Monday Musings: Finishing Strong
USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t pretty defensively… but Auburn basketball got the job done on Saturday night against Vanderbilt. In the first half, the Tigers held a 36–14 lead. I decided to call my grandfather to talk to him about the game as well as Mizzou’s win against Kentucky. While on the phone with him, I saw Auburn’s lead slip as Vanderbilt went on a 15–3 run. My confidence dwindled, and I quickly told my grandfather that I would need to get off the phone with him because of the fear that our phone conversation was cursed. Thankfully, Auburn maintained its lead—even with a strong three-point shot percentage from the Commodores, who hit 10–19 from beyond the arc.
In Joe Lunardi’s current Bracketology, the Tigers hold a #2 seed in the East region. With a tough stretch coming up with games against Kentucky, Florida and Texas A&M, I fully expect that position to drop a bit. The Tigers still have plenty to prove, but with a tough back end of the conference schedule, Auburn has the ability to boost its résumé in the upcoming weeks. I’ll be most interested to see this team play away from home with road games at Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Arkansas coming up. In order to maintain that projected #2 seed, the Tigers will most likely need to get a 3–1 record on the road to finish the year.
Something that has sort of slipped my mind this week… is the fact that National Signing Day is this coming Wednesday. The reason? The early signing period in December. The hype for National Signing Day has taken a hit this year, which will cause recruiting services and ESPN to suffer. I personally think it’s great that some of the steam has been taken out of the day. I’ve never really been a fan of inflated 18-year-old egos, and more limited coverage of their college decisions certainly helps that aspect diminish.
The Super Bowl to the city of Dallas… was the equivalent of the National Championship to Auburn fans. New England was Alabama, while Philadelphia was Georgia—at least to me. New England is the dynasty that everyone is sick of seeing in the big game, similar to Alabama. Philadelphia was the NFC East team that has yet to win a championship, similar to Georgia (at least in the BCS/playoff era). It’s a situation where you want your rival to have no reason to hold any accomplishments over your team’s head.
In the national championship, I pulled for Alabama. Because in the big picture, what’s one more championship to their résumé during the Saban era? If Georgia had one, Dawg fans would have never let it go, because frankly, Georgia has dominated Auburn during the 2000’s. But the one thing that Auburn holds over Georgia is a national championship—similar to the Cowboys with the Eagles. Cowboys fans will wake up with a stale taste in their mouths after this finish.