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Poor, Poor Pitiful ‘D’. Marquee SEC Games Having Nothing to Do with It

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It was great to have a bye weekend and be able to sample the fare of other games without the pressure of putting your game face on for the Tigers. I swear we fans sometimes get up for these even more than the players do. It’s not easy being a fan. For the players, it’s just a game. For us fans, it’s our manhood on the line. Or the female equivalent. But with the weekend and the pressure off, for my money, there simply wasn’t a better contest than LSU between the hedges, the prime SEC afternoon telecast on CBS. It isn’t often that you watch a game and decree it to be an instant classic, but there’s little doubt that ESPN Classic will be replaying this one for decades to come.

This game was tough to figure out who to root for. Mathematically, Auburn fans needed Georgia to saddle LSU with a loss while we were still alive in the west, and neither could both teams lose no matter how much we willed it. Conversely, the toughness and pride of the SEC west was on the line–why see the Dawgs get any satisfaction in beating one of best of our division mates? If you’re like me, you just want to see a good contest. Usually I decide during the game whom I want to prevail–one team tends to reveals itself to more deserving than the other in good time. I started Saturday rooting for Georgia, but found myself wanting LSU to take it in the waning minutes. Maybe CFB should bring back the tie?

In a conference known for defense, we sure haven’t seen much of it in the marquee matchups so far this year. Two top 10 tens slugging it out should have some share of scoring but shouldn’t be nothing resembling a Big 12 or PAC 12 game.  We opened the SEC schedule towards the beginning of the month with Georgia and South Carolina as the CBS featured game of the week. One thousand yards. Seventy-one points. Okay, that was a game between east foes. Sometimes the scoreboard gets a little busy in those. But would it be the template we’d see week after week?

A week later and we had Alabama at Texas A&M. Alabama’s known for defense, and there’s no way that revenge was going to be denied against Johnny Football. Same story. Almost 1200 yards of total offense and 91 points. It’s amazing that a team hung 628 yards on Alabama and still lost! I couldn’t help but wonder if the collective nation watched that game and laughed. SEC defense was looking like Notre Dame’s in last year’s BCS championship. Would it be any different with subsequent games?

A week later showed a regression in offense with Florida and Tennessee at the swamp, but defense wasn’t the culprit. Not a lot happened here–it was less a defensive chess match than simply huffing and puffing between out of shape,  has-been teams. The Vols’ wheels continue to fall off the wagon while the Gators continue to be rudderless, in search of direction and a leader. This game only served as proof that CBS has to balance the telecasts and not show the SEC west week in, week out.

Then came the Bayou Bengals in Athens. Finally–a match between east and west. Georgia doesn’t get to play LSU near enough and it’s good to see the Dogs get to complain about the possibility of losing to someone other than the Gators for a change. Dawg pride from losing the past few match ups with LSU in Atlanta was on the line and they were looking for revenge. LSU’s once strong defense was looking a little vanquished one week after Auburn talleyed 420 yards against them. Georgia’s was definitely suspect after what Clemson and even Sakerlina did to them. Could we finally see a defensive showdown between DCs Chavis and Grantham?

Nope. Another field day for offenses. Almost a 1000 yards gained and 85 points. Only FOUR punts between them. In the second half, no score went unanswered by the other team. Zac Mettenberger played like a man possessed against his former teammates, as Georgia’s defense allowed him almost 400 yards passing and made Auburn’s defensive effort against him look mighty. Sure, it was a fun game to watch. It was one of those contests where the team that had the ball last was the one that would win, and it did go down to the wire, which is all you can ask from a football game.

It gave Auburn a chance to scout the Dawgs. With our first common opponent, it left me with the distinct impression that we’ll be able to move the ball against them. We were able to move the ball in the second half against LSU, and LSU was able to move the ball and score better against Georgia than they did on us. We were a few plays away from giving LSU a run in Baton Rouge. Georgia squeaked by at home. The possibilities are endless.

But what is the SEC to do about our defensive reputation if we keep watching the equivalent of arena football every week now? These are the marquee games and the country is watching. Suddenly our league doesn’t look so tough. If A&M can run clear across Texas on Alabama’s defense, imagine what an Oregon or Clemson or Ohio State is emboldened to believe they can do against any SEC team? Defense wins championships. I hope the conference isn’t forsaking that notion in the meantime, even if the ratings are great.

16 Comments

  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……I believe Ellis Johnson pointed out that a lot more SEC defensive folks from last year were playing on NFL rosters this fall, than offensive ones. And you’ve got Manziel, Mettenberger, McCarron and Murray back, not to mention Shaw and Driskell. Ooops, scratch those last two, for now…

  2. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    I decided to root for UGA (ughh) in this one purely on the point that I have come to conclude that Les Miles is the greasiest scummiest coach in the conference. Notwithstanding his payroll set up at Okie St. he has no standards for drug use (see the Honey Badger), no standards for violent behavior and drunkenness (see Jordan Jefferson), and no standards for sexual crimes (see Mettenberger and J Hill). At this point I’d rather Bama beat them than his sorry butt get back to any type of championship ever again, although it might be impossible to deny him the scum bag championship (although Bobby Petrino would give him a run for his money).

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Richt has been known to sign a thug or three. He also lets them act like thugs on the sideline and in the endzone. He’s perpetuating the attitude he learned at Miami and Free Shoes U. At least Les tries to make his players behave on the sideline.

      • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

        Good point on the Athens coach.

        • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

          Personally, I find Richt to be much more of a scumbag than Miles. Richt has never been much of a disciplinarian, until the media spotlight starts to shine in his direction. Miles has never pretended to be anything more than what he is.

          • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

            Good points, however I still think Miles is the scummier of the two. You can tell by the way he acts that he thinks he can get away with anything, Richt at least tries to keep a low profile. But it’s a pick your poison sort of deal.

  3. gumptowntiger says:

    IF you are gonna write an article about defense in the SEC I think you have to mention Ole Miss getting shut out by Bama. A lot of folks said Bama was gonna lose that one. Give the devil his due.

  4. WDErichie WDErichie says:

    The Devil, I mean Saban can kiss my butt!!! Watching him on the sidelines of the Ole Miss game drives me crazy. He just throws a fit till he gets his way. Sorry but that targeting hit ( also the one in the Texas AM game) where a lot worse than the one Frost got called for. But he goes crazy on the sideline and gets his way. Then has the nerve to say penalty should be turned over since player not ejected. He just really gets on my nerves!! Sorry just wanted to vent a bit.

    • Eagle1 says:

      I agree, Saban reminds me of a spoiled little brat.
      War Eagle!

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Saban does his best Bobby Knight impression and the refs fold, then they genuflect, then they kiss his arse.

    • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

      I knew that the targeting call would be reversed on that one. If Bama gets a player ejected this year I’ll eat my hat.

  5. sparkey sparkey says:

    I think I remember a guy on here a few games ago saying that Auburn has a great shot against Georgia. This Georgia team is a different team on the road-they’re not as good.

  6. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Great thoughts and write up. Great game to watch…for me it was a win/win either way. Living in Ga, I was looking forward to the whining, “Richt has to go” or “Murray can’t win the big ones” with a uga loss. With an lsu loss, I enjoyed not seeing the Hat do his retarded hand clap.

    • WarEagleAtlanta WarEagleAtlanta says:

      He does clap like a Pop Warner cheerleader. Hands straight together in a paddy-cake fashion.

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        ……No one did the sad clap better than Mike Dubose. Watts or Zow would take a sack on third and long, team would trudge off the field, and there would be Dubose clapping. Used to crack me up!

  7. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Living in Big BR, LA, I get the distinct impression that the locals have never accepted Miles and they would send him packing in a New York Second if Satan would agree to come back. They’d probably sell Huey Long’s Taj Mahal of a capitol building to pay him and have Bobby Jindal and Mary Landreau on the welcoming committee!

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!