Sunday, November 22, 2009
As much as I may not want to say it and you may not want to hear/read it, Alabama has arguably been the most dominant team in college football this season. Sure they've had their scares, namely a miraculous blocked field goal to escape a loss against Tennessee. Sure, they've gotten calls that have gone their way, most notably a blatantly obvious INT missed call (x2..on the field-excusable, in the replay booth-unbelievable) by LSU that would have put LSU right back in the game. But other than those two games, Alabama has really dominated their opponents from start to finish.
As we know, Auburn has given away 2 wins this season...at home against Kentucky and last week at Georgia (two wins that would have landed Auburn in a New Years Day Bowl). Other than that Auburn has dominated their opponents with the exception of going on the road to Arkansas and LSU where we were manhandled. Within the confines of Jordan-Hare we have played our best football and knocked off some teams (Ole Miss, West Virginia) many believed unlikely for this Auburn team to beat this season.
Auburn's success revolves around three things...the play of Chris Todd, the abilty of the defense to tackle well, win the turnover battle. When we accomplish these three things we win football games, period! Can we win these battles against a team as strong as this years Crimson Tide? It will a daunting, uphill challenge.
The positives...With the exception of Arkansas (a team Alabama destroyed), this AU offense will be the best unit Alabama has faced this season. With an extra week of preparation and rest, Auburn will come out with nothing to lose. All the pressure is on Alabama. They have an SEC Championship game next week to play and national championship implications every time they take the field. Over time, that wears on you I'm sure. Auburn has the better part of a full month to heal up and rest after the Iron Bowl allowing them to give a level of effort perhaps you're not otherwise willing to give.
The negatives...Auburn's biggest weakness (stopping the run) is matched to Alabama's greatest strength (Mark Ingram and the Alabama running game). If Eltoro Freeman is out and true freshman Johnathan Evans is forced into action that task gets even more difficult. Alabama is the most athletic defense Auburn will have seen to date. Auburn will have to outscore Alabama and Alabama's defense is just as unpredictable and unorthodox as Auburn's offense. If we can't move the ball offensively, it won't be close.
What has to happen for Auburn to win?- Auburn must sell-out to stop the Alabama running game and force McElroy to beat them. Alabama will score points, Auburn must respond with points of their own. We can't beat ourselves or make it any easier for Alabama by turning the ball over or foolish penalties. We must ride a level of emotion that must be present around and in Jordan-Hare Stadium that rivals the level of emotion last seen in Auburn the first time these two teams squared off in Auburn, 1989. Alabama must turn the ball over and Auburn must capitalize on every opportunity we are presented with. Can all these things come together and happen? In college football anything's possible!
Yeah, I'm a homer!!