The Mother of All Amen Corners?
Maybe I’m a week early proclaiming the start of Amen Corner, the traditional finish to the Auburn football season coined by former coach Pat Dye. When Auburn used to finish the year with Florida, Georgia and Alabama, Dye said a season was made or broken in those three games.
The same can be said this year: at Arkansas; at Tennessee; Georgia and Alabama. I throw Arkansas in the mix because I’m always concerned when Auburn heads to Fayetteville. Regardless of the season either team is having, going there is never easy. With the Razorbacks having a week off, it just makes the worry grow.
I know they’ve been outscored 104-7 in their last two games versus South Carolina and Alabama. Yes, Auburn should win handily. But don’t go to sleep on Arkansas. Their excellent coaching staff has had two weeks to prepare. They’ll throw everything they’ve got and then some at this Auburn team.
The obvious opponent here is not Arkansas; it’s looking ahead.
What if Auburn does what it’s supposed to do and runs the table? Are you kidding me? That thought enters my mind at least a half dozen times a day. I quickly try to push it away. I don’t want to go there. I might start having heart palpitations like I did that time in the Atlanta airport when I saw Brooke Shields. I know, I’m old as hell and still get turned on by a 50 year-old woman. Work with me here.
And to think, I have no impact on the outcome outside of making sure I continue to wear the same shirt, underwear and hat that I had on during the Texas A&M game. Imagine if you are a 20 year-old student athlete. How can you not look ahead and wonder… What if?
As strong a coaching job as this staff has done so far, their toughest job is now. The takeaway from Saturday’s win over Florida Atlantic was not the running game or the defense. What you have to like is that this team came ready to play after an emotional win in College Station.
Despite the sudden surge up the BCS ladder and getting some lovin from ESPN, Gus Malzahn had this team focused. And think, a year ago, these same players had the attention span of Mayhem in that Allstate commercial.
On the flip side, if you are Arkansas, you’ve got to feel like a possum starring at the headlights of a Mack Truck, especially when you look at the gaudier by the week Auburn stats. Malzahn’s offense has now posted three consecutive games of 600+ yards of offense. That’s something that’s never been done on the Plains.
The Auburn offense is averaging 315 yards a game on the ground; that’s top in the SEC and fifth nationally. The much questioned offensive line is second in the SEC in fewest sacks allowed per game with less than one per contest.
Can this team really be 10-1 going into the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Can they really be in the running for a BCS game or more? It’s too much to imagine, but oh so possible; perhaps even probable.
There I go again. Time to go wash my shirt and underwear.
See you Saturday.