Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Utah State Preview

Utah State will start a JUCO transfer at QB and return a second team All-WAC running back to....nevermind this. The outcome of this game has absolutely nothing to do with how the Utah State Aggies perform! That will be dictated by the mindset of a young Auburn Tigers football team. In other years, you may worry about your team looking beyond a no-name opponent like Utah State and on to more meaningful competition that will come calling next week from Starkville; however, when your team will be breaking in so many new faces, and guys are enormously eager to make a name for themselves...there will be no looking beyond the inferior opponent. No replay of Oklahoma/Utah State of 2010. I believe this Auburn team carries an incredible chip on it's shoulder and Utah State represents the opportunity to prove a point. The point being we're young, but we're talented! And we're intent on playing to the standard this Auburn uniform demands and expects!

I'm excited for Barrett Trotter and eager to see how he runs the Malzahn attack. I'm interested in seeing if the pace of play offensively is noticeably faster than it was last season. I want to see how the offensive line looks in it's first game together as unit and how a true freshman center calls the shots as the leader of the that group. I can't hardly wait to see Trovon Reed in open space and how he'll be utilized offensively and on special teams. And the young defensive front...can they stop the run effectively, can they create pressure with a four man rush? How will Coach Roof rotate all the defensive ends he's got? Really excited to see Demetruce McNeal at the safety position...if he's as aggressive a safety as he was a kick coverage hawk! Tre Mason...how powerful is he? Onterio hitting the corner and Dyer pounding the middle. Lots of exciting things I'm ready to see and questions to be answered.

I truly believe this team is far better than most think. I'm a realist and know the rigors this league presents to even the most mature of teams. I don't think Auburn will win every game this season! I do believe however Auburn can beat each team they'll line up against. In my opinion, for what it's worth, winning 6 conference games should be the goal, with 5 deemed a success. That would close in on 10 wins, and 10 wins would make the college football world collectively explode over Auburn's success! May even invoke a SportsbyBrooks or Thayer Evans inquiry/trash story/futher reputation destroyer for "writers" of their ilk if further destruction is even possible.

Every team develops an identity, and if this team develops one that will fist fight for four quarters...the sky's the limit! We will have our fair share of growing pains. However, it will be fun to watch these guys grow up before our very eyes!

Utah State-17

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dr. Z's Lookahead for 2011

So I decided to go ahead and make my predictions for 2011, although I must tell you, take it with a grain please. I honestly have no idea how 2011 will turn out.

Utah State-Good choice in n opener for a completely new AU team. Win 51-24

Mississippi State: The team that actually did have a bag man comes to town for what should be a war. Mullin is a good coach, but he's a whiny sore loser in recruiting. Win: 21-17

Clemson: We head to Auburn with a lake for our first road test. We'll be ready because Clemson looks so much like home our guys barely notice a difference. Win: 28-17

Florida Atlantic: The owls come to town for a beatdown. Win 48-10

South Carolina: I have in-laws that are Gamecock fans. They are still smarting over the beatdown in the championship game. One wouldn't shut up telling what a cheater Cam Newton was in the middle of a funeral. Loss: 24-21

Arkansas: On paper, this one doesn't look good. The Hogs will be out for blood, playing at home. They are my SEC west pick. Loss: 38-28

Florida: The Gators come to town to renew a rivalry. To inspire his team, Will Muschamp will bite the head off of a live Tiger. Charlie Weiss steps in and asks "are you gonna finish that?" Win: 28-17

LSU-Rob actually wants to go to this game. I told him he should if he wants to get cussed out an spit on by an eight year old, then get offered gumbo by the boy's mother. Win 13-10

Ole Miss-Houston Nutt may wish he'd have taken one of the several jobs he was allegedly offered in the past. Win: 38-21

Georgia-After a needed week off, Auburn travels to Athens for the oldest rivalry in the south. Mark Richt is on life support at this point. Win: 23-21

Samford- Pat Sullivan brings his Bulldogs to town. We show our former Heisman trphy winner all the respect in the world, by only hanging 50 on him. Win: 56-10

Bama- The best defense in the history of college football, according to some. "Some" say you don't replace a Cam Newton and expect to contend. Funny how "some" ever say you don't replace a Julio Jones or Mark Ingram and expect to contend. Win 17-16

There you have it. Holy cow! Did I just pick us to win 10 games??? Guess so, but I live in a glass is half full world.

War Eagle everybody.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I. am. so. over. this.

D-bag much?

So if you tuned into the Finebaum show yesterday, you likely wasted four hours of your life. But then some would argue that happens to anyone who tunes in from 2-6.

Sheridan came on back during media days with Paul and basically wrote a check with his mouth. It bounced yesterday. Badly.

The entire college football world has been turned on its side recently in Miami. Who knew the U was paying for hookers, strip joints, boats, jet skis, etc.

Honestly the way Miami has performed over the last 9 years, the was the worst money spent since I took my wife to see "The Tourist". But I digress...

Sheridan hoped to make a big splash, but he doesn't have it. He isn't 100% sure. But he can't come out and say that, so he predictably hides behind an attorney, goes on the air and tells the listeners nothing.

Barrett Sallee tells you all you need to know about yesterday:
If Sheridan's source is telling the truth, legal action is out the window. There's no defense from the truth, so if the name Sheridan claims to have is, in fact, the "bagman," Sheridan has nothing to worry about from a legal perspective. Clearly, he's not 100 percent confident that the information he has is accurate.

I am amazed by this self-perpetuating wet dream that some Bammers have about Cam Newton and Auburn. I've heard better conspiracy theories from the Birthers or the 9-11ers.

Get over it folks. 28-27 happened. Auburn winning the BCS happened. The best QB in the history of college football happened. If Yahoo sports can't find a story, then it likely isn't there.

So Mr. Sheridan, if you wonder where that vinegar and lavender smell is coming from, it's you, D-bag.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rivals Unite for Recovery

Participating in the first annual Alabama Power Rivals Unite for Recovery flag football game softened my heart. It made me dislike Alabama less than I did the day before. It forced my to look long and hard at my priorities and to remember the way I saw my competitors in crimson while I was a player myself...as a fraternity of brothers grinding through the everyday rigors of life in the Southeastern Conference and the mental, physical, spiritual hurdles we all navigate living that life. He was a foe I would fight like hell against within the confines of the Iron Bowl, but also a friend I camped with, a buddy I got to know on official visits or at stadiums around the SEC, a peer that understood the same pressures and labels I lived with every day. The longer you're away from the game and exposed to fandom...you forget! The more you hear the vitriol and see each fan base desire to ruin the other off the football field, the more cynical you become...you follow the crowd...you run with the wolves. The herd mentality takes over and pretty soon your entire outlook has changed. That's where I was and Saturday knocked me back down to reality...or to a fairy-tale world...depending on your current view. When you spend time with a Siran Stacy and hear the passion and grace he lives his life...exuding an immense desire to serve others all the while knowing his story includes the tragic death of his wife and 4 kids...your heart softens towards a bitter rival. When you meet a group of former Bama players and they're so extremely grateful to collaborate with bitter rivals in orange and blue to benefit a community they adore that's been utterly decimated and it brings tears to their eyes...you're heart melts a bit for your arch-enemy. When you share the field with a Shannon Brown and you hear how he lost a daughter in the Tuscaloosa tornado, it makes you squeeze your own kids tightly and thank God you've been given another day to be a father. When you share a laugh with an Antonio Langham recalling antics and the humorous disposition of a mutual defensive coordinator, you realize how similar your college experience was at competing schools. Yes, I live in the real world! No, I don't think Alabama and Auburn fans should gather around a large campfire, join hands and sing kumbaya. I also would hope the intensity, pageantry, pandemonium that is the Iron Bowl never ceases to exist. I want my kids to know and appreciate the greatest rivalry in all of sport. And when the Tide lines up to play Tennessee or Mississippi State or LSU this year...I'll root against them. That's what true Auburn fans do! At the same time, my disdain for "the dark side...the evil empire" will be tempered by the proper perspective. I hope I never forget the Alabama QB or RB or head coach or scout team kicker is a human being. He is not an instrument performing exclusively for our pleasure and entertainment. And when he lines up against my beloved Auburn Tigers the day of the Iron Bowl, I hope he is whipped into submission from opening to closing whistle. But, at the games conclusion, he becomes a friend again...an Alabamian...a fellow servant of the Lord...a brother in arms...a man with for more in common with myself than uncommon...someone I can look in the eye for the rest of my live and know we competed in a special game...we share a bond others only dream of. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this game to raise money for tornado relief. I hope the event will perpetuate into a yearly occasion. I hope the fans learn a lesson in humility from the players as we work together for the good of the needs of our state. Prior to taking the field, the presidents of both Alabama's A Club and The Auburn Lettermen's Club spoke to a locker room at full capacity, half crimson...half blue...about the uniqueness, the unparalleled display of loyalty to do the right thing. They were correct. Working together for the greater good of humanity in the state of Alabama was indeed the right thing to do. I'm proud I was a participant. I'm glad I was reminded of what's truly important in life...right before our state (me included) immerse ourselves in the roller coaster ride of college football. I'll do my best to remember these young men are students, get sick, take tests, have nagging injuries, have children, lose parents, have no income, and have more pressure to perform than you could ever imagine. I hope you will too!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The "It's almost football season (thank God)" Post

Who would have thought in January that this offseason would be the most unenjoyable for this AU fan. You'd figure after a National title and a Heisman trophy, we'd be able to enjoy an offseason. Not so.

Brickbat after brickbat has been hurled in the direction of East Alabama, mainly aimed at Cam Newton. I get it, I guess. The most dominant season maybe ever by a college football player will draw the ire of the rest of the football world, especially when it's done with style and bravado. If Cam played for another team in the SEC last year, I wouldn't like him. He made SEC football look easy. He would run over, around and by you and then smile. You love the guy if he plays for your team. You hate him otherwise. I get that...I guess.

What I don't get is the other stuff. The HBO special trots out a collection of former Auburn malcontents such as Chaz "ski trip during back rehab" Ramsey, whohad a promising career, then needed surgery to correct a bad back, then went on a ski trip, then sued the trainer, the lost his lawsuit, and so on and so forth until HBO calls. Bone to pick much, Chaz?

Stanley McClover was the featured hitman of the story, who reportedly was given bags of cash, women, drugs, guns, purple drank, etc to play college football. If you have this in your DVR pay close attention in the story when he says he never cared to count the money the Auburn (and I am really beginning to hate this term) bagman gave him. It obviously contained monopoly money because when when you're given tens of thousands of dollars to play college football, you shouldn't have to bum rides from the punter. It came out later that HBO "donated" money to Stanley's favorite charity, which according to my unnamed sources is Stanley.

McClover's story is a sad one indeed. He ignored advice and came out early, only to discover he wasn't ready. He felt like Tubs didn't do enough or make enough calls to help him get drafted. In Tub's defense, he probably couldn't get a signal from his favorite duck blind in BFE Arkansas.

The Coup de Grace in all of the offseason mudslinging was only guy in my book who could knock Thayer Evans off of douche-bag mountain. Sports by Brooks,is apparentley living breathing proof that Facebook is now part of the journalism curriculum at Georgia. This guy jumps makes this association: Some AU Tigerettes are university employees, therefore all Tigerettes are prostitutes.

I don't want to rehash this too much because Brooks has been taken to the woodshed enough lately, but AU Tigerettes are unpaid and not on scholarship, except for the precious few who do manage to get jobs around campus, and yes, some occur in the athletic department. But if Brooks had one shred of decency, he would have pointed out this was the norm all over the conference. Thing is, he didn't.

All of this crap this offseason has been a downer for me. I told Rob the other day it makes me like college football less. I'm sure I will get over that as soon as the ball kicks off on Labor Day weekend.

Until then, I leave you with this little nugget I got from an unnamed source.