Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Outback Bowl Preview

First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones had a Merry Christmas and best wishes to you in 2010! May it begin with an Auburn victory!

If you are still with us and reading our pre- and postgame musings this late into the season, in the words of Dr. Z's favorite conservative personality, Glen Beck..."You're a sick, twisted freak!" (Actually Dr. Z loathes Mr. Beck).

The Outback Bowl!! Kudos Jay Jacobs for buying this bowl game for the Auburn Tigers. I'm not sure how many tickets you promised the Outback Bowl committee you'd take off their hands, we're just pleased to not be in Shreveport or, God forbid, Birmingham! High marks your way for working the system in favor of the Tigers.

Truth be told, I believe the Outback Bowl committee saw an Auburn team on the rise, a team capable of putting up an impressive offensive showing in an unorthodox fashion, a team whose fans travel well no matter the location. I believe in the end, the decision to go with Auburn over the other 7-5 log-jammed teams was an easy one for this committee.

Bowl game outcomes are difficult to predict because of the myriad of distractions the week of the game. You wouldn't believe how frequently people call your hotel room to ask if you could come down to the lobby to sign paraphernalia. I've seen photos of myself on eBay that I remember signing the week of my last football game in our hotel lobby. It's unbelievable. You never can tell how a team will respond to being on the road for a week rather than a day, if they're capable of mixing work with play, if they're mature enough to mentally prepare for their opponent.

If Auburn handles the bowl week mania maturely and in stride, I believe the match-up with Northwestern is one Auburn should dominate. Northwestern will move the ball and score some points, but ultimately the Auburn running game is too much for the Wildcats to contain...if Auburn is ready to play!


Dr. Z's Outback Bowl Preview

"Damn Dirty Apes..."

Of the many famous Alums from Northwestern, Charlton Heston has to be my favorite. He's done it all from Ben Hur to Moses. And gun lovers cherish him as Prez of the NRA until he became to senile to operate a gun. Actually, I hear after he died they really did have to pry it "from his cold dead hand."

Anyway, I have heard Northwestern called the Vandy of the Big 10. Excuse me, but I cannot recall a time when Vandy finished in the top 4 in the SEC. That is just an insult to the Purple Cats, who have really been pretty good ever since Gary Barnett took them to the Rose Bowl in the 90's. You might remember Gary Barnett from the Colorado debacle with the strippers paid for by the Athletic budget and the sexual assault of a female kicker. Barnett added insult to injury by saying she was a lousy kicker. Stay classy, Gary.

As far as the game goes, I am just not sure about several things. First, 10 AM start...yada..yada. I am kind of over the whole we play lousy in the early game thing. We played lousy against Kentucky and it was at night, at home, so I am not too worried about the 10 AM start.

Second, how good are the Cats? Offensively they throw it all over the place and hit short passes in doing so. That scares me a bit since we have been pretty adept all season at the 10 yard cushion. I do think the Auburn was a much better defense when fresh (i.e. early in the year and after the bye week against Bama).

Finally, how well have we prepped for this game. Is it a vacation? Is it a stepping stone into 2010? My guess is because of the no-nonsense guy that the Chiz appears to be we will take this game seriously. I also think Chris Todd the One Armed Zombie, Ben Tate, and A.C. finish their careers in style.

Auburn- 35
Nerds!!!- 24

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blown out by S.H.I.T.

Somehow this seems appropriate again

Auburn got blown out by Sam Houston St. (Originally called the Sam Houston Institute of Technology. They changed it for some reason. I can't figure out why) 107-89. It was the most points an AU team had given up since 1994.

I would call this rock bottom, but something tells me it gets worse after this. That same something tells me that if Jeff Lebo makes it to the new arena, it will be as a paying customer.

I am so confused and frustrated by this I may need to channel me some J.R. Suicide, though I am not as talented at swearing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

AU basketball--'A' for effort, with little to show

Auburn put up 72 freakin shots against Florida St. Auburn made 26 of those.

Foul trouble was to be expected. FSU's bigs clearly outclassed our guys, and with a tightly called game, we had our work cut out for us. Effort was there for sure. Our guys play hard and you cannot fault this bunch for effort.

The result was a 76-72 loss to an ACC middle of the pack team, and a 5-5 record before Christmas.

Auburn should win the rest of their non-conference games, and who knows with the SEC west what the 2nd season will bring.

I have already said that I had high hopes for Auburn this year with Reed, Walller, Sullivan, and Hargrove returning. I am stunned at how poorly we shoot the ball given our perimeter experience, and the free throw line. My God, the free throw line.

We just have to hope the jumpers start falling, or else it looks like another lousy year of hoops on the Plains.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Musings: Basketball, Bowling, and Bama

Is this it for Jeff Lebo?

It is amazing how quickly high hopes can evaporate. Jeff Lebo, fresh off of his best season at Auburn, had many of us thinking about dancing in March when this season began.

Now...not so much. After a 4-4 start, with losses to C-USA also ran Central Florida and Troy(!) to go with losses to a pretty good mid major in Missouri State and N.C. State, many Auburn hoops fans are left scratching our heads. THings get no easier with Virgina and Florida State coming up next.

We are beginning to see how much Vot Barber meant to Auburn as an inside presence, because our bigs are not doing very much in the paint. Not scoring much I can accept, but our bigs don't defend and they really don't rebound, at least not like Barber.

That being said our guard play is flat out lousy right now. DeWayne Reed was thought to be one of the better returning guards in the conference. He is 9 for freaking 38 from behind the arc. He's also 61.5% from the free throw line. 32 assist to 29 turnovers. Lucas Hargrove, another senior, is 6-31. Assist to turnover 1:1, as in 22 assists and 22 turnovers through eight games.

Frankie Sullivan has been a bright spot, and hopefully Waller getting healthy will help, but man, we are just bad right now.

I simply cannot understand how these guys can be so bad at the free throw line, and it has cost them the game in every loss.

In regards to Lebo, no doubt he is a pretty good X's and O's guy. He has done some remarkable things against better talent for years now. But for every good thing he has done on the court, he continues to shoot himself in the foot off of it by recruiting the wrong types of players (Josh Dollard comes to mind) then compounding that with adopting a heavy handed (and really holier than thou) discipline that sends guys fleeing for the door.

I heard someone say a couple of years ago "He's to clean for the SEC." I love the fact that Lebo is not a dirtbag like Cliff Ellis.

I love the fact that his kids play hard and over their heads.

I wish like hell for him to succeed, but I fear this may be his last year on the plains. A new arena opens next year, and we have a wonderful opportunity for a fresh start to our recently abysmal basketball program. It may not be fair to the guy. He started behind the 8 ball, but that was years ago.

I think it goes without saying he'd better get things turned around this season, and fast.

Outback bowling Hey, now that was not what I was expecting. But with so many mediocre choices from the middle of the pack this season in the SEC, why not Auburn for the Outback Bowl? We will get Northwestern instead of Wisconsin. For some reason I am happy not to be taking on the Badgers. Maybe it's the idea of Northwestern not being a power. Now watch them make me rue the day I ever said that.

I am looking forward to seeing a healthy Auburn team in this game. Speedwagon should bee 100% and our defensive guys should be well rested. I never want to put too much emphasis on a bowl game but we need to make a statement in this one.

Yeah, that's all I need So the Evil Empire destroyed the Gators and Tebow Saturday. How did I know that was coming. Did anyone see Darth Saban on the sidelines Saturday? I have never seen a guy so unhappy about totally dominating another team. Saban is football version of the guy in No Country for Old Men. He is ruthless, soul-less, and crazy. He is easy to hate but you must admire the job he does.

Saban's just like this guy, but a different bad haircut.