Sunday, August 31, 2008

Post-game thoughts: Auburn 34, University of Louisiana – Monroe 0

I’m late posting this, but there’s a reason. I was at a party on Saturday night and listened to the game on the radio. I knew the game would be broadcast on CSS on Sunday night and I wanted to get my visual impression. That’s because we didn’t sound that great on radio.

Granted, I didn’t know what I was expecting. I knew there would be some shifting of quarterbacks. However, when I realized it was going to be every possession, my first thought was that was utterly stupid. I figured neither QB would be able to get in sync. It sounded like it. When Kodi Burns went out in the third quarter, it seemed to allow Chris Todd the opportunity to get in to some kind of rhythm.

However, the following should be noted:

1) Three points!

Before you think I’ve gone nuts and can’t subtract, I’m not talking about the difference in the score of Saturday’s game. I’m talking about the difference that last time Auburn unveiled a new offense.

When Al Borges came to the Plains in 2004, the opening game was against UL-M. The final score of that contest was 31-0.

With Tony Franklin, the score was three points higher.

Granted, Tony Franklin did have the Clemson game in which he supposedly installed 25% of the offense. Still, it was pretty new to many of the players. However, whereas Auburn, I believe, scored on its first possession in the UL-M and had its way early and often, this offense did not seem to get on track and owes much of its scoring to defense and special teams. This team also went to the red zone and had difficulty getting the ball across the goal line

2) Defense

Any time the defense pitches a shutout, congrats should go all around. They did almost give it up at the end, but a dropped pass in the end zone by UL-M preserved the outcome. However, I thought Rhoades was going to teach these guys how to put their hands up and try to block passes. So, there’s a lot to go. However, I do believe they held UL-M to 1 for 16 on third down attempts.

3) Special Teams

Special teams looked awesome. From Robert Dunn’s punt return to the fumble on the kickoff to open the second time, Auburn’s special teams either scored or put Auburn in the position to score. Keep this up and they are going to be the difference in some games going forward.


4) Odd thing noted:

Don’t know why this is, but Kodi Burns looks better on TV than he sounds on the radio while Chris Todd is the exact opposite. Don’t know why that is. When I listened on the radio, I thought Chris Todd should be running it. When I watched on TV, I thought Kodi should be in control. Since I will watch more games this year on TV than listen to on the radio, I’m going to vote that Kodi should definitely get the nod for the Southern Miss game and that he should be allowed to get some rhythm.

Now that I’ve written this, I’m going to do what I’ve been waiting to do: go on the message and news article boards and see how wrong my analysis is. Of course, you’re welcome to tell me how wrong I am here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August 30: Auburn vs. University of Louisiana - Monroe

Say one thing for ULM, no one should ever complain about their non-conference schedule. ULM opens at Auburn and then plays at Arkansas, before starting their conference games. Of the two remaining non-conference foes, one is Ole Miss. This means that ULM will play as many SEC West teams as SEC East teams are required to do.

Normally, if this game weren’t the opener, it wouldn’t get much attention. However, with history and bad blood, it’s hard to miss. I’m not talking about bad blood with ULM, but bad blood with Alabama. The school that paid $4M to go 7-6 last season lost 21-14 late last year to the Warhawks. And while it’s hard enough to compare teams during the season, especially with so many upsets, it’s even harder to compare season over season when teams change personnel and chemistry. Make no mistake, though, an Auburn win over ULM this season will be viewed against an Alabama win from last season. (And, in the same vein, Alabama’s opening game against Clemson will be viewed against Auburn’s bowl game vs. Clemson). Ironically, ULM, in its other non-conference games, lost to both Clemson and Texas A&M, meaning that last year’s Alabama team failed at something that both its opening day opponent and Dennis Franchione accomplished last year.

But back to focusing on the Warhawks…

The Warhawks will make this a quick game. They like to run the football. Last year, ULM led the Sun Belt Conference in rushing and was 16th in the nation at 209 yards per game. And though they lost their top RB from last year, the teams’ focus will remain the same.

Auburn, as the fans know, also likes to run the football. The Tigers have Ben Tate and Brad Lester in the backfield and last year’s can-do anything guy, Mario Fannin, playing in the slot receiver position. At QB, the depth char still shows Kodi Burns and Chris Todd. I think Kodi will take the first snaps, but that both will play a lot.

On defense, look for Paul Rhoads to iron out kinks and rotate many players, particularly in the secondary. Seen as a strength early on, the secondary now lacks depth and playing time is the only solution.

The game, which kicks off at 6:00 p.m. CST is on PPV only. Replays should hit on CSS on Sunday evening around 6:00 p.m., if it holds form to last year.

Look for an enjoyable game. Look for Auburn to make at least one mistake big enough for ULM to capitalize on. Look for Auburn to, in the end, wear ULM out.

And look for an Auburn victory.

War Damn Eagle!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Week 15: SEC Championship: Auburn vs. Florida

The SEC Championship will feature Auburn and Florida in a match-up that few will expect Auburn to win. However, given that no one expected Auburn to beat Florida in '06 and '07, the one group of people that will not be overconfident in the Gators themselves.

This game will go back and forth with numerous lead changes, busted plays by one team that lead to TDs by the other, and a game that will be one for the ages. Tebow will be at his best, but so will the Auburn offense. In the end, a field goal will decide it again.

Predicted Score: Auburn 31, Florida 30
Predicted Auburn record: 11-2

By tomorrow or Thursday, my detailed review of the upcoming Auburn - ULM match-up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Tooth Story

Christopher lost a tooth last night. It was time. The tooth that came out had been wiggling for three weeks or so. I commented on it nearly every night, as I helped him floss his teeth.
“Christopher, you want me to help you pull it out?” I asked.
Christopher would wiggle it, make a pained sound, and say, “Not yet, Daddy. It’s not ready.” We would finish his teeth and hope for the next day.

A few minutes later, after that scenario played out once again, Christopher came running back to me, “Daddy! Daddy! Blood! Blood!” Blood ran from Christopher’s mouth. I looked inside it and saw the tooth as the source. Christopher had apparently tried to wiggle it some more. It was ready. We went to the sink in his bathroom for him to rinse out his mouth. I got a tissue and helped him clean off his chin. Christopher looked at himself in the mirror and opened his mouth to see his teeth. He grasped his tooth, wiggled it a little more, and pulled it out…then accidentally dropped it in the sink.

“Daddy! Daddy! I dropped my tooth.” I tried to grab it, but was too slow and grimaced as the tooth went down the drain. I looked in and thought I saw the tooth, sticking to the side of the drain plug. “Daddy, can you get it?” Christopher asked.

I thought for a second and thought no way. Yet, I couldn’t let him down. Knowing that we still have Christopher’s baby teeth saved, I went and checked in our bathroom, opening the drawer where I stuffed most of the envelopes that had once been under pillows. They were gone. I headed downstairs and explained to my wife what had happened. “What did you do with their baby teeth?” Mo had cleaned out the drawer and put the teeth in a pillbox. I was relieved they hadn’t been tossed.

I went to the garage and grabbed the bucket I normally put under the drains for those times when Liquid Plumber won’t fix the clog. “Christopher, please wait a few minutes.” I then headed to our bathroom and grabbed a spare baby tooth. With Christopher watching intently, I made a big show of removing the pipes. “Don’t worry Christopher, we’ll get it.” I eventually used some sleight-of-hand pulled the baby tooth from my pocket. “Got it!” I said. I then put the pipes back on, tightened them, and washed off the tooth. “Here you go,” I said. “Don’t drop it this time.” Christopher was excited. “Daddy, get an envelope. I need to go to bed or the tooth fairy won’t come.”

One day, Christopher may realize what I did. For now, I just know he went to sleep happy.

Week 14: Auburn at Alabama

Week 13 is a bye week. Hence, the annual Iron Bowl is Week 14.

I read an article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution about who are the worst fans in the SEC. It listed Auburn fans as the second most obnoxious in the SEC. The problem with Auburn fans is that they talk constantly about six straight over Alabama, the way Alabama fans used to talk about their consecutive victories over Auburn. In short, Auburn fans have become what they once detested. (The same article listed Alabama at #4, citing them as boorish and not realizing that they're irrelevant.) Do we lord the current streak over Alabama fans? Do we rub it in? I think we do.

And it's going to stay that way.

Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa for the final regular season game. Our Tigers have never lost there and that streak will continue as well. The Kool-Aid drinkers (Bama fans) have been celebrating two decent recruiting classes, all the while forgetting that what's on paper is a long way from what's on the field.

Look for Auburn to strike early and Alabama to find some way to strike back. However, that will be the limit on happiness for the Crimson and White.

Predicted score: Auburn 24, Alabama 13
Predicted record: 10-2

Note: With a season record of 6-2, Auburn and LSU will tie for the SEC West crown. Auburn will play in the SEC Championship Game by virtue of head-to-head. The opponent will be Florida.

For those reading this in November, please look to the right had side of this blog and click on more recent posts. If there isn't an updated preview of the game, there should be soon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Week 12: Auburn vs. Georgia

If there's one week the last two seasons that has made me cringe, it's been the annual match-up with Georgia. Two years ago, we were out of it from the opening series. Last year, we went into a funk after going up 20-17 in the 3rd quarter. Like all Auburn fans, I felt for my Tigers, wondering just what was going on.

This year's contest returns to Auburn, traditionally a site where Georgia has better odds. Unfortunately, the game will hold true to form. Current polls have UGA in the Top 5 with some predicting an NC. I disagree with the NC. I think UGA will lose to Florida and not even win the SEC East. However, they will still be in the race at this time and will maintain their slim hopes of winning the Division. This one will not be embarrassing like the last two, but the end result will sill be the same.

Predicted score: UGA 20, Auburn 16
Predicted Auburn record: 9-2

Note to readers the week of the AU-UGA game: If you'd like to read my current thoughts on the game, please check the right hand side for more recent postings. Thanks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Things Every College Football Fan Needs

A friend of mine e-mailed me a both a helmet schedule for the 2008 season as well as a helmet game. The helmet schedule has all the Division I football teams, listed by conference. You can find your own school, look at the week it is, and then see the helmet of the opposing team. It's really cool. As for the game, you open it up and see 50 college football helmets. You test your knowledge and see how well you know college football.

Unfortunately, these two items are in Excel, so I can't post them. Leave me a post here with your e-mail address and I'll be happy to send it to you. You can also check out my profile. My e-mail address can be found there. Thanks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

College Football and Museums

I posted this here, as watching your favorite team play should be a family event.

A friend of mine e-mailed me a both a helmet schedule for the 2008 season as well as a helmet game. The helmet schedule has all the Division I football teams, listed by conference. You can find your own school, look at the week it is, and then see the helmet of the opposing team. It's really cool. As for the game, you open it up and see 50 college football helmets. You test your knowledge and see how well you know college football.

Unfortunately, these two items are in Excel, so I can't post them. (Note to the webmaster: If there is a way to post these items, please let me know.) Leave me a post here with your e-mail address and I'll be happy to send it to you.

For those of you that want to do more in a weekend than watch football, Bank of America is doing a promo through April 2009 where you can get in free the first weekend of the month, just by showing your Bank of America credit, debit, or ATM card. Participating museums in the Atlanta area are: Atlanta History Center, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Fernbank. For more information and a complete listing of museums nationwide, please click here.

Week 11: Auburn vs. Tennessee-Martin

This is the game that you know was scheduled as a breather (because we have Georgia the following week). This year, it's Tennessee-Martin. Last year, it was Tennessee Tech. Expect the 2nd and 3rd string to get in a lot of work in this game and the score to still be lopsided. However, scheduling the breather last year didn't help up the following week against UGA.

Predicted Auburn score: Auburn 38, Tennessee-Martin 6
Predicted Auburn record: 9-1

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Week 10: Auburn at Ole Miss

Houston Nutt, a coach who made life vs. Arkansas interesting for all SEC teams, now coaches the Ole Miss Rebels. It was a good move for Nutt, who was woefully under appreciated where he was.

Coming off a victory over a Top Ten Mountaineer team, Auburn will come in flat into Oxford. If there's one thing history proves, flat against Ole Miss makes for long day. It will be for the Tigers. However, Auburn will be victorious in the end. Still, look for Auburn fans to drink one extra beer (or two) before this one is over.

Predicted score: Auburn 26, Ole Miss 23
Predicted Auburn record: 8-1

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Week 9: Auburn at West Virginia

The title say Week 9 as Auburn has a bye during Week 8. This is fortunate as WVU has a bye during Week 8 as well.

Auburn gets 12 days to rest up from its meeting with Arkansas before traveling to Morgantown to play West Virginia. This game is referred to as the most important non-conference game in the SEC this fall. (Yes, I know. Georgia fans will cite their meeting at Arizona State; Alabama fans will cite their Clemson match-up.)

This game, scheduled for a Thursday night, will have the nation glued to its seats as both teams will definitely be Top 20 and possibly even Top 10. The rest will do Auburn good, as they will be ready to play, but so will West Virginia. Last year's Big East and Fiesta Bowl Champions, who were one game away from the NC before blowing it against Pittsburgh, are the pre-season favorite to win the Big East again. Led by QB and Heisman hopeful Pat White, WVU has a chance to run the table under its new head coach, Bill Stewart.

My prediction for this game is a low scoring affair. Coach Stewart retained the previous DC, who had the one of the bet defenses in the nation last year. Whereas Auburn now has Paul Rhoads, who at Pittsburgh had the #5 defense in the nation last season. Auburn will be victorious, but this game will go down to the wire.

Predicted score: Auburn 18, West Virginia 16
Predicted record: Auburn 7-1

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Potpourri

My favorite sports columnist, John Pruett, unfortunately retired back in March. (Unfortunate for his readers, but good for him.) He was great in his SEC coverage. However, my favorite columns of his revolved around bringing to life wonderful sports stories of everyday people. I enjoyed those columns more than his game write-ups. Mr. Pruett also used to run columns of interesting tidbits that, when combined, made a full column. He referred to it as a potpourri. Today's column is similar. Hope you enjoy it.

* In the store this past weekend, Andrew saw a cardboard cut-out of Hannah Montana and admitted to having a crush. I've known this was coming, but still it was interesting to hear him admit it. Thankfully, my wife doesn't take Vanity Fair.

* An article on msn.com yesterday touted the health benefits of coffee. I've seen them before, but this one was one of the most positive I've ever read. My wife would respond that two cups of coffee are okay; two pots are not. (OK, I really only drink a pot.) I'm drinking regular this morning.

* College football practices have started. Mo believes my true first love is the Auburn Tigers. She's wrong, but I seem to do a lousy job of convincing her.

* In a counter argument to the previous point, I am currently doing a game-by-game analysis at my other blog, Walt's Place, about how Auburn will do this season. Click here to be taken to the site.

* I recently learned that Home Depot does a Kid's Workshop. The one close to us, at Exit #4 just off of I-985, does theirs on the first Saturday morning of each month from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Call the Home Depot close to your area for details. They likely do this as well. The boys made flagpole holders this past weekend, in honor of the Olympics, and had a blast. Next month, the craft is race cars. We'll be there.

* Have signed the boys up for fall baseball. Andrew is ready for Scouts to begin and Christopher wants to be a Tiger Cub.

* School starts next week. My kids are looking forward to it. However, it appears my wife is looking forward to it, also. It is nuts to start school this early. Hopefully, the discussion in the state legislature about moving the school year to a September - June time frame for 2009-2010 will take root. However, that will give the kids the longest summer vacation in recent memory.

* Admittedly, I am looking forward to school starting as well. My job now allows me to work from home twice a week. When the kids are in school, I get to have a lunch date with Mo (thereby blowing any gas savings I was getting). However, Mo and I have had few "dates" since the kids were born. We have to enjoy them when we can get them.

Week 7: Auburn vs. Arkansas

Week 7 pits Auburn against one of its annual pains in the a**: Arkansas. In those seasons when Auburn seems to get to LSU, they seem to fall asleep when playing the Hogs.

That won't happen this year.

Arkansas has some good players, but finds themselves in a rebuilding year. In addition, though supposedly Tuberville holds no animosity toward his former OC, Bobby Petrino, but I find that hard to believe. Look for Tuberville to be pumped and to add in a few plays to make his and Petrino's first on-the-field meeting a lesson Petrino won' forget.

Predicted score: Auburn 35, Arkansas 6
Predicted record: 6-1

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Great One is Gone

This blog mourns the loss of long-time Braves announcer, Skip Caray. My condolences to the family. Click here to read a full article.

A Great One is Gone

This blog mourns the loss of long-time Braves announcer, Skip Caray. My condolences to the family. Click here to read a full article.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Week 6: Auburn at Vanderbilt

In 2004, the season in which Auburn most recently went undefeated, Auburn played the Vanderbilt Commodores. Few people seem to remember how close Auburn came to blowing it. Only a memorable goal line stand saved Auburn's season as the Tigers won 14-10. Every year, Vandy pushes several teams to the limit. Last year, they should have beaten Georgia, but fell in way that it almost Michigan State-esque.

In this game, I don't expect those types of fireworks. Playing at Vandy will keep the game close, but only to some time in the second quarter. Look for Auburn to pull away at the end.

Predicted score: 38-10
Predicted Auburn record: 5-1