Ramblings of a College Football Junkie!
What did we learn after the opening weekend of college football?
After watching many, many games this weekend, like a junkie trying to get back on top of an illicit drug, I came to a couple of significant conclusions:
1) The SEC Network:
Is it just me, or did watching this channel seem like the “I love bama” channel? And these commentator’s, is this the best this multi-million $ network can do? “Booger”. Really? Come on ESPN! With the best college football being in the SEC… “Booger” is all we get? Wow. I say “flick it!” In my humble opinion this isn’t going to cut it. I don’t know if I can watch Greg McElroy, Tim Tebow, and Paul Finebaum meander around all season. Tim sounded like an adolescent boy right before his voice dropped and McElroy looks like a teenage Ope. They are about as entertaining as watching Jell-o jell. McElroy can’t say a word that I don’t question. Every time the camera pans to him I keep hearing that he never lost. And then see T-Bell knocking him senseless. Who came up with this roster in terms of commentary? And since I am on a tear on ESPN, OMG, do we not get replays anymore? Can’t we afford them? To me, this network is only a little bit better than Jefferson Pilot. I give it a “C-“.
2) The pre-season polls:
They may be right… but I can’t stress this enough, I think we have some over-rated teams in the top ten. I know it’s early, and there is plenty of football to be played… but seriously. Some teams will be able to make corrections and grow into being and earning their position in the poll. But some won’t. It’s a cheap observation I know, but it’s true. Give them a really tough opponent and some of these teams will drop like a rock. Other’s teams are clearly under-rated. There is no doubt in my mind that with any luck some of them will be in the final four. One thing is for sure… there are some interesting stories here in the making this season.
3) Was Oklahoma State and West Virginia that good?
I tried to watch them but I was clicking between so many channels… the clear sign of an undisciplined addict who can’t control their desires, that I couldn’t really make an assessment. My first thought about FSU’s QB was that he was way too arrogant. I was hoping that somebody in the stands had some seafood and he would flash back to this summer… making a dash for tunnel with claws in hand. But that’s just wishful thinking. The hypocrisy being shown here is amazing. My thoughts are that FSU has some issues that will need to be worked out before they put their hands on the crystal again. I still think they will have time to get them corrected. In my humble opinion, they only have two teams on their schedule that will challenge them at all. Bama, on the other hand, that’s a different story. No doubt bama has talent. But I think bama faces three teams in the West that will beat them outright regardless at how easy their schedule is this year. I don’t think bama makes it to the SEC championship game based on what I saw Saturday but it’s early yet so there is no need to get ahead of ourselves.
4) The rest of the West:
Texas A&M is the real deal! And MSU and Ole Miss won too! The only team that lost this weekend was Arkansas. That means the West is loaded. Again! Still, A&M is a much improved team than what everyone thought. The SEC has a competitor with Kevin Sumlin.
5) The East:
And as sad as I think it is to say… it’s probably time for Steve Spurrier to hang them up. Not just because USC lost… but specifically how they lost. Steve spends more time on the golf course than on the practice field. It’s starting to show. To me, the CEO mentality is a lazy man’s mentality. It reminds me of Tuberville, a man that had the West by the collar and let it get away from him. There is no place for this mentality in College Football or more specifically the SEC. Obviously, South Carolina has talent. There is no doubt. They may beat Auburn as some predict. However, I would point out that if such a high stakes game like this one is an indicator of which team took it more seriously then things are not looking good for the Game Cocks. Depending upon Florida’s performance…. and how well UT looks today… over the off season the East just got a lot more competitive. UK won big (and yes, it was UT Martin). Vandy lost big (and yes, it was to Temple). But UGA looks impressive. Very impressive. The Dawg’s defense looked awesome. To me, again, if this weekend is any indicator, the Dawg’s are the team to beat in the East. I am thinking USC will be lucky to be No.3 or No.4 in the East.
Auburn versus Arkansas: Post game comments
6) The Referees:
To borrow a phrase I have already used, was it me or did it seem like these referees hated us? They called everything in the first half on Auburn. I am not surprised. With teams with this much raw talent, and don’t let anyone fool you, Auburn has it roaming the sidelines. All it needs to do is get more discipline in the system. In my humble opinion, that’s why we got some of the off field issues we do. Ultimately, even though I didn’t get to see many replays… the only one I recall was the Auburn fumble; I think the Ref’s did get it right.
7) How many things could go wrong with Jordan Hare:
Let me get this straight… last game played in Jordan Hare was the iron bowl and since then NOBODY checked the game clocks? Really? Come on Jay Jacobs! I know it’s made of concrete but you do have to ensure that our venue is a venue that people want to come to (in order to get beat). I heard last night at half time, and I am not kidding about this, that the Arkansas coach’s that sit in the booth were stuck in an elevator and never made it to the locker room. They ended up talking to their players via cell phone. How embarrassing! I think it’s time either someone starts spending some of the money we make on our facilities. Maybe if they can’t get these things fixed… they take a pay cut so we can make Jordan Hare a premier facility. I was so annoyed at the clock last night (and SEC network) that I had to go to ESPN and look. Maybe that was by design.
8) Bret Bielema is a shady coach:
I know his pedigree and the type person he seems to be. I guess Hog fans should feel somewhat better that he has brought Arkansas back from the depths of John L. Smith. But he does have a questionable character. He has no qualms with getting his players to lay down faking an injury to slow down Auburn’s offense. We all saw the game but in my opinion I think the game would have gotten out of hand in the 1st half if things didn’t start manipulating thing to affect Auburn’s game plan. By the end of the quarter… I was seriously concerned. Whenever the man smiles it resembles evil incarnate. He somehow got inside of Malzahn’s head in the 2nd Qtr and was for a short while dictating the game. He ended up riding the lightning. The results were the same.
9) There were many Auburn positives throughout the game:
- The first I would point out is Jeremy Johnson’s performance. The kid can play ball. He is a good passer. And I think he has potential to be something special. I think he needs a good running game to support him… along with excellent receivers. I think we saw the future of Auburn next year and that’s something to think about.
- Another positive I saw was our special teams play. Specifically we have an awesome kicker! And he is doing all of our kicking: kick offs, punts and field goals/extra points. Last guy to do that I believe was Damon Duval. That kid kicked a 62 yard punt! He flipped the field for us when we needed it most. And while he hit the upright on the last play of the 1st half… I think Auburn has someone that will do great things. I hope he can stay healthy! I think this kid has the potential to be someone special!
- Obviously, one of my main concerns in the first half was our defense. It was like 2012 all over again. During the first Half Auburn jumped out to a 14-7 lead. And then our defense disintegrated. We couldn’t stop the run. And we couldn’t stop the pass. We were shredded by Arkansas. They tied us up near the end of the 2nd Qtr 21-21. The good news was during half time Ellis Johnson and Rodney Garner were able to make adjustments and suddenly to begin the 2nd half – AU had the Razorback’s number. I don’t think Arkansas was able to get over 20 yards in the 3rd and 4th Qtrs. Auburn became the defense I saw during A day. That defense has the potential to secure another championship. I think we may have something special here in the making.
- Nick Marshall was awesome. Ok, he still isn’t the best passer… but he brings the running dimension to our offense where defenses MUST account for him. Don’t do that… you will pay big. The razorbacks did pay big on the 1st Drive of the 2nd half when Marshall burned them for a 19 yard TD run. I think this guy has the ability to change the game for us.
- Our receiving corps… Man!!! Holy crap. Folks, we are loaded! Duke Williams is going to the NFL. Make no doubt. And Melvin Ray. Holy Crap! Sammy Coates was also producing. Don’t think Auburn can throw the ball? You die by the pass!
- Our running backs. I think we still got talent, and plenty of it. What we saw in the 1st half was a majority of Cameron Artis Payne. Grant played very well. And when our offensive line started opening up run lanes…. We saw success. Regularly. We still haven’t seen Roc Thomas or Pettway. Peyton Barber got a good run at the end of the game. I think our running backs will do well. And there are more in the pipeline!
10) Biggest take away:
Auburn is competitive! We are not a paper tiger. We are someone you better take seriously. If we can run the gauntlet of our schedule… we are going to be National Champions. But I would point out that Auburn must get better with every game. Starting in October… things become nearly impossible. We can’t afford to have a down game. We play LSU, Miss State, South Carolina, Ole Miss, TA&M, UGA… back to back to back to back to back. Then we finish with Bama. If we stay healthy and get better… anything is possible for Auburn this season.