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This and That in Mid-December

By on December 16th, 2018 in Basketball, Football 11 Comments »

It has been a fun year in basketball, thus far
(Photo by Acid Reign)

     War Eagle, everybody! Christmas season is roaring in, and it’s hard to believe that Auburn’s appearance in this year’s Music City Bowl is just 2 weeks away. Fall seems to go by quicker and quicker each year. On the hardwood this week, the men’s basketball team has a couple of interesting matchups with road trips to UAB Saturday and North Carolina State next Wednesday evening.

     Normally, Auburn and UAB play a fairly close game, but I’m not so sure that will happen this year. Auburn has just a single loss this season to mighty Duke by a half-dozen points. UAB has lost to Georgia, Florida State, College of Charleston, and Memphis. The loss to FSU was by 18, and the last couple of losses were by more than 20 points. We will have to see if Auburn plays down to this team or if the Tigers will run away with it. This game tips off at 6:30 PM Central Time Saturday on the CBS Sports Network.

     North Carolina State will be a significant challenge. Like Auburn, it’s only lost once, a close 79–75 decision at Wisconsin. The Wolfpack rebounded from that loss by knocking off Vanderbilt 80–65 in Miami. As I look down the NC State schedule, I notice that in 10 games it broke the 100-point mark 5 times. Auburn has only broken 100 twice. Beating Vanderbilt by that margin is impressive, and the Commodores have long been a thorn in Auburn’s side in basketball.

     The drama this week with the Auburn football program is that the Tigers have hired an offensive coordinator, Kenny Dillingham, and that head coach Gus Malzahn will call plays. I think this is a good thing. I’d rather have the head coach take ownership than suffer the back-and-forth rumors we’ve heard for the last 3 years. There was just one time in Auburn history where the offense averaged 30 or more points per game over a season for 4 straight years. That was from 1993–1996. The head coach, Terry Bowden, called the plays, and it worked out OK. Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik went on record this week stating that Gus Malzahn is one of the best play callers in the business.

     The more I look at the Purdue football team, the more I’m struck by its inconsistency. This team was good enough to mangle Ohio State by 29 points and bad enough to lose to Eastern Michigan and take a 41–10 beating at Minnesota. Boilermaker losses were to Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, Missouri, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. They beat Boston College, Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio State, Iowa and Indiana.

     Auburn and Purdue will tangle on Friday, December 29th at 12:30 PM on ESPN. I plan to have my usual open thread cranked up and ready to go, and I’m worried about this game. Auburn is coming off a rather disappointing season while Purdue is happy just to have made a bowl game this year. A team in turmoil meets an up-and-coming team, looking to make a mark. Auburn will be in trouble if it tries to mail it in against this team.

11 Comments

  1. AtkinsonTiger AtkinsonTiger says:

    I’m worried about the bowl game too. Purdue is trending up and Auburn ….

  2. dyingculture dyingculture says:

    Win the bowl game, and the 2018 team has the same 8-5 record as the 2014 team. A world of difference between the two teams, the 2014 team was likely far superior in my opinion, but go figure.

  3. zotus zotus says:

    Gosh, in retrospect, guess it’s a good thing that ol’ Gus decided to sneak some of his “can’t-miss-high-school-ball-plays” into the mix in that 11:00AM Birmingham Bowl game back in 2015 against the mighty Memphis Tigers.

    Every $49 Million football coach needs at least one signature bowl victory on his resume. Congratulations Gus, a great win coach!

    Better batten down the hatches Boilermakers, the new Gus is about to unleash the old Gus on you guys, and you know he’ll be carrying his playbook and looking to pad his resume. You’ve been warned.

  4. zotus zotus says:

    Don’t you just love it when ol’ Gus goes into that — “FULL-BORE-DOUBLE-OVER-DRIVE-CLAPTRAP-GIBBERISH-MUMBO JUMBO” — pure garbage drivel that ol’ Gus is wont to dish out in massive quantities at those excruciating ‘Come to Jesus’ press conferences that Gus only attends when Jimmy Sexton tells ol’ Gus it’s a command performance!

    I’ve never heard another $49 Million football coach talk like that. Ever. Who in the hell talks like that? Well, ol’ Gus does of course.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Here’s ol’ Gus doing some of his best work. Enjoy:

    “Sometimes reality hits you,” Malzahn said Sept. 27, 2016. “In this day and time in this league, to be the head coach and call an offense is not realistic, at least for me.”

    “I think at that time that was very accurate,” Malzahn said in December 2018, “I have been the head coach here for six years. The demands of this job each year gets more challenging, but sometimes as a coach you have to evaluate where you are at. Sometimes things change and they have, so I just evaluated where we are at and it is best for us if I move forward calling plays. I?love to do that. That is really who I am at my core.”

    Then ol’ Gus closed his Dec 2018 presser with this little nugget:
    “That is really how I got to this point. It has been a process, I?think, too, as a head coach you learn and you grow. I think it is fair to say that has happened to me in both areas, but I am very confident right now that this is the right thing to do. I expect to be doing this thing for a long time like this, so I am really looking forward to it.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And there you have it folks, classic Gus Malzahn. Auburn’s $49 Million Football Coach!!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  5. neonbets says:

    I really enjoyed this story on Charles Barkley and thought others might as well: https://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2018/12/14/lin-wang-charles-barkley

    He’s a true, blue Auburn original.

  6. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..That was quite a piece!

  7. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Epilogue: That easy win over UAB did not happen! The Blazers were tough, and took Auburn to overtime, before Jarred Harper just took the game over! Auburn won 95-91, but it was not a thing of beauty…

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