HEY! Man, Saturday passed super fast. I hung out with a gal pal and her other pals and watched three SEC West football games and before I knew it, twelve hours had passed. Saturday was one amazing day of football, right? Wowee zowee. What was that all about? I had to stay in Birmingham because of some pesky day job stuff, and I drank delicious beers and I ate delicious pimento cheese (a Sean Brock recipe) and I ate some Conecuh sausages and then we ordered some Papa John's pizzas and then I looked up and it was like 10 p.m. Sarcasm aside, I have no idea where Saturday went. That was one hell of a day of football.
1. This team just don't look right. Hey, gang. I was right. But here's the thing about me being right that is aggravating right now: when I look at the rest of this season, the game that "scares" me most is this week. In Starkville. Mississippi. Home of Mississippi State University. It's the school that my high school guidance counselor nearly talked me into attending because he wanted me to major in broadcast meteorology. Imagine that! Me! James Spann! Standing in front of a green screen and showing you storm fronts.
I want to gloat and tell you about how right I was about y'all worrying about something being amiss, but after "Shakeout" Saturday, the team that bothers me most is Mississippi State.
Now, is Mississippi State that good? Or is Texas A&M who we thought they were? That's the fun of TAKES, right? Mississippi State beat LSU's doors off, but so did Auburn. Mississippi State beat Texas A&M with ease, but what have the Aggies done? They soundly beat South Carolina in week one, but haven't accomplished anything since.
So should I be bothered by that? Should I be bothered by GameDay's first trip to Starkville in Mississippi's greatest year? I mean, I don't know. Here's what I thought about Mississippi's big day in football: I thought that Alabama would beat Ole Miss by 14. Minimum. So that win impressed me.
What did I think would happen in the Texas A&M/Mississippi State game? I have no idea. But Mississippi State's ability to score points "scares" me. Nothing SCARES me, with Auburn's coaching staff and talent. But I have always said that teams that can score with Auburn are the only ones I "fear."
2. Defense. Hey. Auburn can play defense. And they can play it really, really well. So why should I "worry?" LSU is well coached and they have a boatload of talent and nothing should take away from the fact that Auburn held LSU to a touchdown. Nothing should take away from the fact that Auburn stopped just short of taking a knee on every snap of the the second half. The last thirty minutes. Auburn just wanted to run the clock out. For a half. Ellis Johnson is great at coaching defense.
3. Weapons. Auburn beat LSU soundly on Saturday, and only three offensive weapons really made any noise: Nick Marshall, Sammie Coates and Cameron Artis-Payne. Sure, Jeremy Johnson had the pass in the Johnson Package (and bros, you know I love the Johnson Package), but Marshall accounted for, like, 70% of that offense. There were some oohs and ahhs, but that was pretty vanilla. I'm not sure that Auburn really SHOWED anything, except the two quarterback set, which we were already aware of.
4. Surprise! What is going to dazzle people that haven't watched this team yet? It can catch footballs and it can play defense. This isn't what last year's team was. I'm not sure folks realize that Nick Marshall is as good as he is. I'm not sure that folks realize that Auburn is, at least, four deep at wide receiver. And I'm not sure that anyone realizes that this team has a dominating defense. Auburn is a more complete football team right now than it was when it beat Alabama, then Missouri and earned itself a spot in the BCS National Championship Game last season. But again, the thing that "bothers" me, if that is such a thing, is that the Mississippi State Bulldogs are the scariest team left on Auburn's schedule and that game is less than a week away.