. Get on it.
- Barrett Trotter must present some threat to run the ball or the opposing defense will key on our backs every time. The guy can be elusive. Let him take off a few times, unless the coaches think he's too fragile. If that's the case, put Mosely in. Look, we know he can't run like Cam, but 5-8 times a game would open things up considerably. Maybe Malzahn is waiting for State to show that card?
- Speaking of Trotter, his rating Saturday was impressive. Yes, there were some under and over throws, but overall I was impressed with his accuracy and resolve to hang in there at the end. What he had to tell his teammates in the locker room Saturday afternoon will probably have a greater effect on this team than anything the coaches may have said.
- Travante Stallworth, you have arrived. You looked like John Stallworth out there. Way to step up. Glad to see that a big time receiver is no longer in doubt between you, Emory Blake, and Travon Reed.
- Tre Mason: the best is yet to come. Haven't seen an Auburn Tiger come out of the starting blocks like that in his inaugural effort in a long time.
Everybody have a great week and we'll talk again by Saturday. War Eagle!