Catamounts for Homecoming.

By Posted on: June 6th, 2013 in Football 6 Comments »
WCU Preview

Western Carolina will provide even less drama than the A-Day game.

     War Eagle, everybody. In this spot the past five weeks, I’ve provided a preview of upcoming Auburn football opponents. In week seven, following the Ole Miss game, Auburn celebrates Homecoming. This year’s October 12th opponent is the Western Carolina Catamounts. The game falls in a curious spot in the schedule, this season. Instead of providing a rest around traditional Amen Corner opponents Georgia and Alabama, this game happens a week before a road trip to Texas A&M. I wonder whose decision moving Homecoming to mid-October was? The move sets Auburn up for a November that includes road games at Arkansas and Tennessee, followed by Georgia and Alabama at home. That’s a pretty tough finish to the

     For those wondering what a Catamount is, various dictionaries agree that it’s a medium-sized wild cat, like a cougar or lynx. Western Carolina is the only football-playing college to use that name for their mascot. For those wondering how dangerous this game is for Auburn, consider that Western Carolina, an FCS school, has only won nine games in the past five years. Head coach Mark Speir is in his second season with the Catamounts, after a nine seasons as an Appalachian State assistant. Western Carolina hopes to improve after a 1-10 record last season. The Catamounts only held two opponents below 38 points last season, giving up 14 to Mars Hill and 25 to Samford.

     I’m not going to bore everyone with my usual breakdowns for this game. Just assume an “advantage: Auburn,” tag in every area. When Auburn has scheduled these FCS games in the past, it’s usually at least been against an opponent with some wins, like Samford, Alabama A&M, Chattanooga, or Furman. The Catamounts finished 119th out of 121 FCS teams on defense last season. This game will likely be relegated to either ESPN-U or pay per view, although I can’t imagine anyone shelling out extra money to watch this one on TV.

     Games like this make a good argument for adding a 9th conference game to the slate. No one who spends big bucks for Auburn season tickets deserves to have games like this shoveled at them. And it’s not even in a good spot in this season’s schedule. Auburn needs an open date before, and a cupcake after Ole Miss? Please. I wonder who in the athletic department is responsible for this clunker?

     Auburn has played Western Carolina twice before, taking a 55-6 win in 1986, and a 56-0 victory in 2002. I’d expect the Catamounts to perhaps score a bit more in this game, but they’ll be hard pressed to keep the score down to those levels, unless Gus Malzhan really empties the Auburn bench.

     I suppose the biggest Auburn news this week, at least from my perspective, is the announced semi-retirement of long-time Auburn beat reporter Phillip Marshall. After five years of great coverage at Auburnundercover.com, and many more years at the Huntsville Times and Montgomery Advertiser, he’s going to do part-time work with Charles Goldberg at the official Auburn website. I’ll certainly miss his perspective. He’s one of the last of the old-school football reporters, who actually write about the sport with a bit of reverence. When the whole world was predicting the death penalty for Auburn over Cam-gate, Marshall had the courage to tell the truth. He was widely ridiculed for saying that nothing would come of the investigation, but look how that turned out.

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  1. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Wait a minute. Goldberg is no longer with the Birmingham News? Holy crap.

    Also, I agree about these fluff games. It’s not cool.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..The Bham News sized way down recently. They only deliver three print editions per week, or something like that. Tons of folk got laid off. The News, the Huntsville Times, and the Mobile Press Register now all share a “Sports Bureau.” One possibly familiar name that writes there is Joel Erickson, who used to be with the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

  2. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    I know I’m in the minority but I don’t mind a cupcake on the schedule as long as they are scheduled before a big game like maybe LSU/UGa. Western Carolina may not have much of a football rep but they have a beautiful campus. Spent a week there once, attending a conference.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..One of the dangers of writing these things at 3:00 in the morning is forgetting ideas. This particular idea is this: I understand that scheduling an FCS opponent a year really helps the program’s bottom line. And one of those games DOES count towards bowl eligibility now. My issues with Western Carolina are:

      ……Record. This is one of the worst FCS teams out there, although they should improve this year. They had some decent talent come in last season, including speed on offense at receiver, running back and QB.

      …..Timing. We’ve given up our tune up/injury recovery games prior to the UGA and Bama tilts. On the other hand, considering last year’s results, those tune-ups may be overrated.

      …..And finally, do we need to import an FCS team from North Carolina? If we’re going to pay out a $750 grand check or more, why not keep it in state? I’m sure UAB, Troy, USA, or even UNA would love the check. Or Alabama A&M. or Alabama State. I thought last year’s game was a good thing for the state. And it would make for a lot more interesting game, at least from the local coverage aspect of it. The game would generate interest locally, and you wouldn’t have ten thousand empty seats.

  3. mikeautiger says:

    I don’t mind a softy but how about a lower division 1 team that will at least make it interesting in the first half. But to drive over for a team that is nothing more than a glorified scrimmage that we have down 21 points before the 1 qtr is over is just not worth the expense of traveling over 4.25 hrs., gas, hotel, food etc. and sometimes I can even see it on the tube in SC.
    What happens when you play football trying not to get hurt…you get hurt. You loose your edge.

    Here is another thought. Wat if they decide to do away with the permanent other division team. Why don’t we schedule GA instead of one of these lamo teams. So what we play another SEC team. Back when I was a kid bama played one more SEC game than Auburn and sometimes we would beat Bama but they would still win the SEC because their winning percentage was higher if we both had one loss.

    I would rather see us lose a close game to a big team than see us win 72-3. If you want to be the best you have to play the best!