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A Weekend of Ugly College Football

By on September 26th, 2011 in Football Comments Off

As far as memorable college football weekends go, this past one is likely to be forgotten quickly. On second glance, it was probably a good time to do some final summer yard work. With downright boring contests (see Auburn/FAU) and unexpected blowouts, a weekend of marquee matchups turned into snoozers. Here are some general thoughts on the past weekend…

An Auburn bowl bid seems highly unlikely at this point. On record as a defender of the Auburn coaching staff this season, Saturday was a step backwards. Who cares that the defensive stats were vastly improved. Against arguably the worst offense in college football, the Auburn defense continued to surrender way too many yards and miss easy tackles.

Despite famously having only one first-down against Michigan State, FAU grabbed 20 against the Auburn defense. The Owls entered the contest averaging 95 yards of offense per game. They eclipsed that number before the end of the first quarter.

The most telling sign came in the second half when television cameras showed a heated conversation between defensive coordinator Ted Roof, Gene Chizik and assistant coach Phillip Lolley. There are a million ways to read into the exchange, but it appeared that Chizik and Lolley were on the winning side of a defensive decision. Roof walked away in anger.

The exchange brought back painful memories of the Tommy Tuberville/Tony Franklin debacle of 2008. As some have suggested, there seems to be a disagreement in philosophy between Chizik and Roof. It’s time for them to get on the same page – and fast.

Count me among those not concerned about the Auburn offense – yet. Gus Malzahn had his worst day as Auburn offensive coordinator and still put up close to 400 yards in total offense. With five starters sitting out with minor injuries, things could have been worse.

Despite leading by only four points at the half, Malzahn kept his schemes vanilla throughout. He was clearly sandbagging for next week at South Carolina. However, execution by the offensive line continues to worsen.Barrett Trotter spent way too much time out of the pocket and running lanes were few and far between.

What’s the plan for quarterback Kiehl FrazierFrom the start, it has been apparent that coaches had no interest in red-shirting the heralded freshman. It seems Malzahn is taking the Urban Meyer approach used with Tim Tebowduring his first year.

I’ll never be confused with an offensive guru, but it seems to be a waste of a year of eligibility. He made some nice runs Saturday night, but what’s the long-term goal? It makes you wonder whether he’s being groomed to start next season – or sooner. Just a thought.

Has there ever been a more brutal stretch in SEC historythan what Auburn’s up against over the next four weeks? Turn away if you are squeamish. Here goes: at #10 South Carolina; at #18 Arkansas; vs. #12 Florida; at #1 LSU. Try painting a happy face on that schedule.

Let’s give a warm SEC welcome to Texas A&M. Yawn.The Aggies are now official card carrying members of the SEC. When put into the context of the time (three weeks ago) it was understandable why the conference went after Texas A&M. In hindsight, I’m sure many fans are having buyer’s remorse.

With Clemson and Georgia Tech all conveniently located a few hours up the road off Interstate I-85, wouldn’t it be great to have both on Auburn’s annual schedule? It makes way too much sense. Of course, we all know that television money is way more important than common sense.

After spending a weekend at Clemson, it makes you realize what a crying shame it is not to play them annually. The same goes for Georgia Tech. Now the question becomes who will be the 14th member of the SEC? The pickings seem to be slim.

With the ACC raising its conference buyout to $20 million, the thought of Clemson, Tech or even Florida State joining is now remote. That leaves such sexy programs as Louisville, West Virginia and Missouri as candidates. There’s nothing about two seven-team divisions that appeals to me.

Texas A&M’s entry likely means Auburn will ultimately end up in the SEC East. That does excite me. I’d much rather face Florida and Tennessee annually than traveling to Baton Rouge and Fayetteville.

I guess you take the good with the bad.

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