The End of an Era!
Auburn will play Georgia in November for the last time
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
War Eagle, everybody! This week, the Auburn Tigers will host the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Georgia needs this win to stay in control of the SEC Eastern Division and stay in the college football playoff picture. Auburn needs to win or likely miss out on a New Year’s Six bowl bid. Most importantly, Auburn has regularly taken it on the chin from Georgia most years since 2005. The Tiger record against the Bulldogs since then is 3–11. That slide needs to stop!
Auburn’s remaining schedule is Georgia, Samford and Alabama. If the Tigers lose to Georgia and Alabama, a win over Samford would leave Auburn at 8–4 at the end of the regular season, similar to the recorded for much of this decade. Wins over Georgia and Alabama would make the season great.
Auburn and Georgia have played in November every single season possible since 1936. That will change next year as the game will be played on October 10th. I do not like the move of this game. Folks were complaining about having to play Georgia and Alabama on the road in the same year. Next year, we get LSU and Alabama back to back. That is not an improvement.
When Auburn has the ball, it will go against the best rushing defense in the SEC. Georgia has not allowed a rushing touchdown all season, and the Bulldogs have no problem bringing as many defenders down in the box as it takes to prevent the other team from marching the ball down the field on the ground. Here is hoping that the stupid Auburn “run it up the middle with 4 wide receivers in the game” play is retired from the playbook this week.
Like Auburn, Georgia would prefer to run the ball. An ideal Georgia game is suffocating the opponent on defense then running clock. Georgia would be perfectly happy with a 10–3 victory. Auburn must have success on first down against this bunch, and the best hope for the Tigers is to connect on short passes on early downs.
There were questions a couple of weeks ago about Auburn fan support at the game. Frigid temperatures and a tepid ballgame against Ole Miss ran a lot of fans out of the stadium for home early. Here is hoping that those fans learned their lesson and will dress warmly for this game.
This will be another cool game at Jordan-Hare Stadium, though about 10 degrees warmer than Auburn’s last outing at home. Temperatures in the mid 50’s are the order of the day, falling to about 50º after sunset in the 3rd quarter. There is no chance of rain. We will have our usual Trackemtigers.com Open Thread up and running for this one. Thes game will kick off at 2:30 PM, Central Standard Time, and will be nationally televised on CBS.
A look at SEC games this weekend after the jump!
Alabama kicks off the early action at 11:00 AM, visiting Mississippi State. Normally, this is a hostile venue for anybody, but the Bulldogs have been struggling lately. I expect an easy Alabama in in Starkville.
Florida visits Missouri with an early kickoff as well. At 5–4, Missouri needs 1 more win to go bowling for the 3rd year in a row. They are unlikely to get it as a fired-up Florida team will come in needing to keep pace with Georgia to keep its remaining slim division hopes alive.
Georgia visits Auburn at 2:30 PM in the Deep South’s Oldest Football Rivalry. The loser is out of any playoff talk, and Georgia also has a division title on the line in this one.
Kentucky is at Vanderbilt at 2:30 PM. Vandy has already been eliminated from the bowl picture, and Kentucky needs 2 wins in the next 3 weeks to qualify. I think the Wildcats have superior team strength, but can they get the quarterbacking they need to win this one on the road?
Evening action begins at 6:00 PM when LSU visits Ole Miss. The Tigers will have to guard against a letdown, but Ole Miss proved vulnerable to the short passing game a couple of weeks ago, and LSU should move the ball with ease on this defense.
South Carolina visits Texas A&M at 6:30 PM. Normally I’d pick the home team in this sort of matchup, but the stakes are a little different in this one. South Carolina badly needs a 5th win to stay alive in bowl consideration while Texas A&M has already clinched bowl eligibility. The Gamecock defense has enough bite to make this game interesting if the Aggies aren’t ready to play.
Teams taking the weekend off are Tennessee and Arkansas.