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Auburn and The Issue of "Luck."

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Walt discusses the notion of the Kick-Six being "luck" and Auburn being "lucky."

Just keep going on up, Gus.
Just keep going on up, Gus.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Connelly has an excellent preview on Auburn up at the mothership as part of his previewing every single FBS team. You all should have seen it by now since I pinned it to our front page here at College and Magnolia. You may not have read it all, but I highly recommend you do so.

I take issue with one thing, though. I'll agree that the Kick-Six was a miracle. By definition of something improbable happening, it was a miracle. However, it was not luck. There was nothing lucky about that. Luck implies a bounce going your way. A ball tipped into the air that should have been swatted down. The Miracle at Jordan-Hare was luck. The Kick-Six was just damn good coaching.

We've all heard and laughed at Gary Danielson's "Alabama's got all fat guys" comment. And he's right. Alabama had the standard field goal team on the field and once it was clear to them it was missed, they initially gave up and only half-heartedly finished the play. Until Davis took off running. Auburn had a man back and had the return on. Given these same set of circumstances, I think you would see the same result a decent amount of time. Maybe not a run back, but definitely a great return. LSU returned a field goal for a TD earlier in 2013, and I don't remember anyone saying how "lucky" that play was. It was a great play that was perfectly executed on one side and poorly executed on the other.

Yet people still continue to call it luck. I have a theory on that. It's a quote that's been used and attributed to many people and even made it's way into Batman Begins spoken by Carmine Falcone. People fear what they don't understand. And no one really understands Auburn from 2013. How does a team that played so horribly the year before do what 2013 Auburn did? They point to Auburn's record in one score games last year and how there's no way that Auburn gets that "lucky" again this year.

This ignores one thing: Gus Malzahn's record in one score games. It is just a bit ridiculous. As a college coach (offensive coordinator and head coach) Gus Malzahn is 31-9 in one possession games. So in close games, Gus will win 2/3 of the time. He was 9-5 in those games during his first years with Arkansas and Tulsa. However, since arriving at Auburn in 2009, Gus Malzahn's teams are 18-4 in one possession games. 16-1 since 2010. At Arkansas State he was 4-0. That's 22-4 in those years. When you look at the record in recent years with more talent on his teams and experience coaching in the college game, you see unbelievable statistics. Our own WarRoomEagle provided me with these amazing numbers. Perhaps it's time we start considering that Gus Malzahn might be one of the absolute best coaches in college football in close games. Maybe he's just that clutch. Even if you go back to the "Miracle at Jordan-Hare" and see what that play was supposed to be you'll see that Sammie Coates was wide open with room to run at his ridiculous speed and physicality and he may have scored on that play, anyway. Was what actually happened luck? In that case, yes. But Gus' play-calling had it all set up to be a game-winning (or at least prolonging) play, anyway.

People fear what they don't understand. They don't want to look back at the "luck" and see the genius behind a lot of it. And if Auburn's passing game has improved greatly and Ellis Johnson's defense takes strides forward as his defenses normally do in year 2, then Auburn is going to be much better this year. Oh the schedule is still brutal and Auburn may still end up with more losses than last year. Not even Gus can win them all. But he wins the majority of them. And lately he wins the vast majority of them.

People fear what they don't understand. They fear a team and a coach rolling through opponents and finding ways to win almost all of the close ones. Sometimes it's luck. Sometimes it's execution. But if the way things are looking on the Plains of late is any indication soon it won't be fear of what they don't understand. It will be fear of something they do understand, but can't do anything about.

War Eagle