After a week off of gazing into the murky haze of the past and dragging some semblance of lessons learned into the present, I am rested and ready to do some more digging.
Auburn v. Arkansas is a tough game to predict seemingly every season. Their coach seems to say whatever he wants regardless of pesky things like facts and reason. It makes him unlikable to some, to others it makes him qualified to be the Republican nominee for President (kidding, just kidding). BERT has come to be a thorn in the collective side of Auburn Fans. It seems if Auburn wins it is merely because we have superior talent, are a “team of destiny” or just plain cheat with our “gimmick” offense. The one time Auburn lost to him at Arkansas was last year’s overtime thriller/turd-sandwich. He really is only a problem to Auburn in theory. The Tigers are 3-1 against him, and have outscored him 126-92 in those games.
People still seem to get worried about the Hawg every year, though. So, in order to put at ease the collective mind of the Auburn Family, I will once again look to the past to determine the future. What past event could possibly give us a glimpse at what might happen Saturday?
My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.*
The Creation of the World
October 22, 4004 BC, at 6pm according to James Ussher, God created the heavens and the earth. Ussher was a 17th Century Archbishop in the Church of Ireland. He used the Bible’s genealogies as a sort of roadmap to determine the age of the earth, although he also had to make a few estimations along the way. In any event, his account of the age of the earth was widely held for hundreds of years. Even non-believers as recently as the sixties defended his research methods and his scholarship. Ussher was a diligent man.
Now, I’m a person of faith—even professionally at times—and I don’t agree with Ussher’s use of the Bible as some sort of cheat sheet to the chronology of the past. Besides, 6pm in what time zone? Isn’t that an obvious question? Did the creation of all things happen at 6pm in each time zone to allow for the One God, the Father, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible to work at a slow pace, going from time zone to time zone? I like to imagine God with an alarm set for 6pm, waiting for it, and then yelling “Be” at the sound of Marimba.
Anyway, to each his own on those sorts of things. I think the concept of the cosmic beginning has a lot to tell us about the upcoming Auburn-Arkansas game.
On October 22, 2016, at 6pm Eastern—exactly 6020 years from the moment of Creation, something will come to an end. Auburn, under Gus Malzahn, will have put to rest the Auburn-Arkansas, “BERT vs Gus” rivalry with a defensive beat-down of Biblical proportions.
Auburn has held all but one of its opponents this season to under 20 points. Auburn’s opponents are also only converting around 30% of third downs against the Tigers, and are facing third and long more often than not. This Tiger defense is destructive, especially on first downs, especially early in each half. Carl Lawson, is coming off the best game of his season, and is getting more dominant with each game. He might get three sacks this Saturday. Montravious Adams is unblockable. It would be more fair to Arkansas if Auburn just lined up an actual rhinoceros at defensive tackle because the rhino doesn’t know the rules of football, and would spend a lot of the game eating the grass.
Kevin Steele has proven to be the best offseason hire in the SEC. He is making magic happen with these players. This is not saying the Hawgs won’t score, but I do predict they have a hard time finding points.
Gus’ offense will score enough to salt this game away by the start of the fourth quarter, because he knows he has what it takes on the other side of the ball to keep a lead safe.
There will be touchdown runs from Pettway and Johnson and both will be good. A play will be made between touchdown runs, and the play will be called a touchdown pass, and it will be good. There will be evening and morning, and the fifth win of the season
Finally the Hawg Hex will be done, the fabricated rivalry between these coaches will be over, and Auburn will move back into contention in the SEC West (as weird as that is to be typing, it is true).
So look for Auburn’s defense to continue it’s reign of terror. Look for the play-calling to continue to be creative, imposing, and maniacally precise. Look for Gus to look at his new BFF Kevin Steele after a defiant Auburn touchdown late in the third quarter and say:
Auburn wins. 31-17