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Wednesdays with (Oscar) Whiskey: Spurnin' Sir Big Spur

In this edition, Oscar gives a half-ass analysis on the upcoming game against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Kevin C. Cox

Hello, hello, Auburn Tiger fans, Oscar Whiskey here and after a brief respite thanks to last week's bye to recharge, regroup, recoop and refocus; I think I can speak for everyone that we are ready to get this show back on the road. Sure, of Auburn's next six opponents, only THREE of them happen to be ranked in the top 10, but nothing new there (thanks ESPN HYPEOTRON 4000). Oh and all three of those opponents just happen to be road games as well (thanks SEC Scheduling department)! But we are not going to focus on that right now and instead let's talk about the Tigers' match up against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Before the start of the season, the Gamecocks were pretty much pegged as THE team in the Southeastern Conference's East Division. Then there was the season opener against the Aggies and all those expectations came crashing to the ground like a ton of bricks attached to a giant safe resting atop a grand piano. However, following the loss it seemed like Spurrier and Co. might bounce back just fine with a solid win over East Carolina and an upset against #6 Georgia, but that wasn't to last. You see, sometimes a football season is a lot like a rollercoaster; sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down and sometimes your cart falls right off the tracks. While South Carolina's season has not completely derailed there's a good chance that might occur this Saturday.

By the Number(s)

So I'm going to commit a sports blogging faux pas and base this entire "analysis" section on game/performance statistics. Yes, I know it is not the best way to judge an opponent, particularly one that has already taken down one top 10 foe (HAHAHA OH MARK RICHT), but it is the quickest and easiest way (read: laziest) to do so.

The Gamecocks' offense is doing okay for the most part. According to, South Carolina's Offense is good for sixth in the SEC and is ranked fourth, seventh and ninth in Passing, Rushing and Scoring respectively. Dylan Thompson ranks third in the conference with a completion percentage of 61.3%, averaging 262.7 ypg and has thrown 15 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. However, in the Gamecocks' loss to Kentucky, Thompson threw three interceptions. Auburn's Passing Defense has improved tremendously from last year and is just three interceptions away from matching last season's total. Auburn might not get the most pressure on Thompson but he certainly won't have many open targets down field.

Flip it around and Auburn's offense easily outclasses the Gamecocks' D who is ranked in the bottom three in Total, Passing, Rushing and Scoring defensive categories. As poor as Auburn's pass rush is only one team is worse and that would be South Carolina. If there were ever to be a game in which Auburn needed to reestablish all facets of its' offense against a notable opponent, from Marshall getting in rhythm to receivers catching the ball to getting the running game churning and burning, this would be that game.

Spurnin' Sir Big Spur(rier)

Since South Carolina joined the Southeastern Conference they have never beaten Auburn. Not once. Not even when the Head Ball Coach himself took over and revitalized the program in both competitiveness and notoriety, the Gamecocks have yet to scratch off a victory against the Tigers. This year will be no different.

I can still remember when Spurrier arrived on the Plains in his first year with the Gamecocks. Everyone was pumped about his return to college football and wanting to see if he could accomplish what he did with a program like Duke again, but this time with USC. Jordan-Hare was packed, loud and ready to go. Well, we weren't the only ones who were happy to see the Ol' Ball Coach. Apparently, Tuberville was also excited to welcome Spurrier back and did so with an absolute thrashing winning 48-7.

Ideally, as with every game, Auburn needs to score quickly, score often and get the starters off the field to save them for the Tigers' own upcoming big road game next week. More than likely, though, the first half will probably be a grind. It wouldn't surprise me if in the first possession Auburn starts off right away throwing the ball like they tried against Mississippi State. I also would expect Malzahn to play this one pretty close to the vest (see what I did there) and keep the offense fairly vanilla.

This is all ideally speaking and basing it off of nothing more than partial observation and past performances. I could be completely wrong and could espouse all the ways I could be wrong, but who wants to do that, much less read it. No, this isn't "just another game" for Auburn; in fact the ultimate result of this match up is quite crucial in our continued hopes of where our Tigers might stand in the new playoff system. Before the 2014 season started we all had this date circled. Today, this Saturday is still circled.

Well, that's it from me for this week. Make sure to come back again, same Whiskey time, same Whiskey channel, College and Magnolia dot com.