Those of you who know me as our resident pessimist/doubting Thomas of this website know that I often can be accused of LOOKING for negative things to post. I find that hard to argue, unfortunately. I am a bit of a pessimist. Of course, I don’t view myself that way, I’ve simply been around too long and watched too much football, (both Auburn and everybody else), to invest too much belief in supposed “sure things.” I’d imagine there are more than a few Stanford fans that know exactly what I’m talking about this year.
First, let’s examine the A&M game. There are hardly any negatives that you can take from beating a top 10 team on the road, and arguably doing a better job of holding them than Alabama’s defense did. Our game was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but that is a good thing. We made MANY mistakes, missed MANY opportunities, and still managed to come out of College Station with a win. Let me reiterate that: We were nowhere near a perfect game, and we still beat them. That says a lot. Either A&M is that overrated, or Auburn is that good.
What’s the answer? Probably a little bit of both, but I would say it leans more toward Auburn being that good. Essentially, we played about the same game that Alabama did against them, so the argument could be made that Auburn is just as good as Alabama. Is that true, perhaps not, but the simple fact is the argument could be made. That says a lot.
Gus Malzhan has taken this team far beyond anything I expected this year. Guys, let’s be real. Last year this same team went 3-9, quit on the coaching staff and each other, and were generally the joke of the SEC. This year, we have darn near the same team with perhaps a few changes, (QB, etc.), and we are 6-1 and in a race for the SEC West. At this point, Auburn controls its own destiny. Win out, win the SEC West. It’s that simple. Even the biggest sunshine pumpers on this site will probably admit they never expected to see us here so quickly. I know I didn’t.
The job this staff has done is nothing short of incredible. We have a realistic chance to win the SEC west and play for the championship. We have 5 games left, 1 cupcake, 3 games that we will now be favored in, and the grand finale against the turds. Right now is a VERY dangerous time for this team. There is no doubt that confidence is running high, egos are inflated, and dreams of Atlanta and possibly more are beginning to form. I’ve seen it on this site ranging from the realistic (getting to Bama undefeated), to the downright ridiculous (BCSNC and Nick Marshall for Heisman). Right now is not the time for this stuff. The old cliche of ‘One Game at a Time’ has never had more of an important application.
We HAVE to stay focused. We have a tune-up cupcake this week, then we have Arkansas. Arkansas sucks this year. They are bad. Beyond bad. They are us from last year. By all measurable accounts we should beat the living crap out of them, road or not. Their level of suck suggests nothing less. However, we are Fools if we walk in believing that. Arkansas has a bye week, then they will be hungry. They would love nothing more than to crap all over our dreams. We can’t let them by being overconfident.
We still have Tennessee, who is getting better all the time. They scare the hell out of me. More so than Georgia. Of course we all know the leg humpers hate us just as much as we hate them, and they’ll be looking to crap all over us, too. It would be our luck that Gurley would return by then, too. Who knows?
The point is, we are no longer the underdog. We are the favorite. We aren’t the hunter, we are the hunted. I’m sure Stanford was supremely confident going to Utah. They got their butts kicked. We CAN’T fall into the same trap. I believe that this coaching staff knows this. They are smart. They have done an amazing job this year. I believe that they are going to keep our boys in the right frame of mind and keep them focused. I hope that everyone here will be the same way. I’ve seen some pretty farfetched stuff pop up lately, and I’m maintaining my realism.
I KNOW that we SHOULD go into the turd game undefeated. We are better than everybody we are playing. We have no reason to lose to any of them. That doesn’t mean we won’t. Every week should be the most desperate week of our football team’s life. It doesn’t matter how much better we are than they are. It’s entirely possible that Arkansas could play the best game of their life in 2 weeks, and we could have an off day. Ask Stanford. Ask Sakerlina. Ask FSU against NC State last year. Ask the Denver Broncos last week.
Stay focused team. We are all counting on CGM and the staff to keep them where they are supposed to be. I think they will. I believe in them.