Have to get these out quick. Heading down to Gainesville in a couple of minutes.
Last Week: 4-1
MIAMI -24 duke
I'm picking the Hurricanes solely because this article is so awesome
ole miss/uga under 48
Two good defenses, two mediocre offenses, both may be flat after last week's games.
VIRGINIA -6 pitt
Clemson -3 GT
John Tenuta is fantastic at confusing quarterbacks. Clemson however doesn't know that the forward pass has been invented. Tigers ground game pulls out the important road win.
bama/fsu under 43.5
I think bama's offense was closer to their Vandy and UGA performances than their Arkansas game. FSU has been struggling for awhile.
Couple keys to the game for Auburn
- Protect the ball. Obviously, if turnovers hurt you against USF and Miss St, they are really going to hurt against Florida.
- Discipline on defense. Don't over pursue. Form tackle below the waist. Tim Tebow is a lot like Brandon Jacobs. You absolutely have to tackle him at the legs.
- You know that Tuberville is going to try a trick play at some point. It has to be at the right time. So if it fails the game isn't over. Unfortunately that's almost exactly what he's done in his last two trips to Gainesville. So let's don't try a onsides kick on the opening kickoff or better yet don't fake punt from inside our own 20.
I wish their weren't so many injuries on Auburn's defense. With a healthy linebacking corps, I think we have the speed to match up with Florida. On offense, they just need to figure out a way to manage 14 points to keep themselves in the thick of it. Then hope for a special teams or defensive score.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Have to get these out quick. Heading down to Gainesville in a couple of minutes.
Monday, September 24, 2007
The 2003 season started off with great expectations for Auburn. Coming off a strong finish to the 2002 season, the loaded backfield and always dependable defense were garnering national attention. Unfortunately, Bobby Petrino had left for Louisville and taken any intelligent offensive gameplanning with him. Tommy Tuberville promoted offensive line coach Hugh Nall to the coordinator job and brought in Steve Ensminger (who had been out of college for a few years) in as quarterback coach. The results were disasterous. The offense was completely inept and lead to early losses to USC and Georgia Tech. After the failed Jet-Gate experience and Iron Bowl victory, Tuberville was able to keep his job but he had to hire a new offensive coordinator.
If my memory serves, Rob Spence from Toledo, Shane Montgomery from Miami of Ohio, and Al Borges were all interviewed. I also remember Chris Petersen from Boise State being mentioned. Supposedly each candidate was brought in to interview with the entire Auburn offensive coaching staff. They went through the standard interview process and then were quizzed by the staff. They were asked what plays they would call in certain situations and how they would incorporate both Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown into the gameplan. At the time Spence, Montgomery, and Petersen were all offensive coordinators for top offenses in lower conferences. The little known Al Borges was currently at the helm of a bottom of the conference Indiana team. Unlike the other candidates who had gained national prominence, Borges was recommended to Tuberville by Kevin Yoxall the Tiger's strength and conditioning coach who had worked with Borges when he was the OC for the Bruins high octane offense that featured Cade McNown and Deshaun Foster. As the story goes, Borges blew away the other candidates in the scheming session and was given the job.
Most Auburn faithfull were less than excited and wanted to get an up and comer rather than a retread. At the very least, you'd could say that most fans were skeptical. As you know, Borges made all the right calls and guided a star studded offense to an undefeated season. In 2005 Borges had a less talented offense lead the SEC in total offense for a second straight year. However in 2006 the wheels came off. Possibly because of key injuries to key players, Auburn's offense sputtered but was able to still get 11 wins because of a great defense. However the offense was often out gained in those wins. Auburn's offense has been well below average again this year. There are definitely some personnel issues but there also appears to be a recurring theme of unimaginative play calling and sub-par performers.
Meanwhile let's take a look at Rob Spence who moved on from Toledo to take the OC job at Clemson. In 2004 they finished 8th in the conference in scoring offense, 5th in 2004, 1st in 2005, and they are currently first in the conference again. Spence has proven that he can use two running backs as we've seen James Davis and CJ Spiller carve up defenses the last two years. He's capable of producing the power running game that Tuberville demands and has shown he can get the ball to his athletic receivers. He was my choice at the time and at this point I'm torn on the decision to hire Borges.
On the one hand, you have the 2004 season that I will always cherish, and on the other hand you have the gradual decline of the offense that started with the 2005 bowl game against Wisconsin. There are basically two questions to be answered: 1) Could one of the other candidates also lead Auburn to an undefeated season? 2) Will Borges be able to turn the offense around next year with Kodi Burns behind the controls or even later on this year? For whatever reason, I'm saying that any other OC only manages a one or two loss season (that's if they were also able to convince Caddy and Ronnie to stay for their senior year, which is not a given). I'm probably guessing they may have openend things up too much in the LSU game and a turnover would have been the difference. But it also appears that Spence could have helped the program more over the last 2.5 years. He seems to create new plays to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. Borges on the other hand can't figure out a way to get any sort of passing game going to get the defenders out of the box.
To borrow a Borges explanation, I'm willing to put a large part of the blame on the "Jimmies and Joes" and not the "X's and O's". Besides Brandon Cox's regression, it's obvious that before this years freshman class we had seriously failed in our offensive line recruiting. Also a couple misses at wide receiver are glaring at the moment. However there is young talent that should be mature enough to put up some numbers in 2008. If he can't put together a potent offense next year it's time to make a change and get someone new in to get us ready for the inevitable 2010 title run.
After all of last year and especially the Fiesta Bowl, I also get the impression that Chris Petersen may have a good hire as well.
Friday, September 21, 2007
There are number of lines on the board that just seem too easy. Lot of people counting on emotional let downs or past history. Me? I just like to pick winners. Really I'm just excited that I actually get to sit down and watch games all day tomorrow. Tailgating is great, but it makes it almost impossible to watch another game in it's entirety. By the time I got to a tv last week, the task of switching my focus between three tv's was daunting. I was little drunk but I'm pretty sure the Louisville/Kentucky game was played without defenders on the field. It looked like NCAA or Madden when you run the practice mode to work on your timing.
Last Week: 3-2
Georgia Tech -3.5 VIRGINIA
Supposedly Tech hasn't won in Charlottesville since the 1990 national championship team. Which would be a stat that would scare me if Tech had beaten BC last week. Tech has a history of let down games (UVA two years ago) but that usually when their riding a winning streak. I look for a focused ground attack to run up some numbers on the Cavs. If Choice isn't playing i just expect Dwyer to get the job done.
WAKE FOREST -3 Maryland
With Riley Skinner questionable I understand this line. However I don't agree with it. Whoever Wake has under center will do enough to roll the lowly Terps.
Clemson -7.5 NC STATE
After two weeks of crushing cupcakes, the Tigers are ready to pounce (nice) in their road opener. NC State is awful. This is one of those games where the Wolfpack would have a better chance on the road. I think it's hard to overlook and opponent or look forward to next week when you play on the road.
Over 67.5 Arkansas and Kentucky
Arkansas proved last week they couldn't defend the pass and Kentucky proved they had no defense whatsoever last week. I think the sole fact that this is an SEC matchup is keep the total so low.
TROY -9 Louisiana LaFayette
Could this be a letdown game for Troy. They start of the season at Arkansas and Florida, return home to blister OkSt last Friday and now they have the Rajun Cajuns of Oohlaalaa coming to town. Every reason to come into the game flat. That being said, I think the spread should be 13. Eventually the Trojans will turn it around and pull out a 2 TD victory. (picking this game was a toss up with USF covering 13 at home against UNC)
Yikes. On the one hand you had the future of the offense on display as Kodi Burns, Ben Tate, and Mario Fannin racked up some yards. On the other hand, you have a loss to lowly Mississippi State. I don't know what to make of this team. If you play typical Tommy Tuberville ball the last two weeks, you probably are 3-0. But instead we got a little turnover crazy and sit 1-2 with a program in jeopardy. It was bound to happen, we played too many close games the last two years to not start dropping some because of ball bounces.
On the plus side, it looks like the defense is going to keep us in every game this year. So if the young talent on offense grows up, and the defense gets some better news on the injury front, Auburn has a chance to turn things around a little bit. Possibly grab two of the road games, and win out at home and you actually have a 8-4 season.
But none of that happens unless you build some confidence this week. The defense needs to believe the offense is good enough to give them a chance to win the rest of the season. You have to avoid having a total implosion. A 24 point victory this weekend would be the first step towards that.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I'm sure I've recommended it before, but College Gameday Final that comes on ESPN late on Saturday night, is absolutely essential viewing. It's the only place where you can see a plethora of highlights. Unfortunately, I haven't set up a season pass with my new DVR so I ended up missing it last week. I feel completely out of the loop. I have not seen one second of the Georgia/South Carolina game which I'm sure was fairly interesting. Anyways, watch Gameday Final, and if you're taping it, go with the 3am or 6am showing because the first showing is usually a partial recording because of a game running late. As for the regular Gameday, Gunslingers is still doing his weekly recap which I now find extremely more entertaining than the actual show. Plus you don't have to look at Buffalo Face for 90 minutes.
Last Week: 4-1
Texas -17.5 CENTRAL FLORIDA
Huh? The Longhorns are traveling to Orlando? What is up with this stuff? Oklahoma State at Troy, Minnesota at Florida Atlantic, who are these athletic directors that are agreeing to these games? I guess for Texas, Minnesota, and Maryland (who played at FIU last week) at least it's a trip to sunny Florida. I don't know what the Cowboys were thinking. Anyway, Texas has been struggling so far this year. So I don't expect them to win by 50, but this spread seems a little low. If this game was in Austin I think it'd be around 28-31 points. I get the impression that the Citrus Bowl isn't that imposing of a road stadium.
MISSOURI -20 Western Michigan
My pick of the year Missouri Tigers play their first home game of the year after road victories (and spread covers) at Illinois and Ole Miss. W. Michigan however got thumped by the Mountaineers in Morgantown and then lost to Indiana at home last week (seriously what's up with traveling to nobody schools?). Missouri puts up 40-50 in this one and I don't see the Broncos keeping up.
Georgia Tech and Boston College under 48
BC is averaging 37.5 points in their home victories over Wake and NC State. However the trip to Atlanta won't be as easy. Between John Tenuta's defense and the inevitable Chan Gailey conservative gameplan that'll rely on giving Tashard Choice 30 carries, I see this one being around 21-17. I think GT wins this one as well.
Texas-El Paso +5.5 NEW MEXICO STATE
I gotta be honest with you. I don't get this line. Other than it being a road game, everything points to the Miners being the favorite. Maybe they are a little banged up from playing Texas Tech last week? I couldn't find a report of any major injuries so I'm going with UTEP to extend their winning streak over NMST to four games and win me a little money.
MIAMI -33 FIU
Don't the Hurricanes have every reason in the world to come out and dominate this game. First of all you have the brawl last year in this game that was the absolute low point for Miami football. Then you have the thrashing at Oklahoma last week. Throw in a QB battle, and you've got a team with something to prove. And Florida International stinks. It's a big number, but I think Miami can cover.
Well the easiest way to sum up last week for Auburn is simply: 5 turnovers. It's just hard to win a game like that. The defense still looks nasty even though half the starters seem to be injured. The offense, sadly, needs to get back to the boring approach they had last year. Run the ball into the 8-9 man fronts, and make very safe passes until the line and wide receivers grow up and Brandon Cox gets his confidence back. This game seems like 20-3 for Auburn. Hopefully we'll get the chance to see the next step in Mario Fannin's rise to stardom. The fumbles were back breaking last week, but the way he runs with power is astounding. He's going to be a beast. Auburn has tons of talent, but most of it is young and inexperienced. I thought they could get through the first four games and then progress as the year went along. Unfortunately they hit a snag last week. The key now is to not get too down about that game, remember you still have a chance to win the SEC, and figure out how to score enough points to win some ballgames.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Possibly the funniest show on television, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, makes it's triumphant return tonight. There will be back to back episodes from 10-11pm EST on FX tonight. And maybe, just maybe, Charlie will go America all over everybody's ass.
Also, I found a site that has the complete list of tv broadcasts for college football games. Pretty sweet, and should come in hand when we attempt to set up DirecTv and the College Gameplan Package at out tailgate for the first time on Saturday.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I think I've only been to a handful of sports bars that I've found to be suitable places to watch a game. And really, it's not that hard. Here is my list of requirements for a sports bar.
- one gigantic television
- four games in view from every seat at the table
- The table should be able to have the channel changed on at least one tv if needed
- The audio for the main game should be played over the entire bar
- You have to have at least some sort of beer special. The chances of me drinking beer for 3-4 hours while watching games at $5/beer is not likely. Have some sort of bucket or pitcher special.
- I guess it's not a necessity but hot chick waitresses aren't a bad idea.
Of the places I've been to in Atlanta, I guess the new Taco Mac at Lindbergh/Piedmont comes the closest. Though I've had issues with them turning on the Hawks game before. I wish they had tv's in each booth or something. ESPN zone has most of the stuff but is a bit pricey and last time I went they had switched to HD.
from the brain of nixforsix at 4:16 PM
Friday, September 07, 2007
Well I'm really ashamed of my picks last week. The Auburn pick was dumb and I couldn't have known less about the NC State game. That being said, I was .5 point away from a winning week. And outside the blog picks, I took LSU on Thursday and Texas Tech on Monday to pull out a winning week. I feel like I have a little bit better idea about several teams this week so let's see how it goes.
Missouri -6 OLE MISS: The Rebels got out to an early lead last week with a blocked punt and pick six generating two of their three touchdowns. Then they held on for dear life to pull out the game. Even though they'll be back in the friendly confines of Vaught-Hemingway, I don't think they have the fire power to keep up with Missouri. Through two games, Mizzou is the value pick that America hasn't caught up with yet.
TENNESSEE -10.5 Southern Miss: Night game at Neyland after going across the country and putting up 31 points. I don't think the Golden Eagles will be intimidated but I also don't think they have enough talent to hang within 10 points. This looks like a 14-17 point victory for the Vols. I'm assuming the line is hanging around this number because Florida is coming up next week. I think that'd be more of the case if they hadn't played and lost to Cal this week. There's not much they can hide film wise at this point and they definitely aren't too cocky.
UCLA -7.5 Brigham Young Doesn't BYU sound like a 1-AA team when you call them Brigham Young. It's like I expect them to be facing off against Gardner-Webb or Robert Morris. Anyway, I chalking up the BYU victory last week up to Arizona sucking and home field advantage. I don't think they will have quite the same performance in the Rose Bowl. I'm not saying UCLA beat anything more than a suckass Stanford team last week, but at least they did it on the road. Pedigree wins out. Go Bruins. Actually, I'm only making this pick because of the Bruin Juggler
BOSTON COLLEGE -14 North Carolina State: I wish this line were 13.5. But really, the Wolfpack proved last week that they don't have any fight (god what an awful pick that was). If you can't beat Central Florida at home I don't have faith in your ability to win one for the Gipper against his old school. Looking at the score from last week you'd have to wonder about BC's defense giving up 28 to Wake. But actually the Deacons returned at touchdown and a fumble for a TD. I think BC takes better care of the fooball this week against lesser competition.
AUBURN -7 South Florida
I'm a little surprised this line hasn't moved this week. South Florida has no offensive line to speak of and it will definitely have an effect on the game. I forsee a plethora of turnovers. I think the Auburn offense has some of the jitters out of the way and takes advantage of good field position all day. What this game/spread comes down to, is how many points USF can hold Auburn to. I'm thinking 21-10 or something like that. Maybe three field goals for AU so it's like 23-13. It's not that Auburn is going to dominate this game as much as it's a silly line.
Last Week: 2-3
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I had some initial thoughts on Saturday night and then I finally got around to watching the entire replay. I usually shy away from completely dogging players on the Auburn message boards, but nobody reads this site, so I'm not as skiddish.
- Brandon Cox is never going to be great. He had a bad game Saturday. But he's definitely capable of being a winning quarterback. He needs to accept that it's ok to throw the ball away on occasion. He also seems to struggle after a long break from actual game action. Here's hoping he puts on a show Saturday.
- Gabe McKenzie is a stud. He might just wind up the 1st team SEC TE this year. He's just a beast.
- Unfortunately there is some info and game tape, assignments, checks, etc that I'm no privy to. But the play calling has seemingly dropped off in the past couple of years. If our offensive line is subpar and defenses are stacking the box on us, why aren't we throwing more slants and fades? It agonizing sitting in the endzone and getting the perfect view of one of our wide receivers having a db playing tight on him with no safety help in the vicinity. Only to have us run a half back dive or something similar. I would just check into a fade everytime until they change their philosophy. You're telling me James Swinton can't run a slant and go in a one on one situation? That's a little bit of an oversimplification. The bigger issue is that Tuberville and/or Borges are going to have to accept that they can't 60/40 or 50/50 run/pass for awhile. They are going to have to really push the passing game and abuse people until they start trying to defend us fairly. And we may have to throw a few interceptions or put the game in jeopardy to make it happen. I'm getting sick of hearing about winning games with defense and kicking. I understand there is a lot to be said for putting your defense in winning situations and playing field position. There is also something to be said for putting up points and keeping your defense off the field by sustaining drives.
- My last offensive gripe is our recent inability to get the ball into playmakers hands. Al Borges was hired mainly because during his interview he showed ways that he would get the ball to both Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. He went all of the last two years without getting Irons and Lester on the field at the same time. Now we're letting Carl Stewart take carries at tailback, sitting McKenzie, Fannin, and Swinton, and giving outside runs to Ben Tate who doesn't appear to have an elite burst.
- Speaking of Tate, I was bit hard on him Saturday. At some point he seems like he could be a very steady and reliable back that you could base and offense on. Maybe even get 1200 yards. But it's going to take some time and an adjustment in rushing philosophy. He's a lot more Rudi Johnson than he is Irons, Lester, or Carnell. He's gotta run downhill.
- I was very impressed with the defense. Kansas State basically stayed in this game because of two series. The opening drive of the game and the opening drive of the second half. In their first possesion the Wildcats used a drag route three times I believe before we realized we couldn't play straight man. In the second half we saw the absolute flurry of trick plays that ended up with a wide receiver throwing a touchdown pass to a running back who pretended to fall down. Other than those two series, Auburn pretty much shut them down.
- Auburn played the entired second half with three starters out due to injuries. When you can have that happen and only give up 13 points in the game, it's something to hang your hat on.
- If Quentin Groves isn't an All American defensive end, I'm not sure I've seen one before. He's almost single handedly won two of Auburn's last three games (bama and KSU).
- If the defense can get Blackmon, Wilhite, and Savage back they are going to be as nasty as advertised. They were on the verge of getting around 6-7 more turnovers. The box score shows Auburn having snagging three turnovers but only the fumble was significant. The end of the game interceptions were nice but not necessary.
- Florida coaches, players, and fans complained last year about Auburn using their sound system to create an unfair home advantage. And to some extent they are exactly right. For much of the game on Saturday the crowd was less than impressive. I think the fans still have it in them, but I also think it's going to take awhile. In this day an age I think people have forgotten how to make noise without being instructed to do so. It's going to take a couple of games to get reacquainted with getting pumped up by the band.
- All in all good times. Can't wait for the rest of the season.