Random thoughts heading into tomorrow’s game with the Ole Miss Rebels…
If you had hopes of catching a break this weekend with good weather at Jordan-Hare Stadium, think again. In what’s undoubtedly been the worse season for weather in recent Auburn football history, Saturday’s forecast again calls for showers at kickoff. According to the Weather Channel, there’s a 50 percent chance of rain throughout the day on Saturday with a high of 64 degrees. My guess is tickets will be plentiful.
One of the biggest disappointments of the season has been the lack of development at the wide receiver position. Despite taking on rock star status during Auburn’s early season run, receivers coach Trooper Taylor has struggled to find that elusive third wide receiver.
There were a flood of stories back in August about the talent of Auburn’s young receivers and the impact they would make this season. So far, they’ve been a huge disappointment. Taylor went on the offensive this week, making a bold prediction about highly recruited, but poorly performing Louisiana native DeAngelo Benton. “I promise you he will light the record books up — you can write that down — before he gets out of here,” Taylor said. “He has that type of ability.”
Taylor’s quote got me laughing about a story a friend of mine once told about his days playing at Alabama under Ray Perkins in the 1980′s. Following a loss on Saturday, the Alabama players were on one knee at the practice fields later that week with Perkins standing in the middle. He asked the team whether they had read that day’s newspaper. One player raised his hand and explained that the article he read said Alabama had great potential.
Coach Perkins asked the team if they knew what potential meant. Several tried at giving an answer. Finally he said, “Boys when somebody says you have potential that means you’re not worth a s**t right now.” I always think about that when I hear quotes like the one above. Funny stuff.
It’s funny how columnist and beat writers like to throw around the term, “must win” when talking about an upcoming contest. Hell, I’m sure I’ve used the term a hundred times. Several writers across the state have called this week’s game with Ole Miss a must win for the Auburn program. It begs the question, why?
I agree that Auburn may need seven wins to get a bowl bid considering a six win season means the last meaningful victory came on October 3rd. But on paper, it seems much more likely that Auburn gets a win in Athens in two weeks than against an Ole Miss squad that may finally be living up to preseason expectations.
Maybe comparing the two opponents is like splitting hairs, but I don’t believe tomorrow is a must win. When you are 2-3 in the SEC, the days of must wins are over. The differences in Shreveport and Birmingham are not a whole lot.
I ran across a stat over at al.com that will blow your mind or make you want to blow your head off…
4 (four) - Consecutive games in which Auburn has scored fewer points than it did in its previous game, something that hasn’t happened to the Tigers since 1914. After beating Ball State 54-30 on Sept. 26, the Tigers scored 26 points against Tennessee, 23 against Arkansas, 14 against Kentucky and 10 against LSU. After beating Clemson 28-0 on Oct. 17, 1914, Auburn scored 19 points against Mississippi State, 14 against Georgia Tech, six against Vanderbilt and none against Georgia Tech in successive games. The difference between the two scoring slumps: Auburn is 1-3 in the current slide, but was 3-0-1 in the 1914 games.
Here are a few more from al.com that are downright interesting…
57 (Fifty-seven) - Years since Ole Miss scored consecutive victories over Auburn. The Rebels will try again on Saturday in Auburn after beating the Tigers 17-7 in 2008. In 1951, Ole Miss beat Auburn in Mobile, and in 1952, the Rebels beat the Tigers in Memphis.
9 (Nine) - Straight games in which the team with the most rushing attempts has won the annual Auburn-Ole Miss contest.
I hope all of you have a great weekend and an eventful Halloween. Kickoff for the Ole Miss game is set for 11:21 a.m. CT from Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised across the country on the SEC Network. The Rebels come into the game a four point favorite. If you are headed to Auburn, look for me. I’ll be in the Navy Auburn shirt drinking my signature Miller High Life Light. War Eagle!