Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Lookback--Kentucky



We Reviewing all 13 games. This week, the road trip to Lexington.

Now this was a fun trip.

Going in... Auburn had a road game at a fairly tough place to play, but we felt pretty good about it going in. We were looking forward to our Lexington stay with the my good buddy Jeff, also known as the most interesting man in the world.

What happened.... We discovered Kentucky fans cared more about tailgating for horse racing than football. We bet on some ponies and lost about three dollars. Cam Newton was again outstanding, but the Auburn defense looked suspect. We won the game, but lost our car (for a few minutes anyway), and headed home undefeated and the highest ranked SEC team (thank you Gamecocks!).

What did it all mean? Auburn to this point was still a question mark. We could score points with anyone, but were we elite? Honestly I wasn't ready to say that after the win in the Commonwealth.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm conflicted here

Obviously a pretty good song, but these two guys just don't seem very street to me. Check it out...


2010 Lookback-La-Monroe



January 10th keeps getting closer! Until then, we're looking back at the season. This week, cupcake city, also known as La-Monroe

Going In... We knew this would be a W. We wanted to rest some guys and not get anyone hurt. Rob packed up the family and headed down for the game. Rob's wife Dana the terminator ran from Chelsea to Auburn in 45 minutes (not really, she's not Kenyan)

What Happened...Mission accomplished as far as the game was concerned. Rob's kids made it through the coin toss and were ready to go.

What did it mean? Auburn looked rock solid, sharp, and did exactly what they needed to do against an overmatched opponent. Cam flashed some passing ability, didn't run the ball once, and Auburn was 5-0 going into the meat of its schedule.

Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Lookback--South Carolina



Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. We're continuing our season review of 2010. Today it's game #4, the OBC and the Gamecocks.

Going in...Auburn was facing a tough opponent at home again. Our Tigers already seemed battle tested, but Spurrier had the Gamecocks looking tough with a home victory over Georgia. Frosh RB Marcus Lattimore was the real deal. Alshon Jeffrey looked like a rising star. Stephen Garcia looked like he needed a shower.

What Happened...Once again, Auburn spotted an opponent a two touchdown lead, but took total crontrol of the game in the second half, forcing 4 turnovers in the fourth quarter, Spurrier amazingly pulled Garcia in favor of his freshman QB with a haircut that would make Johnny Unitis proud. He threw two picks on the final two SC drives.

Cam Newton became the Cam Newton we all hoped he would. Michael Dyer won the battle of freshman running backs.

In other news my wife yelled at me for not changing the battery on a beeping smoke detector in the 4th quarter.

What did it all mean...Auburn suddenly emerged as the challenger to Bama in the SEC West. An offense that was clicking covered up some serious holes in an albeit opportunistic defense. We were all glad that we wouldn't have to see the Gamecocks again ;).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Lookback-Clemson


We're reviewing all 13 games of the 2010 season up to the BCS national Championship Game. Today we'll look at Game 3.

Going in... I was pumped about this one because: #1 the Mrs and I were actually going down to the game. #2A college friend of my wife who is a huge college football fan (specifically Clemson) was joining us. #3 We had a free place to stay.

We still had many uncertains about Auburn as a team. Clemson was also a mystery because they had played no one. All we knew was they had a pretty good baseball player as a QB and a ton of talented players on defense.

What happened... Clemson jumped out 17-0, I contemplated bailing at half. Our friend Margie was cheering like mad during the first half. If I didn't like her so much I would've dumped my drink on her. We looked absolutely awful.

In the second half, Margie got really quiet for some reason. She turned and told me during the 3rd quarter that she would've cut me but she likes my wife too much. Auburn roared back and won it in OT, as Clemson's kicker proved he is no Wes Byrum.

What we learned...That Auburn has some serious cojones for coming back like that. The offense that was throttled in the first half showed that it could be brilliant in the second. We did just enough to win, for sure. Looking back now it was one of those season changing games. If we lose at home to Clemson, we probably go 9-3. We also saw th Auburn defense begin a season long tradition of disabling (literally) opposing quarterbacks.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 LookBack--Mississippi State


We're reviewing perhaps the most magical season in Auburn football history. Today, the now hated Mississippi State*.

Going into this game...Rob said a fast start for AU would be key. I was worried about Thursday night games on the road. I also gave the knuckleheads on the roundtable a hard time for bumping Rob in favor of other former AU players to do their commentary. (That and picking Auburn to lose)

What happened...Auburn got up early and went into slowdown mode. The offense basically went into a shell and relied on the defense to win the game (and a couple of key Bulldog missed opportunities). Some guy named Fairly emerged as a defensive nightmare for opposing qb's. I was left wondering why Gus would slow us to a crawl and speculated that maybe he was keeping the training wheels on Cam for his first road game.

What did it mean? Still more questions than answers. The D looked better in week two. The offense looked mediocre, but a road win in the SEC is nothing to sneeze at, and we were 2-0 staring a very tough two game stretch in the face.

*Sour grapes much? I hope you are all happy, Joe Schad staked his journalistic integrity on you guys. That egg on his face is all your fault, Mrs. Mullin. Oh and congrats on being promoted from Coach's wife to "recruiter".

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lookback 2010-Arky St.



Figured we'd kill time by briefly looking back at the 2010 season, game by game. We'll try to do this for all 13 before January 10th.

Going into this game...We just weren't sure what we could expect. This new guy Newton, was he any good? Would he be another Daniel Cobb? Would the defense be any better? What did we know for sure? That our buddy Matt has an awesome man-cave. That and fantasy football draft nights can cause an awesome hangover...

What happened? Auburn's offense steam-rolled, the defense looked no better than the 2009 version. We got our first look at Cam Newton. Rob and I had lots of patients the following Monday, because it was so awesome it caused people's eyes to bleed.

Going forward, what did it mean? This Auburn offense may be the best ever, but the Defense may be a liability, and cost us a few games. Matt requires smoked chicken wings from the green egg in exchange for getting to use the man-cave. Done and done, sir.

Monday, December 6, 2010

SEC Title Review: (AU 56 SC 17)



Congratulations to the most resilient football team in America. SEC Champions with a perfect 13-0 record!! Complete domination over the Eastern Champ Gamecocks. You made a statement to those who doubted resounding from coast to coast...your preparation and execution, your passion and love for one another, your representation of Auburn University, those that have come before you, those that will try to emulate you, those that can only follow from a distance to those in attendance wherever you play is to be and will be admired for decades to come.

Your reward...a trip to play for it all and carry the SEC banner for its fifth straight national title. And because of the success this conference has had in national title games, you will be rooted for by no one beyond the SEC states. All the other conferences will root against you. The media will set you up for a fall. Even most of the SEC will root against you...at least in the state of Alabama. For any other team, I may worry the weight, the pressure would be too much to carry. But this team has more character and desire to prove themselves week in and week out, my level of worry is nonexistent.

Watching the offensive explosion in the Georgia Dome was a thing of beauty! Gus Malzahn on a script to begin games is mind blowing. Allowing him a month to prepare for Oregon will be exciting to see. And the defensive play was solid once again. You limit a team to yards through the air alone, cutting off the running game at the knees, and you're gonna win the vast majority of your football games. This defense gets that. Kudos to Craig Stevens and T'Sharvan Bell. Your level of play has been stellar as of late and an enormous reason we've been successful as a unit.

I have to agree with Dr. Z that Cam is a top 10 pick. In fact, before the season began, Coach Malzahn actually said if Cam developed like he thought he would he would be a top 3 pick. If I'm a NFL GM I have no hesitation in building my franchise around this guy. His value in marketing alone would reap any team enormous financial gains. He's well spoken, humble, a man among boys on the field, and I've heard my wife state on several occasions how good looking he is.* If a team would take a chance on a battering ram in Tim Tebow in the first round, there's little doubt a team will jump onboard the Newton train within the first 10 picks.

So we should soak in this team, this magical season, this once in a lifetime quarterback. Enjoy this championship and enjoy the memories this team created for each of us. Enjoy the fact our brethren of the crimson persuasion are in utter torture watching what the Tigers have accomplished. Enjoy how quickly Coach Chizik not only closed the gap that existed between Auburn and Alabama, but surpassed the Tide one season removed from a national title. Enjoy Christmas and New Years knowing a well-grounded, humble Auburn unit will play for it all to begin 2011. I know I will. Thank you 2010 SEC Champion undefeated Tigers for making this year a special one for the Auburn Family.

SEC Championship Edition



Wow. Full discretion here. I thought we would win this game, but 56-17? That was quite a performance.

Cam was near perfect. He is so much better than he was early in the year it's scary. He looked average in the first half of the Clemson game, but I have never seen a guy develop so quickly as a passer. He throws lasers. He shows touch. He is precise. He is a top ten draft pick I hate to say. Combine the fact that he is off the hook awesome and the crap he's had to deal with (bite me joe Schad), no way he stays for a senior season.

Defensively, or best performance of the year. Far and away. I love the pressure. It almost appears a light went off in Ted's head about it. Who knows? But the defense makes me feel more and more comfortable these days.

Not a whole lot more from me. We'll have more breakdowns in the weeks to come. I look forward to the next month of basking in the glow of our greatest season yey.

War Eagle Auburn fans, and savor the flavor because for us, it doesn't happen very often.

Friday, December 3, 2010

SEC Title Preview-Future's Open Wide



Rematch time. Anyone else sick of ESPN? I know we've talked about it before, They also have trotted out people to contest and compare apples (USC case) to oranges (Cam case). This even promted the NCAA Pres to cme out with a statement saying it was not the same. So I say this with the utmost respect, Joe Schad, go %^$k yourself. You had a lousy source. Egg is on your face. We all know you're in CYA mode.

I don't buy all the rematch is better for the first time loser, at least not in this case. The make-up of these two teams is so different now. When AU played SC the first time, we were unsure about what we had in Cam. We found out what a great runner he was that night, but he is so much more now. He is multi-deminsional, and one heckuva passer. Ontario Speedwagon has also emerged, along with the development of Michael Dyer.

Carolina is also different. Marcus Lattimore is the real deal. Alshon Jeffries is arguably the best receiver in the league. Greazy Garcia has been better as of late as well.

This game could go either way, at least that's what the talking heads say. How many times have I hear this week what a great big-game coach the OBC is? I think that's true, circa 1995. I think this year the OBC has taken advantage of a super weak division. think about it for a second, if Florida, UGA, and Tennessee were their norma selves, what would Carolina's record be? My guess is 7-5 or 6-6.

On the other hand Auburn has come through the toughest West Division maybe ever unscathed, topping it off with the unthinkable (at least back in August) victory over the Saban Nation.

The key to this game starts and ends with Cam Newton. I have no doubt SC will score 21 points in the first half, because Ted Roof enjoys spotting anyone 21 points. Granted, I wish he wouldn't. Cam will make plays one way or the other. Another thing to keep in mind is the fastest of fast tracks in the Ga Dome. It is supposedly the fastest turf in football. Auburn has way more team speed. Don't be surprised to see Dyer or Speedwagon break a long one.

I also think given Garcia's injury situation, Nick Fairly will likely see to it he doesn't finish the game, but here's hoping he gives u a couple of turnovers before he leaves.

Auburn will stop Lattimore, but it will be intersting to see if Spurrier abandons the run. My guess is he'll chunk it around quite a bit.

If we don't turn it over, we win, plain and simple.

Auburn- 38
Chicken Tenders 28

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Great Read

Check it out...

Money quote:
“Even if you guys were told the truth, you wouldn’t believe it,” said Bynes, Auburn’s star linebacker. “The truth doesn’t sell.”



Read more: http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/feed/2010-11/cam-newton-probe/story/truth-of-the-matter-newton-cleared-of-wrongdoing#ixzz16zgUJC4c

SEC Title Preview



First things first...Cam may have been cleared by the NCAA but Auburn is by no means out the woods just yet. In fact, Auburn is going down at the hands of the FBI on tax evasion charges. Simply put, Auburn has yet to pay property taxes on Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa...a stadium it has owned for 10 years now! My friends, we will undoubtedly be found guilty here.

Now, to the game. It's this simple. Auburn is a team of destiny. South Carolina is being credited as resurgent for beating up on a floundering Florida team that was just demolished by Florida State, Troy, and a Clemson team that has had the wheels come off of their season at 6-6. I watched Arkansas completely destroy South Carolina in all phases of the game in Columbia. South Carolina stands no chance! Auburn wins by three TDs.

South Carolina-24
AU-45

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

The latest symbol for choking

Iron Bowl Reax: Comeback Kids Do It Again

An Auburn fan at the end of the first quarter of the 2010 Iron Bowl:



An Alabama fan after Lutz's game winning catch:






Oh mercy, I still cannot get over the 2010 version of the Iron Bowl. I have watched the game three times now. I will watch it again tonight. (my wife is going to burn my DVR box)

It truly is hard to find words. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, "It's never happened in history and it hasn't happened since." A comeback against a team you just don't come back against in the most unfriendly of environments. Down 10 points? I would say maybe. Down 24? I would say no way except that I saw it with my own eyes. I have never seen a team so rudderless in one half be so brilliant in the second.

I have also never seen a team so dominant in one half become so inept in the second. It almost makes one wonder what Nick Saban actually said at halftime. I have heard all day today that Alabama did a great coaching job in that game. I totally disagree with that. Scheme-wise, sure, it was the best job I have seen against Auburn's offense. From a motivation standpoint, it was an absolute trainwreck for Bama. My guess is Saban went in at half and berated his team, even after dominating the #2 team in the country for 30 minutes, and it backfired. I have no knowledge that is true, but the way they responded gives me a pretty good idea.

Rob is right on the money as usual, about the intangibles of this team. It makes me wonder what kind of losers Gene Chizik had to coach at Iowa St. How could you not want to play for this guy? He is so collected. Never too high or too low, just the perfect temperament to be a head coach. We are lucky to have him, for sure.

I thought Auburn's defense in the second half of the game was as good as I have seen from an Auburn team since 2004. I like that we got aggressive and blitzed more. I hope we see more of that against Garcia and company come Saturday. Eltoro was great and T-Bell was great too. I hope we see more of the Bull from now on. He is a difference maker for that defense. No offense to Darren Bates, but Toro is just a level above.

I wish i could have been there walking out of the stadium Friday night, just to see the stunned looks on the faces of the Crimson nation. This wasn't supposed to happen to them, not with Saban. But it did, and in the span of 365 days, the pendulum swung in the direction of East Alabama.

It's not 2009 anymore. The past is just that, and the future is now.

Two more guys. Come on.

Alabama Review: (AU 28 Bama 27)


This was a hustle moment that will be enshrined in a painting someday!

There's no way I can adequately portray in words the gutsiest, most resilient, most unified Auburn football team I've ever known and their amazing comeback in the 75th edition of the Iron Bowl. All I can do is look back to what I said before the game...this Auburn team may not be the most talented, but are the best TEAM in America because of the love and belief they have in each other. There's no other explanation for going down 24 points against the defending national champs, against the greatest front-runners in college football, in a stadium that hasn't witnessed the home team lose in 20 consecutive games, in the most heated college football rivalry in all the land. Only the most mentally strong and spiritually connected of teams could possibly endure what this Auburn team did, yet find a way to win the football game. You really get the feeling that if Bama had scored 35, Auburn would have scored 36. Bama 42, Auburn 43. This Auburn team is just made of something that strong. What a joy to witness...and to scream Rammer Jammer five times at the top of my lungs...arms raised in victory...waving my shakers in unison to the beat of the band while facing the tide fans scurrying out of Jordan-Hare West like rats under a spotlight. Thank you 2010 SEC Western Division-State of Alabama Champion Auburn Tigers for giving an old has-been that opportunity! I enjoyed it at least half as much as I did running off that field myself a winner.

Impressions...

-When you have the best offensive and defensive players in college football on one team, you're never out of a football game...EVER! Nick Fairley's sack and fumble recovery of McElroy was exactly what Nick Fairley has done all season long...game changing plays at critical moments. Cam Newton was defended better by Alabama than any other team this season, but he just can't be held down for four quarters. He was calm, never seemed to lose his cool, kept plugging away and eventually figured out the Alabama defense. He is the undisputed team leader and his confidence spreads like wildfire to his teammates that feed off of his energy, athleticism, and leadership intangibles.

-The defense played their hearts out! Alabama's first drive, hats off to the Alabama offense. They made plays and executed flawlessly. Auburn made them earn it and the Alabama offense did. I can live with that. Second drive, we bust a coverage and give them a freebie. Third drive the defense starts to exert it's will until the officials decide to interject themselves directly into the game with what can only be described as a criminal call against Nick Fairley. You have to want to make that call...you have to go into that game eager to make that call. The white hat single-handedly handed Alabama seven more points and if anyone deserves a one game suspension from the SEC office it's the head referee who made the most egregious call I've seen in years. After that, the defense shut Alabama down. They made Alabama completely one dimensional cutting off the head of it's vaunted running attack. They played aggressively, tackled well, made plays on the football in the back end, and refused to give up when things appeared bleak. T'Sharvan Bell was my defensive MVP! He played his finest game in an Auburn uniform and earned a tremendous amount of respect from me. And the best stat of the day, other than the scoreboard...Alabama was 0-7 on third down in the second half. That's dominant! That's taking over a football game!

-The loss of Blanc and Goggans during the first half turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Having those guys fresh and eager for a second half push was instrumental in the defensive success in the second half. The battle was won up front and the way things played out with the suspensions couldn't have been better for the Tigers D.

-T'Sharvan Bell's sack on McElroy was a tremendously heady play by the sophomore defensive back. He used the play clock to his advantage as he watched it tick down to one, using it to speed rush around a flat-footed offensive tackle to knock McElroy out of the football game, and Alabama out of field goal range.

-Antoine Carter outran Neiko Thorpe to get to Mark Ingram on the fumble play. I would bet Thorpe would beat Carter in a foot race that same distance 100 percent of the time. The difference? Thorpe never comes off the field. Carter rotates in and out consistently and had more gas in the tank. It was an impeccable effort play and Carter's refusal to quit kept Auburn alive and ultimately sparked the comeback.

-McElroy was out of his mind in the first half. We can give all the credit to the coaching staff and Coach Roof for making critical in-game adjustments, but I would bet the Auburn defense didn't change a thing at the half. I would bet the coaches rolled the dice and bet the house on McElroy and company not being able to sustain the pace of the first half. As long as the running game was taken care of and Alabama was a one dimensional, pass-happy offense, Coach Chizik and Roof believed McElroy would come back down to earth...and the fall was fast and hard!

-The Fairley sack was incredible! We all knew he would make a play at some point in the game, but it couldn't have come at a more critical time. If he ever deserved a flag in this game it was on that play. The penalty...15 yards for making the Alabama offensive guard look foolish and playing your position in an uncanny beastly fashion!

-Winning the game in the manner we did was perfect. The Bama folks thought it was over, they had ended Auburn's hopes of a National Title, they won the battle of the state of Alabama, they had shown the nation how to stop Cameron Newton, they had flexed their muscle in their home stadium and...couldn't hang on. It was the difference between a team that believed in one another in Auburn and a team of talented individuals that never gelled together and became a true team in Alabama. That my friends is called character, a direct reflection of your head coach and team leadership, and Auburn will win that trait against all-comers.

-Watch the recruits make public their Auburn allegiance. Not so much because of the win. More so because of where the game was played. Now that these guys got their free tickets from Bama to the game, time to commit to the Tigers. I did the same thing 14 years ago.

There were many more tremendous plays in the football game...Blake's ability to pull down the first TD catch after an initial bobble. T. Zachery's catch and run for TD number 2 capturing the momentum to never relinquish it. Kodi Burns making two huge catches to spark the offense. The ability to run the football in the second half enough to keep the chains moving. Newton's presence in the pocket to stiff arm a rusher before throwing the TD pass to Lutzenkirchen to take the lead. Chizik's fourth down calls and the belief he showed in his QB and offensive line to pick up the necessary yardage. Bell, Eltoro, and Craig Stevens all playing their finest games of the season defensively.

But what I'll remember about this game and take away for years to come is this Auburn team's will to win, it's desire to compete four quarters, it's ability to overcome adversity of epic proportions, it's belief in each other and in their coaches to battle together to the final whistle, it's ability to get up off the mat and stand toe to toe and out punch the defending heavyweight title holder, it's personification of character and class and coolness of mind. It's the type of team I'm jealous I don't get to play with. It's a group of young men we should all be proud of for representing the ideals and virtues we value most no matter what happens from here on out. It's a once-in-a-lifetime team I'm proud to cheer for. The comeback was incredible. The perseverance was amazing. The game was one for the ages. And one more time, as was sung as passionately as I've ever seen..."Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, Go to Hell Alabama!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Behind Enemy Lines, a Guest Post

Introducing Dr. Griff Gordy, a great friend and fellow eye doctor/football nut. I asked him to give us a view from the other side.


When I was asked to do a guest blog preview of this year’s Iron Bowl I was a bit surprised, especially since it is for an Auburn Blog. However, it was explained to me that I am one of the more objective Bama fans and so I might be able to bring a realistic preview from a Bama fan. That was funny to me, “realistic” and “Bama fan” in the same sentence. I do own a pair of crimson colored shades, (I actually believe it is a prerequisite for being a true Alabama supporter) the interesting thing is that the heavy crimson tint has given way to a much lighter, clearer crimson shade over the years.

After getting married to the love of my life in April of 2008, watching my father lose his battle to cancer in April of 2009, and witnessing the purest miracle of God as my son was born in February 2010, the passion for college football has been put into a better perspective in my life. First and foremost I am a proud Christian and strive daily to serve Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. No Alabama or Auburn victory will ever be sweeter than the victory of Salvation we have through the Grace of our God!

I will step away from the pulpit now and get to the nitty-gritty. Iron Bowl 2010. We have some intriguing matchups this year: Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram versus Heisman hopeful Cam Newton, the genius offensive mind of Malzahn versus the tenacious defensive prowess of Saban, two electric WR’s Julio Jones and Darvin Adams versus two suspect defensive backfields. Also National Championship implications are on the line for the second straight year, as Auburn arrives 11-0 and ranked # 2 in the nation while Alabama comes in with a ‘disappointing’ 9-2 mark with no pressure and a nothing to lose mentality. Sounds a lot like last year’s matchup with a simple flip of the script. Much will be made of the outside frenzy surrounding Auburn and Cam Newton and speculations, allegations, etc. I will not spend any time on this subject because quite honestly I don’t feel it will have any outcome on this game. Auburn was not distracted one bit against Georgia so there is no way, in my mind, they will be focused on anything other than the Crimson Tide.
To me there are going to be three key factors to winning the game Friday: field position, turnovers, and the battle between the “big uglies” in the trenches. Let’s take a closer look at these areas.

Field Position: I noticed in the Auburn/LSU matchup that LSU was able to pin Auburn inside their 20 pretty much the entire game. If Bama can do the same, then I feel they have a pretty good chance of coming out on top. 80 and 90 yard drives are just a lot more difficult to execute over 50 yard drives any day. Bama must win the field position battle and force Auburn to work with a long field on offense. LSU proved that is a huge key to keeping the game close against Auburn.

Turnovers: This is an obvious one. Every game hinges on turnovers. Both teams have done a very good job of limiting their turnovers this year, especially in crucial situations. As a Bama fanatic, I am hopeful that Auburn feels a sense of loyalty to Mario Fannin and allows him a few more carries than normal because we know he is prone to cough it up at inopportune times. Otherwise, this is a toss-up. Whichever team can create the big play and force the change of possession will more than likely be walking away with bragging rights for the next 365 days.

The Big Uglies: Bama came into the preseason with high expectations up front on both sides of the ball. However, inconsistent play and season long nagging injuries have hampered the big men. Bama can salvage all of those expectations with a stellar performance this Friday. To me this is Auburn’s strength on both sides of the football. There is no question the anchor of the prolific AU offense is their down linemen. These guys are big, nasty, and absolutely know each other’s every move and thought. Although the AU D has been labeled as weak, the D-line for the Tigers pretty much wreaks havoc on opposing quarterbacks. What Auburn lacks in the secondary, they tend to make up for with their pass rush, especially with the game on the line. Against a banged up Bama O-line and a QB who struggles to throw the ball away, that could mean big trouble.

In my mind, the winner of this greatest rivalry in college football will be decided by these men in the trenches.
Bottom line is that Bama will come out with intensity and desire that has been lacking from this bunch earlier in the year. The Crimson Tide has nothing to lose this Friday and will be ready to spoil the Championship dreams of their nemesis. In front of 100,000 plus screaming fans in Bryant Denny Stadium, this will be the biggest test the Auburn Tigers will face all year (including games to come). The pressure to keep their record unblemished will be weighing heavily on the Tigers as well. If I step outside and allow my crimson colored “Transitions” shades to creep a little darker, I can see a Tide victory at the end of the day. However, the forecast is calling for cloudy and cold and my gut tells me that unfortunately, the Tide will feel similar around 5:00 Friday afternoon. Bama will put up a valiant effort, but the protection by the AU O-line and the pressure by the AU D-line will ultimately be too much for Bama to handle.

This Auburn team is on a mission identical to the mission my Crimson Tide was on this time last year. Auburn wears Bama down in the fourth quarter and wins 27-24. Will they hoist the crystal ball and Heisman trophy in the same year? Time will tell, but it would be pretty cool to have both awards in the state of Alabama in consecutive years.

Dr. Griff Gordy is a 2003 Graduate of UAB School of Optometry. He practices in Phenix City Alabama, where is he is a cult football hero. As a QB, he led the Red Devils to the 6A state title in 1993. He is kind of a big deal in PC (think Johnny Moxon from Varsity Blues).

Bama Preview-We Comin'


Let's do this

This has been the longest week ever it seems. All of the pontificating and soothsaying comes to an end on Friday. All of the speculation, the mud-slinging, doomsday talk...well that all ends too.

I wrote last year after the Iron Bowl that Auburn was close to being back near the top of the college football world. I had no idea we were this close. But a superman wearing #2 brought us here. He has endured a tough road to get to Bryant Denny, just as the rest of the Auburn football team.

In 2008, we were dead according to football pundits. Two short years later, Auburn football is light years ahead. It hasn't been an easy climb back to the top of the mountain, but we are almost there.

Now to the Iron Bowl. I hate this game, but I love it. It is as nerve racking, pressure filled, and intense as any that you'll find from a fans perspective. Rob told you about his feelings earlier this week as a player. I remember each and every one of those games, from the gut wrenching losses in that toxic waste dump at Legion Field to the Jarret Holmes game-winner where we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Those were tense. Hard to take when you lose, and sheer bliss when you win.

So what happens this year? I think it will be won or lost in the trenches. Want to know who wins this game? Look at the offensive lines of both teams. If Auburn does what they have done all year, Auburn wins. If Bama can't corral Nick Fairly, Auburn wins.

On the flipside, if the Bama O-line opens running lanes for Richardson and Ingram, it could make for a long day for the Auburn defense. Don't underestimate the big play power of the Alabama offense either. They thrive off of the home run ball lately. Julio Jones is a legit deep threat and both backs can take a screen or swing pass and go the distance.

I have said all week, if this game is in the low 20's, Bama has a great chance, but if it is 30+, Auburn finishes the regular season undefeated. Are you ready for a war? Because that's what it will be come Friday. In the end, Auburn prevails and heads to Hot-lanta 12-0.

Auburn 38
Greatest team ever assembled (in August) 33

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Alabama Preview



Iron Bowl! The only game I wish I could suit up one more time and run into someone wearing crimson! It's the game I grew up playing in my front yard for hours on end and lucky enough to experience as a four year starter. My record was 2-2 against Alabama and each game carried historical significance.

1997- My freshman year...the Ed Scissom fumble! I was on the field when Freddie Kitchens play-faked right, rolled left and hit Scissom in the left flat. A big hit, a fumble, an Auburn recovery, a Jaret Holmes kick and Auburn is off to Atlanta as Western Division Champions...first time Auburn represents the west in the game!

1998- Coach Bill Oliver our interim coach. We jump out to a 17-0 lead having no business even being in the football game. Bama roars back behind the legs of Shaun Alexander and Alabama wins the final Iron Bowl ever played at Legion Field.

1999- Bama playing for the SEC West Title. We were playing for a bowl bid and pride. We outplay a much deeper Alabama in the first half and take the lead into the locker room. We take the opening drive of the 2nd half inside the Bama 10 and miss a chip shot field goal. Alabama drives inside our 2 and we stuff them on 4 consecutive plays. Next play...safety! We run out of gas and Alabama wins in Jordan-Hare for the first time ever.

2000- Senior Year. Freezing sleet. Miserable conditions. We take an Auburn team into Tuscaloosa for the first time in over 100 years. Alabama crosses midfield on their first possession. Andrew Zow throws a pass into double coverage in our end zone...I pick it off. We go down the field and kick a field goal. That's all the points we need. Alabama never crosses midfield again! We go back to Atlanta as division champs! I never forget sprinting towards the Auburn faithful in the endzone and saluting a fan base like no other!

What did I learn from my four years in this game? A few things. The first...the best team usually wins. In my era, the team with the best record, the team with the most at stake, the team that should have won did, all four games. The second...the game was always closer than it should have been. In 1997, we were at least 2 TDs better than Alabama...they led 17-6 in the 4th quarter. '98 and '99...we had no business being in the game with Alabama, but we scared the hell out of them in '98 and should have beaten them in '99. As close as the games end up being, the better team usually prevails however. Third...Emotions were sky high, particularly for the guys from the state of Alabama. Think about how you yourself live and breath this game year round. Now imagine running through the tunnel, hearing Rammer Jammer, listening at field level to the culmination of Roll Tide and War Eagle as the kicker approaches the ball, running onto the field and taking part of something you pretended to do every single day of your youth. I would literally have tears in my eyes right before these games because I wanted to win it so incredibly bad, I wanted to play the game of my life, I wanted to play for my high school teammates that never had the opportunity, I wanted to win for the Auburn people and give them the satisfaction and pride in their team. We wanted to beat Alabama and we prepared year round for it.

This Auburn team is better than Alabama. Maybe not in talent at every position, perhaps not even at most positions. It doesn't matter. It's not about talent...it's about unity, it's about cohesiveness, it's about loving one another and knowing when you look at the guy next to you in the huddle he's going to do everything he possibly can to win his small battle within the war. This Auburn team is the epitome of a team united. They've been battle tested and prevailed. They've been overlooked and underrated and took care of business. They've been galvanized and rallied around their leader as he's undergone an all-out media assault on his character like no other college football player in the history of the game. These things have only made them stronger. As the saying goes..."Good timber does not grow with ease...the stronger the wind, the stronger trees". This is as mentally a tough team in college football and they'll need every ounce of it to get out of Tuscaloosa a winner.

I expect this environment to be the most hostile in the history of AU football. Alabama will play with a passion they've lacked all season and Auburn must match it. I hope Auburn can play as loose as they possibly can considering all that's on the line. It's a tall order...think about it. I know I may have to start smoking Friday morning till the game starts just to calm down...and I'm allergic to smoke! Can you imaging what Cam Newton, or Lee Ziemba, or Mike Dyer feel like?! Better yet, how bout the guys from this state like T. Zachery, Ryan Pugh, or Zac Etheridge!

I do believe Alabama will be successful many times offensively (in spite of their QB...kind of like LSU winning in spite of Les Miles). I just can't see their defense stopping the Malzahn attack. The only way we get stopped offensively is if we stop ourselves. We must take care of the football and treat every offensive possession delicately. If we don't turn the football over we win this game. If we give them extra possessions, we give them life. Prediction...Cam Newton puts the Heisman talk to rest by taking this team into Tuscaloosa and coming out a winner!

AU-38
Bama-31

Monday, November 15, 2010

Georgia Reax: SEC West Champs edition


A 4th quarter snoozer

I would say that Cam Newton is a heartless machine seeing as how he brushed off a week of turmoil and distraction to play an near perfect game Saturday. But we know that's not true.

He smiles. He laughs. He hops around. He has fun at the game of football like no other person I have ever seen.

I guess its easy to have that much fun when you are that much better than everyone else. Georgia found that out Saturday. They pretty much slowed Cam about as well as anyone has this season (and I include certain certain sports columnists in that list). Cam only lit up the Dawgs for four touchdowns, two passing and two running.

The rest of the team on offense especially played tight in the first half, but they found their mojo and the race was on. As good as A.J. Green was, he and the Georgia offense just couldn't keep up.

It was an emotional game for Auburn given the week that was. Not to say that I give our guys a pass for the foolish way they behaved at the end of the game. Nick Fairly's hit on Murphy was late and stupid. It gave UGA a touchdown later in the drive.

The late hit followed by the Fairly blocked into Murphy's knees play followed by the "code red" ordered by UGA's coaching staff (that's what myself and others speculate, anyway) led to the scuffle which led to punches thrown. Nick's late hit begat alot of bad things, including the touchdown.

That being said, the Georgia folks are pissing and moaning about how classless Auburn is now.

This from the program who has convicted players than an Adam Sandler remake. The same program who came out and danced on the field after a touchdown against Florida. Might I also remind Dawg fans of this little nugget:



So spare me your righteous indignation. You lost. Big. If your guys spent more time on the practice field and less time in the Athens detention facility, you might have had a chance. Might I suggest another blackout for the Tech game, because your program is dead and buried. We merely pulled the plug on your life support.

Now, bring on Bama, who looked pretty good Saturday night against State. Though a source states that Saban is being investigated for sexual harassment of AJ McCarron.

War Eagle guys and gals!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Georgia Review (AU 49 UGA 31): Western Division Champs!



Another reason to give Coach Gene Chizik the National Coach of the Year Award after preparing this Auburn team in the midst of the mind-boggling media assault his team, and his team leader endured. Even more remarkable to fall behind by two touchdowns only to weather the storm and methodically march down the field and regain control of the football game. And Cam Newton...what else can you say? No superlative I can conjure can adequately convey Cam's worth to this team or his athleticism, both on the ground and through the air. The zip on his passes...WHOA! The accuracy...scary! He didn't throw a single bad ball and really makes those who question his ability through the air look silly. I thought Georgia defended Cam and our offense better than anyone this season...and we still rushed for over 300 yards (Cam going for 150) and chewed up clock, huge chunks at a time. In fact, we never threw a pass the entire third quarter! That's when you know you've got an offensive line that's dominant (and it doesn't hurt to have the best athlete playing quarterback maybe in the history of college football).

Defensively...well, that's another story. Truth be told, we really played poor enough to lose the football game. Once again we allow a young quarterback (talented no doubt) to come into our stadium and look like a Heisman contender. Nick Fairley's dominance has come to be expected and he didn't disappoint in this one (he did have some questionable hits on the Georgia QB however). But our secondary just doesn't have the skill to compete with the nations elite WR A.J. Green. It was a man amongst boys and lucky for Auburn we have an offense that has the ability to become our best defense...outscoring you and/or running the football, and clock, at will. Several times we were out of position, out-flanked, poorly aligned and never had a chance simply because of alignment. Combine that with poor technique and I really don't blame the players...I blame the coordinator. We are too good against the run and too talented overall to allow offenses to continue to be successful...even with our shortcomings in the secondary. They do however, come up with enough stops, enough big plays, enough pressure, to win football games...and in the end that's what matters most.

Likes...

1. Onsides kick to start the second half. That takes a lot of guts to make that call, particularly when your defense has yet to stop their offense. Flawlessly executed by Wes and the wedge of headhunters on the kickoff team clearing the way. Of course, if we don't execute, Georgia recovers and goes on to score...we rake Coach Chizik over the coals for the call?!

2. Kickoff coverage. The return man for UGA is a weapon we never let get loose. In fact, we drilled him repeatedly inside the 20 yard line with multiple guys completely selling out, giving up their bodies to force the opposition to go 80 yards to score. It's hidden yardage and we're better at covering kicks than any team I've seen this season. Even Darvin Adams was in on a few tackles! And Craig Sanders and Demetruce McNeal continue their season of wreaking havoc on special teams coaches throughout the SEC.

3. Blocking. Lee Ziemba completely annihilated defenders all day. Our wideouts are ferocious in their down field blocking, springing many plays for long gainers. It's a testament to the importance placed on each individuals role and what is emphasized in practice.

4. Fan support. I played on some good teams and in front of some raucous crowds, but the atmosphere this entire season has been special and has gone a long way in providing that extra motivation that makes the home field advantage in Jordan-Hare unique. Coach Oliver recognized it when I was a player...he always said Jordan-Hare was the single most difficult stadium to win a football game in when he coached at Alabama. The fans did their part in making Jordan-Hare come alive this season and I'm sure the players appreciate that more than I can convey!

5. Gus Malzahn. He takes what you give him. He attacks from every angle, with every playmaker, with speed, with power, vertically, horizontally...it's special! He gets cute sometimes...I'm beginning to think because he gets bored (not really)...honestly, I believe he does those things to keep it fun for the entire unit and to reward a guy like Kodi Burns for being as selfless as he's been.


Dislikes...

1. That we had two guys throw punches and get themselves ejected and suspended for a half of the Bama game. It's never okay to throw a punch and it was a shame we displayed a lack of discipline at the end of the game. I completely understand the need and desire to protect your brother...but to throw a punch, not once but twice, was childish and disappointing. I assure you both will regret their decisions this "off-week". Both are likely to lose 10 pounds this week! It was a selfish decision as well, as both will be suspended for a half in the most important game of the year...something that hurts the team immensely.

2. Nick Fairley bordered on being dirty and did nothing to help his reputation as such in the minds of his critics. I'm not talking about driving the QB into the ground...I love that! The QB should get no more protection than I would get trying to get off of a block to make a tackle. If an offensive lineman drove me into the ground at the end of each block would I get fan sympathy, draw a personal foul call or would anyone say the offensive lineman was playing dirty. Of course not! It's the poor, pitiful, fragile QB we must protect. If you get there in time...make the QB pay and let him know you'll back all day long. The personal foul however was a terrible decision and costly for the defense. The one time we cover their receivers and force an incompletion on third and long, we give them a freebie by hitting the QB in the back long after he'd released the ball. The play that finally knocked Murray out of the game was questionable to me as well. Perhaps he didn't know Murray had released the ball...he was low to the ground and being blocked. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but if I'm a UGA lineman, I'm probably pissed too. But what the Georgia offensive line did to Nick was equally egregious. All that being said, I would have loved to have played defense with Nick Fairley! He plays with unbridled aggression and his dominance is a thing of beauty!

3. Tony Barnhart's clamoring of his disdain for "the underbelly of college football" and his rant on others making a buck off the backs of "student-athletes". Really? Has he not made his name and surely a fortune himself from said student-athletes? Does he not travel across the nation speaking to quarterback and touchdown clubs, writing books about the exploits of these young men and the institutions they represent and get paid handsomely for it. Does he not report and analyze the rumor and innuendo that gets tossed around in instances like the Cam Newton saga and revel in it. If I can turn on my TV and not see you pontificating from your pulpit every Saturday your diatribe might not ring so hollow with me. But something tells me you'll write a book with Cecil Newton about this and profit once again from the "underbelly of college football". You are the very thing you despise!

Friday, November 12, 2010

More Cam Analysis

When I find a positive story I'll do my best to get it posted since all we see our the negative posts of doom and gloom.

From the Miami Herald...


Broken promise costly to Newton
.

Cam Newton might have broken rules. He might not have broken rules. One thing is certain: He broke a promise.

The best quarterback in college football is playing at Auburn this season. That wasn't the plan in 2008. In early December of that year, a promise was made between Newton and Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen. Mullen was going to Mississippi State and he was taking Newton with him. It was a perfect plan. A pact was made.

A pact was broken.

Mullen couldn't live with that and now Newton will have to live with this scandal for the rest of the season. Did Newton's father sell his son to the highest bidder? Did Newton leave Florida because he cheated academically? It's doubtful any of this will ever be proved. It's clear from where the murky source of Newton's national scrutiny began to flow.

In a sense, it was a package deal. Mississippi State was going to make Mullen the Southeastern Conference's youngest coach and Mullen was going to make Newton the Bulldogs' version of Tim Tebow.

Newton is, after all, a better version of Tebow. He's a better runner and a better passer than Florida's former All-Everything.

Through 10 games, Newton is ranked 10th nationally in rushing with an average of 114.6 yards a game. He has accounted for 35 touchdowns (19 passing, 15 rushing, one receiving) -- tops in the nation.

Newton never owed Mullen or Mississippi State anything. So what if Mullen recruited Newton to Florida? He needed to recruit him again to Mississippi State, and he lost. But that's not how Mullen sees it.

Here's a timeline of how Mullen's plan to get Newton was foiled by Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn:

• Newton was charged with stealing a laptop computer at the University of Florida in November 2008.

• Around the same time, Mississippi State approached Mullen about bringing the Gators' spread-option offense to Starkville.

• Mullen accepted Mississippi State's offer after the SEC championship game.

• Newton completed his final semester at Florida a few weeks later and packed his bags for Texas.

• Newton played one season at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, leading his team to a junior college national championship. Everything was moving along according to plan. Then, suddenly, Auburn ruined everything for Mississippi State.

• Newton signed with the Tigers on Dec. 31, 2009.

Now, Mississippi State is trying to ruin everything for Newton.

According to the initial report in The New York Times, a de facto agent representing Newton approached a Mississippi State booster and indicated an exchange of cash would be needed to acquire the services of the coveted quarterback prospect.

Sounds like Newton is bad news, right? Well, on Thursday afternoon it became clear that the would-be agent that allegedly was working for Newton's family -- former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers -- actually was only a go-between working exclusively for Mississippi State. Rogers admitted this while being interviewed by a Dallas radio station.

The source for the story in The New York Times was John Bond, a former player and current booster for Mississippi State. In other words, he's one of Mullen's cronies. In other words, two former Bulldogs representing the interests of Mississippi State leaked this entire story out of spite and Mullen is at the center of the scandal.

And then there's a report by Foxsports.com, which claimed Newton cheated academically while at Florida and possibly was facing expulsion when he transferred.

It's all rather disgusting.

Using the media like pawns, Mullen and Mississippi State have succeeded in tarnishing a dream season for a once-in-a-generation player. Don't be naive and think this about cleaning up the SEC. That's laughable. A broken promise cost Mullen and Mississippi State a shot at the SEC title this season. A broken promise has cost Newton his image.



Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/12/1921888/broken-promise-costly-to-newton.html#ixzz155j26SXi

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Georgia Preview: Circle The Wagons


Any else sick of this stuff?

Amidst the storm of controversy, here we are, staring a perfect season in the face. Four wins to something most of us have only dreamed of. We've seen a perfect season in 2004, but most of us don't remember '57.

Now we have outside forces, off the field mind you, trying to tear us down.

To that I say "Nuts". (Look it up, its a good story)

Time to circle the wagons Auburn fans. We're one win from the SEC West Championship. We got this. Now we can't lose faith in our players and coaching staff. I won't believe a word of this garbage until there is a smoking gun. Read the post just below mine that punches holes in all this stuff. Sorry for the rant. On to the game...

Goergia has beaten Auburn four times in a row. Its hard to believe that the last time Auburn beat Georgia was Brandon Cox's sophomore year. That seems like decades ago now.

The Dogs started off miserably, but have picked things up over the last few weeks, thanks to Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky three weeks in a row.

I have no doubt they will be confident coming into Jordan Hare.

But they have more holes than an ESPN story defensively. I don't see them stopping the Auburn running game. I also see a rested Auburn defense, which got three quarters off last week, making a statement here.

Georgia may get some points, but it won't be nearly enough. Cam, Speedwagon and a healthy Michael Dyer will shred Georgia.

I say...

Auburn: 48
Underdogs 24

Best Cam Newton Analysis Yet

via sportsbybrooks.com

MSU Coaches Leaked Damning Cam Calls To ESPN
Posted by Brooks on Nov. 11, 2010, 12:38pm
If there was any doubt who leaked the most recent, and damaging story about Cam Newton and his father Cecil to ESPN earlier this week, there isn’t now.



Wednesday ESPN’s Joe Schad reported:

Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, said in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be part of a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.

Thanks to information provided by Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen on the record to the media yesterday - and if Schad’s report is true - those sources have been indisputably verified as Mississippi State football coaches.

NEMS360.com Mississippi State beat reporter Brad Locke Tweeted this yesterday during Mullen’s media teleconference:

Mullen, when asked if anyone besides coaches are registered recruiters for MSU: “No.”

Brandon Marcello, who also covers the daily Mississippi State football beat for the CLARION (MS) LEDGER, was the one who asked Mullen the above question. He also noted:

An ESPN.com report cited “recruiters” as sources late Tuesday night. Those recruiters say, according to ESPN.com, that Newton and his father, Cecil Newton, admitted to a “pay-for-play plan” in separate phone conversations with MSU recruiters.

The term “recruiters” raised questions and I asked Mullen today if anyone besides his assistant coaches were registered as recruiters with the NCAA. His answer was a short and pointed “no.”

I’m still attempting to contact MSU to see who is registered as a recruiter with the NCAA. My phone calls have, so far, gone unanswered.

That information could easily be had via a Freedom Of Information act, as Mississippi State is a publicly-funded state institution, but there’s no need. Mullen already confirmed it himself.

So now that we’ve established that MSU football coaches leaked the information about the Newton phone calls to Schad - if his ESPN report is correct - then why did John Bond, who is not a member of the MSU coaching staff, officially report the information about other alleged recruiting impropriety involving Newton to Mississippi State - and then front the story on MSU’s behalf for ESPN?

As a refresher, here’s the original headline from ESPN.com from ESPN’s first report about possible Newton recruiting impropriety: “Cam Newton offered for cash in exchange for signing letter of intent, ex-Mississippi State quarterback said - ESPN”



That headline makes it sound like Bond was the source of the complaint to MSU against Newton, but from what we know now - including Bond confirming there “were two people” between him and alleged middeman Kenny Rogers - was he really?

In Bond’s original, on the record statement to ESPN last week about alleged impropriety involving the recruitment of Newton, he himself did not name Rogers as the middleman allegedly soliciting money on Newton’s behalf.

Instead it was ESPN, in that same initial report, that identified Rogers as the alleged go-between. (Without Rogers being named, ESPN really had no story.)

So how did ESPN get the information that Rogers was initially involved?

Now that we indisputably have verified - if ESPN’s report is accurate - that the MSU coaches leaked the Newton phone call info to ESPN, and that Bond said there were two people between him and alleged middleman Rogers, and Joe Schad’s source for the ESPN Newton phone call story was “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State“, is it unreasonable to think that the same coaches leaked the info about Rogers to ESPN for its first report?

And that those same MSU coaches then proceeded to hide behind Bond as the public front for the initial, ESPN breaking story about Newton and Rogers?

And what of ESPN in all of this? Why did Pat Forde, Chris Low and Mark Schlabach author the first story about Newton and then have Joe Schad report the second?

Was the muddying of bylines designed to mitigate blowback against individual writers - see Schlabach’s ugly incident last Saturday - while also, once again, giving the appearance that MSU coaches didn’t orchestrate the leaks for both stories?

Hard to believe that ESPN knowingly would be manipulated to that effect - especially considering the lack of material evidence provided in both stories.

Consider the fact that the SEC did not act on what Schad reported to be information sent to the league in January that would constitute a serious NCAA violation on Newton’s part and almost certainly render him ineligible. (If ESPN’s report about the phone calls was completely accurate.)

But then there’s Mississippi State’s official statement released to the media yesterday about its contact with the SEC:

“Mississippi State University acknowledges that it contacted the Southeastern Conference office in January of 2010 regarding an issue relating to its recruitment of Cam Newton.

“Shortly after the initial call, the SEC office requested specific information to include interviews with involved staff from MSU.

“Due to MSU dealing with ongoing and time-consuming eligibility issues involving non-football matters in the winter and spring of 2010, the specific SEC request went unfulfilled. Some additional information was provided to the SEC during July of 2010.

“Once the NCAA enforcement staff became involved, Mississippi State University cooperated fully with its investigation. MSU is confident the SEC office has managed this process consistent with its established procedures and the university is committed to the conference’s ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with SEC and NCAA rules.”

Now the first two grafs from Schad’s ESPN report on the Newton phone calls:

Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, said in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be part of a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.

Mississippi State compliance officials relayed the alleged conversations to Southeastern Conference compliance officials in January, according to two other sources close to the football program.

When you read Mississippi State’s statement, and then Schad’s report, which includes extremely serious allegations of what would certainly be major NCAA violations, there is a major disconnect.

Clearly in its statement yesterday, MSU disputed ESPN’s report that the SEC had been sitting on legitimate evidence involving serious NCAA violations by Newton for 11 months.

But MSU does indicate in its statement that the SEC has had the pertinent info, which according to ESPN does including evidence about the Newton phone calls that Schad thought important enough to report this week, since July.

If Newton’s actions were serious enough and the evidence to that effect was legitimate enough for ESPN’s Schad to report them, and they involve Newton soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars to play college football, why is Newton eligible?

In my opinion …

What Mississippi State’s coaches appeared to do in this case was try to carry out a little Bronson-esque vigilante justice. When they didn’t see the NCAA respond to their liking, they used the media to attack the NCAA’s so-called foot-dragging on the issue.

It appears that the Mississippi State coaches thought that by July, the SEC had enough damning information on Newton that there’s no way on earth the quarterback should’ve been eligible this season.

But as the SEC, and the NCAA, had not acted on that available evidence for five months, MSU coaches leaked the details of Rogers and Newton’s alleged actions to ESPN in separate reports.

By exposing the SEC and NCAA as to the serious nature of what the two organizations allegedly had in their possession, the MSU coaches hoped they could get the NCAA to act in a more timely manner.

In other words, render Newton ineligible immediately.

The problem I have in all of this is that in the SEC and NCAA’s non-response to ESPN’s reports, it appears that perhaps MSU may have been exaggerating its claims about Newton’s alleged cheating.

Or not. Perhaps the MSU coaches are correct in thinking that Newton’s eligibility should’ve long been struck down by the NCAA.

Most importantly …

Despite making allegations of Newton and Rogers that would undoubtedly be classified by the NCAA as major violations, ESPN’s included no material evidence in its two reports and had nothing on the record except from non-MSU-recruiter Bond. The same non-MSU-affiliated Bond who ESPN used to essentially front its first report.

If the NCAA doesn’t act on the information ESPN has reported - via MSU coaches - in the very near future, you can’t come to any other conclusion than the network should’ve been more discerning in its decision to report the allegations against Newton and Rogers.

Georgia Preview: He Hate Me Wrap



If I'm Cam Newton, I request the Auburn equipment staff change my jersey to look like this guy...



Georgia week is an emotional week for many guys. Any given year, roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of your roster hails from the Peach State and loathe the Bulldogs fiercely. When I played, it became a mutual promise...the Georgia guys would say, "You play your ass off me this week, I'll do the same for you against Bama!" My roommate at Auburn (Whit Smith)was a Georgia boy...from Crisp County. He knew nothing of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry, but knew everything about the Georgia Bulldogs. I can remember the meaning this game had to guys like Takeo Spikes, Ben Leard, Brad Ware, Dontarious Thomas, Josh Weldon. It was the highlight of their Auburn careers, the reason most of them came to Auburn in the first place, and they wanted this game more than any other, hands-down...including the Iron Bowl. And where does the Newton family reside...College Park, GEORGIA! And Darvin Adams...Kennesaw, GA, Neiko Thorpe...Tucker, GA, Mario Fannin...Hampton, GA, Lutzenkirchen, Curry, McNeal, Whitaker, Isom, Mosley...all these guys will make sure there's no doubt what a win means to them.

Auburn will be ready to play this week, there's no doubt! This team will be galvanized, energized, pissed-off, emotional, and ready to explode on someone! Georgia is really the unfortunate player in the Cam Newton drama because Auburn will be looking to make a statement. Auburn coaches couldn't have manufactured a better rallying point, a more unifying nucleus, then what the media was done for this team. Taking the field in a rivalry game is one thing. Taking the field in a rivalry game with a national audience is a bigger thing. Taking the field in a rivalry game with a national audience with an opportunity to make your statement between the white lines, to raise your level of play to match your leader who's under attack by seemingly the entire college football establishment, with a chance to win the West outright and play for a title....I get goose bumps just thinking about it...I'd probably explode during Tiger Walk! So, in my opinion, Georgia doesn't stand a chance in stopping Auburn. Only Auburn can stop Auburn, and with the controversy swirling around these guys and the unity that creates, the focus it creates...Auburn will be as mentally and physically sharp as we've seen all season.

As for Newton...I'd probably play him at both QB and alongside Josh Bynes to let him take out a little frustration! Seriously, I doubt we see too many slides in the open field Saturday afternoon. Can you imagine how much he must be looking forward to putting on his uniform and just playing football. Besides all the media requests, the constant "breaking news" (can you imagine seeing reports about yourself constantly on national networks and not be allowed to defend yourself?), preparing for a Georgia defense, installing a new game plan, practicing that game plan to perfection...but the kid still must go to class, perhaps take a difficult test this week or two or three?, juggle community responsibilities he's involved with...we forget he's not just sitting over in the football complex where's he's shielded and protected...he's a student too...he has family issues, girlfriend issues, financial issues, spiritual issues just like every other college student does! He just has a national audience with many attempting to take the kid down...by any means necessary.

Auburn rallies around Cam and Cam plays with a cinder block on his shoulder from here on out. He smiles, he comes up with big play after big play, the defense raises their level of play to support their leader and Auburn continues on it's amazing season...

Georgia-21
Auburn-45

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Unnamed Source: Thayer Evans Sleeps with Billy Goats




See how easy it is to do this on the internet?

Thayer Evans, you sir, are a scum bag. It has already been established recently you have ZERO credibility.

UPDATE.... Plainsman Parking Lot does a better job than I ever could in debunking this.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend Reax-Mad Hatter/ Mad Hater Edition


Love me some Les Miles today

It was supposed to be a quiet weekend. Auburn would blow out a weaker opponent and Bama would escape LSU. Cam would be a media darling and an Iron Bowl of epic proportion would be scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving.

Now its Monday and those of us wearing orange and blue are trying to get our heads around an ESPN story full of rumor and insinuation, and the Crimson nation is still trying to figure out how Les Miles chewed up Nick Saban (and apparently some of the turf at Death Valley) and spit him out. I honestly never thought I'd see the day when Les Freakin Miles coached circles around the Dark Lord.

First to the game, Auburn took care of business, and did exactly what they needed to do. The defensive starters were done midway through the second quarter, their offensive couterparts done after halftime. Cam put up more ridiculous numbers, which gives him more touchdowns than the majority of FBS schools.

To the ESPN mudslinging, I can only say that it is either a statement on how college football is totally morally bankrupt if true. If it is untrue, then it is an indictment on journalistic integrity. Think about it. I can go on this blog an allege that Mark Schlabaugh and Thayer Evans sleep with sheep. I might can even drag up a quote of some farmer somewhere who says he might have seen them do it.

And by their standard its true. They ran a story that Auburn, the NCAA, and the SEC new about for months, and still Cam Newton is still out there playing football. Nothing but rumors, no money trail, no paper trail, no assocaition with Auburn.

They immediately started backtracking Friday, saying that Auburn had nothing to do with it. My guess is more backtracking coming from the WWL in the days to come, or the story just outright dying altogether.

I don't think that Cam had anything to do with this. If it comes out he did, then we should pay the price. If its not true, then heads should roll at ESPN and the NYT. If there is any journalistic integrity left in the world, then they should be fired.

I do agree with Rob that this team is galvanized now. We have unfinished business with Georgia, Bama, and (hopefully) Florida. I say hopefully Florida because Urban Meyer better pray to the god of petty scumbags that South Carolina pulls it out Saturday, because Cam, Chiz, and the Auburn fam are out for blood in the Ga Dome. And he thinks Bama can cause a panic attack.

War Eagle folks. You are looking at a great team headed down the stretch. Our time is now.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

UT Chattanooga Review (AU 62 UTC 24)



In the interest of full disclosure, this weekend was the Alabama Optometric Association Continuing Education Convention in Birmingham so I was not able to watch the game. I did keep up with the stats religiously throughout the games entirety and was extremely pleased with the way the starters handled business. My phone couldn't keep up with the barrage of scoring in the first half...every time I hit refresh 7 more points were on the board. Even Wes Byrum's leg felt the fatigue of extra point after extra point to the point of actually missing one. He probably should have started kicking them left-footed! I was happy to see so many guys able to contribute and glad we were able to rest those who've been through the battles up to this point.

As always, Cam Newton's ability to handle the media with grace, with ease, confidence and impeccable articulation was challenged this week and passed without question. He was thrust into the national spotlight for reasons he never could have conjured and how does he respond?...He goes out and throws for 4 TDs, rushes for another all in the first half. He silences those who wondered if the storm of controversy the media artificially created would be enough to rattle the guy who's been unshakable. To those who immediately concluded his guilt and shouted they could no longer vote for Cam for Heisman, he makes them look like fools. And does he look bitter, or angry, or even remotely frustrated in talking to those who've created a nightmare for him and his family? No...when asked how he felt after the game, "I feel like 10-0!" Perfect! He was giving them the middle finger while killing them with kindness. Pure class! I recognize his performance was against the worst competition he's probably played since high school. Just shows what he'd do week in and week out against Boise State's laughable schedule where he'd play 10 of these games (not counting brutal tests such as Hawaii or Wyoming...on the road). I hope my sarcasm is just bleeding through.

I really believe in the end this entire story came at a great time for this team and will galvanize them, giving these an additional rallying point, something else to create an "us against the world, no one respects us" team unity that honestly is hard to manufacture when things have gone so well. I think guys will raise their level of play in an attempt to lift Cam up, to make things easier for him, and I'm sure the emotional and spiritual support he's receiving through this is off the charts.

Now, time to take care of business this week against the Georgia Bulldogs and punch our ticket to Atlanta. Oh, and in between Georgia and Atlanta...throttling the Crimson Tide into oblivion!

Best Facebook post I saw as Saturday came to an end..."Well the debate begins Monday morning on ESPN...if a two-loss Alabama or undefeated Boise deserves a shot at the National Title!" War Eagle!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dr. Z's Chattanooga Mocs preview



I'm going to be 100% honest. I am looking ahead here. I know nothing about Chattanooga, except there was a moderately important Civil War Battle there and the traffic at 5:30 on a Friday sucks worse than Birmingham.

Auburn's going to hang 50 on this team without really even trying. We've come a long way since 2008 when we had trouble with UT-Martin.

I would like to take a second to talk about some other fans that are looking ahead. All this week on talk radio in Birmingham, the Bammers have been talking about preparing for Cam Newton. 'How do we stop Cam Newton?' is the prevailing question on WJOX. They even roll out Rob's beloved Brother Oliver to ask him. I loved his answer- "Georgia and Alabama have their work cut out for them."

I don't want to take Brother out of context here, but the SEC defensive genius of the 1990's, who carried Gene Stallings and Mal(function) Moore to a National Championship in 1992 basically said there is no good way to stop Cam. And he's right, because you can get people in the right places to defend Cam, but if he's a better athlete than the guys trying to tackle him, the result is a ridiculous run like we saw against LSU.

Anyway, back to my point about the look-ahead. Auburn I can see looking ahead. Even Georgia, who pays Idaho St this week I can understand. Bama, not so much.

Because going to LSU against those kinds of athletes is a dangerous proposition. Factor in the mad hatter, and you better have your mind right.

But I keep hearing and reading about how Bama took time in their off week to gameplan against Auburn. That may just be internet hoo-ha, but if its true its either incredibly arrogant, or incredibly stupid. So that being said, don't be surprised if the Rolltide struggles mightily this weekend, but what do I know.

As for our game...

Auburn 66
Mocs than have a train in their emblem* 24

*I get the train thing since its Chattanooga and all, but why not a scary water loving pit viper? Now this is freakin scary...

UT Chattanooga Preview



At least the coaches aren't hiding their perception of UTC by forgoing Sunday's practice in exchange for dinner and a Halloween cosutume contest. I'm sure Monday the coaches gave the "Respect your opponent" speech, but the tone was set Sunday and it wasn't a tone of respect thy opponent. I'm not downing the night off and costume contest...in fact, things like that make me a bit jealous...we never had coaches create an atmosphere of fun, unity building, bonding moments something as silly as a costume contest and dinner produce. I think it was brilliant, a much needed break from the monontonous grind of the same ol' repetitive cycle. I'm sure the guys enjoyed it and appreciated the coaches for allowing it. But, you can't then turn around and say, "We respect UTC" like we do any other opponent. You can only do something like this when you have a group a guys mature enough to handle it and Coach Chizik is confident he has just that.

This is a game you want to accomplish four things...1. Be sharp 2. Work on a few wrinkles you'd like to use against Georgia and Bama, personnel as well as schematically (without tipping your hand) 3. Rest your starters by playing everyone on the sideline 4. No injuries.

Really nothing else to say. Looking forward to running the record to 10-0 and preparing for the two biggest games of the year.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Ole Miss/BCS Reax: Sometimes I hate ESPN


The guy on the left is a Bozo. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

So much for the trap game. Auburn had Eli and Archie headed to the exits by halftime Saturday night. My guess is they argued if Cam Newton was more like Peyton or Brandon Jacobs on the ride home. On that night, he was more the former than the latter.

Auburn's offense simply dominated the Gray Rebel Black Bears*, and while the defense had their moments of lackluster tackling, they held out pretty well after the first quarter.

I have to say I find Bob Davie insufferable. Comparing Masoli to Cam the entire first half was ridiculous. Had Masoli turned his Ole Miss into a BCS contender overnight I might have agreed, but Jeez, they lost to Jax St and Vandy for goodness sakes. Bob's claim to fame is starting Notre Dame down the path to college football oblivion a few years back. I keep thinking the Irish hit rock bottom with a terrible loss every year, but then they continue the downward spiral like they did this weekend against the Golden Hurricane**. Irish fans, thank Mr. Davie for the biggest fall from grace in college football history.

Follow that up with Jesse Frickin Palmer spewing his garbage Sunday night, and I had my fill of the worldwide leader. Jesse's biggest claim to fame is being the Bachelor one season, as if being a QB at Florida under the Ballcoach wasn't reason enogh to hate the guy.

And style points? Really? How is it that hanging 50+ on an SEC opponent on the road doesn't get you style points? What a joke.

That being said, it doesn't really matter. We all know if Auburn wins out they are in Glendale come January. It just irks me that ESPN has to be a controversy pusher like Fox News and MSNBC. When the 24 hour news cycle infects my beloved college football, it sticks in my craw.***

Alright, cupcakes for homecoming then the 2 game season starts. Man oh man, what an autumn this has turned out to be.

*Kind of sad for Ole Miss about the mascot thing, but the Gray uni's? Doesnt anyone in Mississippi remember what happended the last time the home team wore all gray and played visitors in navy?

**Kind of sounds like some kinky term on Urban Dictionary

***Sorry to soap box, but John Stewart's speech at the rally to restore sanity was spot on.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ole Miss Review (AU 51 Ole Miss 31)


Game Over!!!

What an effort on the road! The biggest question I had was how this team would respond after consecutive physical and emotional battles in the national spotlight. They responded in a way that exceeded my expectations. I fully expected Auburn to win the game, but I thought Ole Miss would give us some problems and fight us four quarters. The most impressive aspect was the way the offense took what Ole Miss gave them. We didn't beat our head against a brick wall and defiantly try to run Newton when it was obvious Ole Miss was determined to not let him beat them with his legs. So instead McCalebb ran for 100 yards in the first half alone. Dyer ran for a career high 180 tough yards. Newton showed his accuracy throwing for over 200 yards and two scores to a multitude of different receivers. It was a definitive case of pick your poison for the Ole Miss defense and when it all settled, the poison turned out to be a well-balanced, physical offensive beatdown the Tigers put on the Rebs.

The word the keeps coming to mind after watching the way Auburn handled Ole Miss...STRONG! 350 yards rushing...STRONG! Mike Dyer's 21 carry, hard-nosed performance...STRONG! Three different receivers with 5 or more catches...STRONG! No sacks given up on the road against a team eager determined to stop your quarterback at all costs...STRONG! The defense stopping Ole Miss on 4th and 1 in Ole Miss territory just before the half and coming away with more points...Back-breaking STRONG! Demond Washington racing 100 yards on the kickoff return...Will-crushing, game over STRONG!!! T. Zachery stiff arming his man into the ground on his TD catch...I'm feeling a little sorry for Ole Miss now STRONG! The unbelievable downfield blocking by our WR, Kodi Burns in particular...STRONG!

There's so much praise to be distributed for many fantastic efforts against Ole Miss. But my Eyes on Auburn unsung hero award goes to Kodi Burns. Throws a TD pass to open the scoring, throws block after repeated block to free up running backs and fellow WRs, and makes two critical third down catches to sustain drives early in the game.

Other Positives...

^ Only one punt all game. And the one punt was a sky high boomer. Only 36 yards but with that height there was zero chance for a return.

^ Wes Byrum 3 for 3 including a season long 48 yarder. Made it look easy too.

^ Offense rushing for over 300 yards for the 5th consecutive game and accumulating over 500 yards again Saturday. I said before the game if Auburn could rush for 300 yards against Ole Miss this may be the greatest rushing football team ever...I think they could be...at least in Auburn history.

^ The play of Demond Washington. The INT was probably the biggest play of the game, thwarting a sure Ole Miss scoring opportunity immediately after our offense gave them incredible field position. The kick return...amazing! Several great open field tackles. The TD catch the guy had on him was just an unbelievable play by the Ole Miss WR. Can't fault Demond on that one.

^ Mike Dyer showed me a burst of speed on his TD run I didn't know he had. I've thought he's been average to perhaps slightly above this season and mainly because I didn't think he had incredible speed to go along with his bowling ball stature. He proved me wrong on one run and immediately his stock rose immensely in my eyes.

^ Play at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That's where it all starts and we're playing as good as anyone in the country if not the best.

^ Zack Etheridge back on the field a year removed from being paralyzed in this game. You're a tougher man than most Zack!

Negatives...

-May have gone to the well one too many times on the flea-flicker to Neil Caudle. That play won ugliest of the game. We got way too cute with that one.

-Poor angle by the play side safety on the speed sweep TD run on the second play of the game for Ole Miss. He never got blocked, he just ran himself out of the play with a poor angle.

-Ole Miss' gray uniforms. All the build up for that nastiness? Come on!

-Jesse Palmer's BCS countdown analysis last night! Coming from a guy that was replaced by a third string walk-on named Noah Brindise in the only game I played against Jesse, what a D-bag! Needing style points in the SEC?? Please dude. Get a clue. Compare the strength of schedules and loosen that tie you've tied too short brother.