This week, a bunch of people are going to write articles telling you why the 2007 college football season was great, or weird, or exciting. For the Auburn fan, the 2007 season can only be described as a terribly weird waste of everyone’s time. No game better encapsulates that fact than the dumb 2007 Mississippi State game.
People talk about the 2008 game all the time. It has nicknames. “Baby I’m Burning” “tres a dos” “The game that offense forgot” are all fun ways to remember a miserable Saturday night, but the dumb 2007 game was dumber than 3-2 for five key reasons.
- Kickoff was at 11:30AM central. That is dumb. This game was actually part of a streak that Auburn was on in which the Tigers lost six straight games in which they played a team who wore primarily red in games that kicked off before noon. It started with the 2005 CapitalOne Bowl vs Wisconsin, then the 2006 Arkansas and Georgia games, the 2007 MSU game, the 2008 Georgia Game (some count the 2008 Ole Miss game as well), and the 2009 Arkansas game. This red-based-team-before-noon curse bedeviled the Tigers until His Blessedness Cameron Newton soundly defeated LaMonroe in 2010 to break the streak. Football games shouldn’t be started at 11:30 local time.
- Five different quarterbacks for the two teams combined to throw for only 148 total yards on 40 total attempts for an astounding 3.7 yards per attempt. Brandon Cox, the winningest QB in Auburn history was pulled in the first half after throwing two interceptions. Kodi Burns threw a pick in his first real playing time at QB as well. Mississippi State WON THE GAME and went 5/18 on passing attempts for 41 yards and no touchdowns. This game was dumb.
- In this dumb game, Auburn gave future NFL runningback Ben Tate all of 15 attempts while future WR coach Kodi Burns rushed 22 times. It is the opinion of this writer that Ben Tate is the least appreciated Auburn runningback since 1990, and this game is just one example of how underutilized his skill set was while at Auburn. His counterpart on the Bulldogs, Anthony Dixon, toted the rock 29 times for MSU.
- This dumb game showcased Auburn being indecisive about a QB long before Gus played with our hearts and the depth chart against Clemson. Starting senior QB throws two picks, is benched. Back up freshman QB makes the offense hum in the second quarter, leads team to two touchdowns. Offense stalls in third quarter, Freshman QB throws pick, is benched. Senior QB comes back in the game to smattering of boos from the crowd, Auburn loses. Tale as dumb as time.
- The third quarter saw five punts, one fumble, and zero scores. 137 yards of offense were gained by both teams in the third quarter and the majority of that came from two Auburn drives of over 40 yards that ended in a fumble and a punt from the MSU 43 on 4th-and-3. Punting from the opponent’s side of the field on fourth-and-manageable when you have Ben Tate as your runningback? Vintage Late-era Tuberville.
I remember walking out of Jordan-Hare completely shell-shocked. “Who just beat us?” Auburn hadn’t lost to Mississippi State in six years. I remember being extremely sweaty, extremely hot, and extremely mad that there were still so many other college football games to watch. When Auburn loses a dumb game, and the 2007 MSU game was the dumbest, I try to watch as little football as possible. I don’t know, maybe I just hate seeing other people happy when I am sad. I hate seeing other offenses work. I hate seeing other defenses get turnovers. When an Auburn game goes dumb, I just want to go to sleep.
In the second quarter, when Kodi Burns was making the offense look futuristic and Al Borges look like a genius again, I remember telling someone “Maybe he’s the next Mike Vick!” Kodi was a great player for Auburn and ended up a quality wide receiver on a championship team, but he was never going to be the next Mike Vick. The only thing dumber than this game was me.
Auburn football has ups and downs. Each season has moments of joy and despair. Nothing is dumber than losing to Mississippi State after out-gaining them by 110 yards in the same season in which you beat a top 5 Florida team. Dumb season. The writing for the 2008 disaster was already firmly on the wall in 2007. Auburn games still have a tendency of going dumb at times, but as bad as they can get, they never look as dumb as when games went dumb in 2007.