Saturday was just great, wasn't it? I didn't have work obligations, no circumventing the globe for rock concerts. I sat in a comfortable chair, drank Miller High Life and ate bratwursts for about 13 hours. I barely remembered how much fun that was. I barely remembered how fun night games were. I barely remembered what a big win felt like.
There were hog-and-ladders and Game of the Centuries Part Five and reverse clempsoning and Vandys not being Vandy.
Saturday was a damn blast, and reminded me why I love college football.
The obvious. - What am I going to tell you about Texas A&M that you didn't see with your own eyes? Jeremy Johnson looked very good, Jovon Robinson looked great and Daniel Carlson is flawless.
Ok, I'll try to add commentary to that.
Auburn might have a full blown quarterback controversy in 2016. They just got John Franklin III to fix things, but maybe they didn't need fixing. Right now, Auburn has two very competent quarterbacks. Are either the same threat to run that Cam Newton or Nick Marshall were? No. Which is why it's probably going to be bittersweet to see both of these guys on the bench when the troops are called in next season. If one thing has been made abundantly clear this season, it's that Coach Malzahn needs a dual-threat quarterback. For this thing to HUM. I think Sean White is closer to that than Jeremy Johnson, and that's not saying a lot. So what the JUCO transfer has to do in order to prove himself better in that department is very little.
Jovon Robinson looked like a player that was worth a rigmarole. But I think we have been seeing flashes of that. I don't know if we will ever get answers on what was happening with he or Jeremy, but those are the things that I would most like to hear when we do the exit interview on the 2015 season. If Auburn played the entire season the way that they played on Saturday, I don't have a doubt that they would be 8-1, and with Alabama's win over LSU on Saturday, there would be a three way tie for first. And that would be a damn MESS. So for everyone but Auburn, that probably made things easier.
Daniel Carlson is just a sophomore. If Cody Parkey returns to the Eagles healthy next year, Auburn may have two starting NFL kickers in 2018. That's nuts. Auburn has had a pretty decent grip on RBU, which hasn't really slipped, but is it time to also be KU?
That said, I don't want Daniel Carlson kicking four 30 -yard field goals every game. I'm glad they can be counted on, but if those field goals are touchdowns, Auburn will coast against Georgia and will be competitive against Alabama. If they aren't, it's gonna be a tall order.
The overturned targeting call was egregious. Penalties are give and take, so I don't complain much about them, but that one was bad. And a kid got seriously hurt. I'm not sure the injury and the targeting portion of the play are directly related, but it's a shame.
But really, you knew all of that.
Bowling, Bowling, Bowling. - The Carolina Panthers host the Tampa Bay Bucs on Sunday, January 3. On Saturday, January 2, the Charlotte Hornets host the Oklahoma City Thunder. And on December 30, regional department store Belk hosts the Belk Bowl.
In a scenario where Auburn wins either one or two more games, I can't fathom a more perfect union. Now, if Auburn does the unthinkable, sure. I can. Orlando is really fun that time of year.
But if Auburn is 6-6 or 7-5, lovely Charlotte can invite Auburn fans to town for six days. There are an abundance of cheap, direct flights from Birmingham, Auburn fans will want to stay for a week to see Cam Newton and all the while, they'll be DUMPING crisp, new money into their economy.
Auburn hasn't done this bowl trip, the bowl with the slightly funny name and the quirky social media account. I, for one, have never been to Charlotte. Been in that airport a bunch! Enjoyed the rocking chairs and the Bojangles! But I've never DONE Charlotte.
It sounds perfect to me, to be honest. Anything under eight wins and above five, let's paint Charlotte orange and blue.
That's one guy's take.
The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. There are a lot of things that are overrated in the SEC. The Grove. Night games in Baton Rouge. Basically anything in Tuscaloosa that isn't the quality of their football team.
Here is what is not: Athens. They say they have 300 bars in three blocks, and by God, they do. They say they invented alternative music, and by God, they did. Hell, Athens has AMAZING food, and they don't even tell you about that in the brochures and pamphlets. Athens, Georgia is probably my third favorite Southern city behind Charleston and Nashville. If picking up and planting yourself in a city didn't involve packing or worrying about how the bills get paid or crying over the loved ones that you have to leave behind, those are the first three places in America that I would go.
But Georgia's PEOPLE? They don't deserve Athens. There isn't a more violently angry, hateful group of fans anywhere. Remember those Cleveland Browns fans that barked at you and ate Alpo? That is my image of Georgia fans, but add croakies and a trust fund.
I remember a day when either I didn't understand how nasty this rivalry was because I was insulated in North Alabama or that it was pleasant, and I can't figure out which. I like to think the latter. But at some point it turned, and Georgia fans decided that they HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE Auburn. I'm not talking about the kinda hate you have for doing your taxes or even the kinda hate you have for driving in Atlanta. I am talking about intense, unbridled, unsolicited VITRIOL. The kind of unhealthy hate that Paul Finebaum and his ilk nurture for ratings with disregard for actual consequence. The kind of hate that ends with trees dying or sexual assault in a Krystal.
And I don't feel like Auburn fans have ever spent that much time hating them back. It's a truly bizarre relationship. And I don't feel like I am exaggerating. I think Nick Fairley is when it went from fun to gross and unhealthy.
In any case, perennial nine victory mastermind Mark Richt knows how much this game matters to those weirdos, he knows his seat is hot and he will throw every damn thing he has at winning it, which is why my expectations are low. On paper, hell, on film, Auburn is a better team right now. I just hope that they are more motivated.
Thankfully, motivation and effort are near the bottom of Auburn's weaknesses this season.