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Deep Inside the Numbers: Auburn- Georgia

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These are the times, Level number 9, Look up in the sky 10 is on the Way

NCAA Football: Auburn at Texas A&M
Throwing darts like my name was Glen Durrant
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This is it. Auburn fans, we have reached the time of the season where it doesn’t matter how many points we scored against Mississippi State, or how many times we made Arkansas’ defense look silly. The only thing that matters is what happens in the next three weeks. If the next three weeks go well, Auburn fans will talk about the 2017 team the way we talk about the 83 team, the 93 team, the 04 team, the 10 team, and the 13 team. This squad will be special, historic, legendary, and it all comes down to Saturday. Top 10 matchups in November is what you want. We want to be playing meaningful football games this late in the season. We want to have the right to talk about our team with the best teams in the country at Thanksgiving dinner.

Auburn has lost a bit of the swagger the fanbase had in 2010 and 2013. We used to be the team no one wanted any piece of, and we knew it. We embraced it. We were the pirates of the SEC waters, and we knew it. We loved it. We even had a flag made by @AUPPL to commemorate the movement.

Let’s get it. Let’s go into the Georgia game with the confidence we used to have. Let’s channel the epitome of this attitude. The talisman of Auburn swagger and swashbuckling, the REAL world’s champion; a wheelin’, dealin’, kiss stealin’—WOOOO!—son-of-a-gun:

NICK FAIRLEY

Why? Because he rules and he makes Georgia fans so mad. Sit down UGA, be humble. Let’s prove our confidence with some cherry-picked stats that make us look smart at the tailgate on Saturday morning.

First, a poem:

Mathing is a hobby, that’s the way for me,

D-line coming fast, J Fromm best not sleep,

We making room in our Heisman safe

Slayton, Hastings, Jarrett with the fadeaway Wooo

Johnson, Johnson, Johnson, Auburn’s up to something.

Auburn and Georgia are playing for the 121st time in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Auburn will be hosting the Bulldogs and is riding a 9-game home winning streak. The last game Auburn lost in Auburn was on September 17, 2016, against Texas A&M. It will have been 421 days since Auburn last lost a game in Jordan-Hare Stadium when toe meets pigskin on Saturday. Four hundred and twenty one days. When Auburn last lost a home game, we had a different president, the only Nazis anyone talked about were in 1940s Germany or Indiana Jones movies, and we were worried about Zika. It’s been a long time since then.

Auburn will face one of the best backfields in the country on Saturday. Georgia will run it, and run it, and run it again on third down. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both seem like they have been toting the rock for the Bulldogs since 1986, and they seem to run for 100 yards in their sleep. If either of them break the 100 yard mark, it will be the first time Auburn has allowed a 100 yard rusher in Auburn this season. Auburn has held the top rushers it has faced at home to well under their average per-game totals. Nick Fitzgerald looked pedestrian against the Steele Curtain. Aeris Williams? Please. Auburn held him to 49 yards and 3.2 yards per carry. Jordan Wilkins? Who? Auburn held the #10 rusher in the conference to 65 yards. Auburn has faced three of the top 10 rushers in the SEC and has yet to see one of them rush for 100 yards, and has only allowed one touchdown total.

Auburn’s defense, which is one of the five best against the run in the country, will come into the Georgia game about as scared of Chubb and Michel as I am of any khaki-shorts-wearing Georgia fan with a last name for his first name, looking like he’s read more greens than books.

Auburn has played Georgia on November 11 on three occasions, and Auburn is 2-1 in those games. Overall, Auburn is 10-4 on games played on November 11, and is 5-2 in Auburn on November 11. Georgia, on the other hand is 12-6-1 on November 11, but every single loss and the tie came in games played away from the friendly hedges of Athens. Georgia fans, you should be shaking in your Coach equestrian boots looking at the calendar.

Auburn has a real live quarterback starting for it on Saturday. The case could be made that has only been true two other times since Brandon Cox. Just like Cameron Newton AKA the greatest and Nick “Shark Eyed Assassin” Marshall, Jarrett Stidham is a junior college transfer who has toasted some of the better defenses in the SEC West. In conference games, Stidham’s QBR is off the charts. He is leading the conference in completion percentage, and is third in yards and quarterback ratings. Stidham is the difference maker on offense for Auburn. He makes safeties play deep and can burn a defensive end on the zone read when needed. Georgia’s QB has thrown more interceptions than Stidham even though Fromm has attempted 70 fewer passes. I’ll take Auburn’s QB over Georgia’s any day of the week. That hasn’t been the case since 2014. Like the Cargo cult worshippers of John From, Georgia fans have their faith in a false hero. Jake Fromm will be asked to pass more than he would like, and the bad haircut-having, spiky shoulder-pad wearing Georgia faithful will watch in dread as a new breed of swagged out Auburn defensive linemen make a three course meal of their quarterback. The last two times Auburn came into the game with the SEC’s leader in sacks? 2013 and 2010.

Finally, the real reason Auburn will win. Auburn has never lost to Georgia when both teams are ranked in the top 10. It’s never happened. The Tigers are 3-0 in those games. Over 100 years of history and it has never occurred that a top 10 ranked Georgia team has beaten a top 10 ranked Auburn team. They have tried three times, but it has never happened. The last time they had a chance was in 2004, and Auburn simply dispatched with David Greene and company.

Let me put it in terms UGA fans will understand: playing Auburn this weekend will be like that time you asked your dad to cover your green fees since he always does, but he didn’t. It will be like that time someone had a newer BMW three series at the sorority house than you. It will be like that time you had to try to explain what a financial advisor did that the “mint” app didn’t and got confused. It’s cool, no one will remember this in a few years, like most Georgia teams that win the SEC East.

Chattanooga v Auburn
Smile For Me
Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images