Raise your hand if you thought Auburn would be in this position at the beginning of the year. Anyone? I thought so. I know I sure didn’t. I’m more pessimistic than most, but the biggest Auburn Homer prediction I saw in the preseason was about 9-3. I thought that was utterly ridiculous. I would have been perfectly happy with 6-6, and going to the obscurewebsiteproduct.com bowl. Seven wins including the bowl win would have been one heck of a year in my book after what went down last year. I was adamant in my predictions and praying people wouldn’t get too ridiculous with their expectations. After all, Gus had one heck of a mess to clean up after last year’s disaster.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong in my life.
Of course, I was not in the minority. I was in the strong majority. I had NO expectations this year other than to hope that the team fought hard and showed some improvement. I’ll take gargantuan, ridiculous exceeding of expectations for $1000 Alex. I didn’t even care if we won 6 games or made it to a bowl. All I wanted to see was a marked improvement in attitude and on field play. I mean after all, we had just gone 3-9, and 0-7 in the SEC. We got the living excrement beat out of us by any team that was worth a damn last year. We even had to fight a little bit to beat the bad teams.
Now look at us. Look at what Gus Malzhan has done this year. It is nothing short of miraculous. Ethereal. Godlike. I hate to use words like that to describe a frickin football season, because Lord knows the REAL deity of the universe has better things to concern Himself with than Auburn football. However, there is simply no other way to put into words the scope of what Malzhan has done. And now, in two short nights, we will be playing for a second national title in four years.
I want to win this game. I want to shove it in the Updykes’ faces. I hate Bama fans with the fire of a million suns, and I am not alone, not just in the state of Alabama, but in the country. They are the most arrogant, delusional, trailer-trash, uneducated, disgusting, incestuous, pathetic, nose picking, booger eating, ignorant, brainless, inbred, dishonest, hypocritical sacks of elephant excrement that have ever walked the face of the earth. There is nothing that would satisfy me more than shoving another BCS-NC in their face. However, when compared to the scope of this season, if we don’t win this game, I’ll be able to live with it.
I am so proud of this team and this coaching staff that there is simply no way to put it into words. Many have called this the greatest comeback in the history of college football, and I defy you to find one better. Eight wins would have been an incredible year. Nine wins would have been unbelievable. Twelve wins and a National Championship berth borders on Sainthood. It is simply unbelievable how essentially the exact same team as last year, (with a few obvious exceptions), that couldn’t even be competitive in the SEC, is now playing for the right to call themselves the best team in the country. The only explanation is the coaching staff. Coach Malzhan and his staff have done the impossible. Of course, he has won pretty much every coaching award available this year, and I DARE you to find anyone more deserving. You won’t. The job he has done is simply amazing. We are the luckiest team in the college football world right now because we have him as our coach. Saban Schmaban. I’ll take Malzhan over a hundred Sabans, especially after Alabama’s humiliating performance Thursday night.
Now we have to face Free Shoe University. Reading their fan blogs, we are essentially getting no respect. With a few smart exceptions, most of their fans believe this game is a big waste of time, and they should just GIVE them the championship. Auburn doesn’t stand a chance. They have been lucky all year. They got lucky twice in a row with Georgia and Alabama, and Missouri played bad against them. It doesn’t matter that they were only held under 200 yards rushing once this year. It doesn’t matter that they faced the two best rushing defenses in the SEC the last two weeks and averaged over 400 yards per game against them. It doesn’t matter that they finished the year beating two Top 5 teams in two weeks. It doesn’t matter that after they played Missouri, they dropped approximately 30 positions in the national rush defense rankings. We are going to be able to do what Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee couldn’t do, and that is stop Auburn from running the ball. They are delusional. They should all be locked up in padded rooms
Florida State is saying the same crap that every single ‘expert’ and football talking head has said about every Auburn game for the last 2 months. “This is the week that they will be stopped! They won’t be able to run the ball against (insert top 25 team’s name here)’s defense! We’re sure this time!” I can’t believe that people are actually paid to be that wrong and stupid. Why can’t I get a job doing that? I’m smarter than most of them, and quite often more right. Now they are saying the same exact thing they’ve said every week about Auburn for the last two months and expecting that finally, this time, they are going to be right. Albert Einstein defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.’ The only logical conclusion is that every football analyst and most FSU fans are completely insane and should be locked up. Either that, or just delusionally stupid.
Me? I ain’t scared of Free Shoe U.
Why? The answer is very simple. They are the southern version of Ohio State. They dominated a schedule full of bad teams. Their best win all year was Clemson. That’s right, Clemson. They are the Georgia of the ACC … perennial underachievers. They have a major coaching problem, but that is a whole other column. They won big at Clemson. Good for them. The next best team they beat was DUKE. That’s right, DUKE. While it’s hard to take away anything from Duke this year, they ran through a weak conference and blew a three touchdown lead in a bowl game against the 3rd best SEC West team. Sure, they scored 48 points in that game, but everybody scored 48 points against ATM. Nothing special.
Supposedly their next best win was Miami, who was ranked No.7 at the time. They dominated Miami, who turned out to be another paper tiger, losing their next two games after that, got spanked in bowl game, and finished the year unranked. The best rushing team they faced all year was their closest game: Boston College. BC finished the year barely over .500 and got the living crap beat out of them by another average-on-their-best-day bowl team, losing by a LARGE double digit margin.
Bottom line: FSU has played a light schedule against bad teams, and hasn’t had to face adversity or put together 4 quarters of good football all year. They might as well be Northern Illinois. Or Ohio State. When it comes time to actually play somebody, we’ll see how good they really are. Jameis Winston looks like a world beater throwing touchdown passes to 6 foot 5 receivers against bad ACC defenses all day, but let’s see what happens when he has Dee Ford, Carl Lawson, and Nosa Eguae in his face all night. Remember Oregon and their unstoppable world beater offense? What did they score against our average on its best day SEC defense – 19? We’ve all been down this road before, people. Remember Oklahoma vs. Florida? Oklahoma scored at will with Sam Bradford in the Big 12 against bad defenses. They were going to beat the living hell out of Florida and Tebow by three or four touchdowns because their offense was so awesome. What happened when they had to face a good SEC defense? If you said they got shut the hell down, you just won a late Christmas Turkey.
Now, that being said, I don’t believe we are going to shut them down. If we were LSU, I’d think so. But we’re not. Our defense has been quite porous all year,with the exception of our front four. It’s actually remarkably similar to the Oregon game. Will FSU score? Yep, probably. Will they score more than us? No way in hell. They are NOT going to stop us from running the ball. If Alabama couldn’t do it, Georgia couldn’t do it, there’s no way the soft ACC defense of FSU is going to do it. They’re ranked pretty high nationally in defense, particularly rush defense. My question is against who? Yeah that’s right, against a bunch of bad teams. It’s easy to look awesome when you play a pathetic schedule. But Ohio State has already proven the following point this year, as has Northern Illinois: You can’t go through a schedule playing crappy teams and then claim you are the best because you didn’t lose to any of them. Put Mississippi State on FSU’s schedule, they win 10 or 11 games and are playing in a BCS bowl. They just beat the living snot out of the C-USA Champion, who had a 10-3 record. This is a 6-6 bottom of the barrel SEC team. Mississippi State had their scrubs in by the end of the 3rd quarter. The last couple of series they were rotating between their 4th and 5th string QB. MSU’s biggest problem is that they play in the SEC West. Put them in the ACC and they are perennial contenders.
Strength of schedule matters, no matter what the FSU fans say. Of course, nobody seems to believe it, even after the last 7 years of underdog SEC teams showing up and beating the tar out of the other conference champs in the BCS-NC game. I see no reason why this will be different. Notre Dame fans were sure that they were going to stop Alabama. After all, they were undefeated and Bama had a loss. That game was over in a quarter and a half. FSU fans think this is going to be the most lopsided championship game since USC/Oklahoma.
They can keep their delusions up. They amuse me. What’s more amusing will be all the ‘what the hell just happened’ blogs Tuesday morning. Auburn has a much better chance than anyone thinks. We can play football. People conveniently forget the phantom touchdown by Aaron Murray on 4th down in the Georgia game. They just remember the miracle pass. People forget that for 59:59 of the Iron Bowl, Auburn played the #1 team in the country dead even 28-28. They just remember the runback.
Underestimate this team and this conference at your peril. It’s been seven years, boys … I’d think you’d have learned by now.