Tag Archives: Auburn football

Games of the Week: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

So far for the season, I’m fairing pretty well on the worst games of the week, where I have an undefeated record.  Of course, most of those games have been huge blowouts so it’s not much of an accomplishment on my end.  So far I am 5-4 on my picks but I plan on changing that this week.

I have to admit right here that I continue to underestimate God’s love for the Auburn Tigers (how else can you explain them) and once again they proved me wrong by beating a team that many had proclaimed to be vastly superior.  Cough, cough, including myself.  So in the spirit of giving, I am finally going to give the Tigers some love this week.  On to this week’s games of the week:

#21 Auburn at Clemson

Auburn continues to test fate and win

This game is mainly high on appeal because of the way that it went last year.  Clemson had a chance to shut up the “War Cam Eagle” chants pretty early on in the season but failed to do so.  This year Clemson has struggled against Wofford and beat Troy pretty handily.  The narrow win against Wofford, especially, doesn’t bode well for Clemson.

As for Auburn, as I mentioned, they obviously have some sort of deal with either God or the Devil considering the way that they are winning games during their current 17 game winning streak.  I have finally given in and will refuse to pick against them until they finally lose.

Pick:  Auburn 38  Clemson 31

Tennessee at #16 Florida

Tyler Bray will show no respect to the Gators defensive backfield

Before this season, this game had kind of lost its’ appeal in recent years.  Tyler Bray, however, has finally got Vol fans talking again and with good reason.  So far on the year Bray has a 78.5% completion rate with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions to go along with nearly 700 yards passing.  Pretty gaudy numbers for 2 weeks, no matter who you’re playing.  Bray has Tennessee buzzing and I’ve even heard some talk that he may be the best UT quarterback since Peyton Manning.  I’m not willing to go there yet but let’s give it some time and see how it turns out.

The Gators, on the other hand are quietly looking pretty solid so far this season.  Their defense has only given up 3 points on the season, albeit to Florida Atlantic and UAB, and the offense has looked good enough, as well.  Surprisingly, I think this game may actually have a chance to decide the East.

Upset Special:  Tennessee 24  Florida 17

Dry Games of the Week

Coastal Carolina at Georgia

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Pick:  Georgia 41  CC 10

North Texas at #2 Alabama

Look for Trent Richardson to finally break out this week

Bama continues their streak of making the picks column but twice it’s not been for the right reasons.  Yet again the Tide is playing a cupcake and yet again they will Roll by halftime.  Next week Arkansas and the beginning of true SEC play for the Tide.

Pick:  Alabama 45  North Texas 3

Advertisements

Games of Week 2: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

LSU showed them Ducks what SEC football is all about

Last week I went 2-2 in predicting our games of the week, although, I must admit that the two games I got right were actually our worst games of the week.  In what should be no surprise to any true fan of the SEC, the Georgia Bulldogs once again failed to live up to whatever hype they had entered the season with.  Boise State, a team with a good defensive front and a Heisman level quarterback (though I will point out he throws one of the weakest deep balls in football, but I digress), came in and thoroughly dominated the Bulldogs.  Other than a Brandon Boykin touchdown, Georgia mustered little if anything against the Broncos.

In another surprise (at least to me) LSU came out and played really well against what was supposed to be a championship caliber Oregon team.  LSU’s defense confused Oregon from the beginning and Jarrett Lee played just well enough in the absence of Jordan Jefferson, to get the Tigers the win.  LSU has cemented themselves squarely in the National Championship hunt with the win over the Ducks.  We can only hope that they and Alabama both show up undefeated to their early-November showdown.

On to this week’s games:

#3 Alabama at #23 Penn State

No joking, I hope that Paterno doesn't stand on the sideline in this one.

The Crimson Tide come into this game as the heavy favorites, led by their stingy defense but questions surrounding the quarterback situation have people questioning just how well Alabama fits into the National Title chase.  AJ McCarron is the logical choice to get the start after Phillip Sims did little to show that he was ready to be the starter in the game against Kent State.

Penn State also has a young quarterback in Rob Bolden, which could be an issue against Alabama’s experienced defense.  The Nittany Lions are coming off of a dismantling of Indiana State but that’s saying about as much as Alabama dismantling Kent State.

Pick:  Alabama 27  Penn State 9

#12 South Carolina at Georgia

South Carolina is coming into this game following a less than convincing win against ECU, in which their defense allowed 37 points.   I’m not really sure how much stock to put into the Gamecocks offense putting up 56 on ECU, either.

Don’t sleep on Georgia in this game, it has become pretty apparent that Mark Richt is sitting atop a very hot seat and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Bulldogs come out and play well for him.  I know that odds are I’m falling victim to exactly what I said earlier but I, for some reason, can’t shake the feeling that Georgia will come out fired up, considering that the East (and their coaches’ job) may very well ride on the outcome.

Pick  South Carolina 24  Georgia 31

Honorable Mention

#16 Mississippi State at Auburn

This

If this game was between this year’s Mississippi State team and last year’s Auburn team, then this may have been one of this week’s best games.  Unfortunately for the Tigers, it is not last year, as they proved last week against the mighty Aggies of Utah State.  If you require the greatest onside kick in the history of mankind to beat Utah State, your team better not be from the SEC, or I will make fun of you.  Mississippi State rolls in this one.

Pick:  Mississippi State 35  Auburn 14

Dry Games of the Week

New Mexico State at #14 Arkansas

Heaven forbid that the Hogs schedule a game within the first three weeks against someone other than the bottom dwellers of the NCAA.  This week New Mexico State, next week Troy.  Don’t test yourself too much over there boys.  Guess somebody’s gotta get their mind right for a trip to Tuscaloosa in two weeks.

Pick:  NMSU 10  Arkansas 49

Central Michigan at Kentucky

I’m pretty sure I just fell asleep thinking about what to write making fun of this game.  The only thing that could make it more interesting is if Jared Lorenzen came out of the stands weighing about 400 pounds and ran for 250.  And even then, it would be a stretch.

Pick:  CMU 14  Kentucky 21

-Sadler

Like what you see?  Follow us on Twitter @SEC_Dweller and “like” us on Facebook.

Players to Watch 2011: Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw

Upshaw is a menace in opposing teams' backfields

In 2011, the Alabama Crimson Tide will have a defense with several playmakers and possibly several All-Conference players in the mix.  Picking one of them as a player to watch is a difficult task.  Dont’a Hightower is the leader of the defense and the defensive backfield is loaded with possible first-round NFL talent but in our opinion, the player to watch on this defense is LB Courtney Upshaw.

As a junior in 2010, Upshaw made 11 starts at jack linebacker position, an extremely important position in Nick Saban’s defense, and recorded 52 tackles.  Upshaw has shown the ability to be an elite pass rusher off the end and makes his presence known in the backfield on a regular basis.  In 2010 he led the Crimson Tide with 14.5 tackles for a loss and also led the team in sacks with 7.  In the final two games alone, against Auburn and Michigan State, Upshaw recorded 15 tackles, 6 for a loss with 5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.

SEC QB's better get used to this

Odds are that once all is said and done, Alabama will have a defense ranked somewhere in the top 10 nationally and possibly in the top 5.  Upshaw will be a large part of whether the Tide is successful or not, as he will be one of the main pass rushing threats on this year’s defense.  Nick Saban himself talked at SEC Media Days about the fact that the team does not have that elite front line defensive lineman that they have had in years past, so Upshaw’s ability to attack the passer and cause mayhem in the backfield will be a huge key to the units’ success.

Like this article?  Check these others out:  South Carolina DB Stephon Gilmore; Ole Miss DE Kentrell Lockett

And follow us on Twitter for more posts and updates @SEC_Dweller

Players to Watch 2011: Auburn Safety Neiko Thorpe

Neiko Thorpe will be looked to for leadership on a squad that lost a lot from it's 2010 championship unit

The Auburn Tigers come into the 2011 season ranked #19 in the first AP Coaches Poll released yesterday, despite being the defending National Champions.  The reason behind this lack of preseason respect has been the much publicized lack of experience (which the Dweller discussed here) following the departure of several key players from last years championship run, due either to graduation or early entry into the NFL.

The defense alone lost such key players as Nick Fairley and Josh Bynes, two big reasons that the Tigers won the National Championship last year.  The 2011 Tigers need someone to step up and take on a leadership role on defense this year and that player needs to be Neiko Thorpe.

Thorpe has played since he was a freshman, having played both at corner and at safety for the Tigers.  In 2010, Thorpe recorded 64 total tackles with 0 interceptions or forced fumbles.  He saw drops in all three of those categories from his 2009 season when he recorded 84 total tackles, 1 forced fumble and 2 interceptions.

Thorpe is expected to move back to his natural position at safety in 2011, which hopefully for the Tigers will mean an improvement in production, as well.  The 2010 Tigers had issues in the defensive backfield and in order for that to improve, they need Thorpe to not only play well but to provide leadership to what is a relatively young and inexperienced defensive unit.

Public Service Announcement: Everyone in the SEC Hates You

Tennessee fans are just like every other SEC fan, they don't realize how much everyone hates them.

Here in SEC country we love our teams with unbridled passion. The kind that could get you arrested in most states. If you are reading this, chances are you are one of the proud and loyal fans of one of the conference’s esteemed universities. You probably attend as many games as your wallet and schedule will allow, decked out in your loves colors and singing her fight song with others, also proclaiming their love.

But there are other teams out there, they have plans of  blemishing your love with an ugly tally added to the loss column. These other programs have their own fans who profess to love these other schools as much as you love your own. They wear other colors, sing other songs, and have all manner of strange traditions before, during, and after games. These other schools and their fans bring about a whole different emotion.  Hate. Pure, unadulterated hate. “Don’t these other fans know how ugly those uniforms are?”, you might think.  “How can they not see how stupid they look with that cheer?”

But then it comes to your attention that the other fans hate you as well.  But why?  What could anyone possibly have against you and your fellow fans, and how could you not have known?

The good news is that it is not your fault. The reason you cannot see is because your love has made you blind. Your blindness keeps you from seeing your love as she truly is. The basement dwellers feel your pain and want to help you understand. That is why we have taken the time to let you know EXACTLY why your team and fellow fans suck.

In the following weeks we will go through every team to let their fanbase know what it is about them that makes the rest of the conference hate them. This should be fun and enlightening for everyone, but don’t get pissy or defensive when it is your teams turn. Just know that the dwellers do this not out of hate, but out of love. Love for our fans, and love for the greatest conference in the land.

Today we are going to start out by telling everyone from the Commonwealth of Kentucky just why it is that the rest of us hate you.  So stay tuned.

We Don’t Get No Respect: The Plight of the 2011 Auburn Tigers

Will Michael Dyer be able to fill the void left by Cam Newton?

It’s hard to imagine being in the position that the 2011 Auburn Tigers find themselves in heading into the 2011 season.  They are the defending National Champions, one of their players won the Heisman trophy and they dominated last years SEC Championship game in a way that hadn’t really been done before.  And yet, they are widely considered to be, at best, the fourth best team in their division.  Not their conference, their DIVISION.  It’s not very often that a team can win a National Championship and claim the (as Bill Simmons puts it) “nobody believes in us!!” factor.  Yet here they sit. . . .underdogs.

Auburn fans everywhere are up in arms about the lack of respect that their team is getting heading into the season.  I’ve heard anything from “we deserve to be in the top 10” to “we should be #1 until someone takes it from us”.  And honestly, only one of those claims is ridiculous.  Take, for example, the Alabama team from last year.  They were coming off a National Championship, had a Heisman Trophy winner, and had won comfortably in the SEC Championship game.  They were far and away the preseason pick to win the National Championship the following year, and even after an early loss to South Carolina they were still considered dark horses to make it the NC game until their loss to LSU.

What is it about this Auburn team that leads the entire nation to write them off just one season after they won it all?  Let’s look at some factors:

  1. They lost their Heisman winning quarterback Cam Newton to the NFL. Auburn fans will often site the losses that Alabama has coming into this season and question why they are deserving of high praise while the Tigers are brushed aside.  Make no mistake: no loss endured by the Tide is as significant as the loss of Cam Newton.
  2. They lost the heart and soul of their defense, Nick Fairley.
  3. They lost four senior offensive linemen.  In a conference that prides itself on stellar defense, the loss of experienced offensive linemen cannot be understated.

While there are plenty of reasons for the Auburn faithful to worry, there are some reasons for optimism as well. For one, they return what should be one of the better running games in the conference in Michael Dyer and Onterrio McCalebb, and while their offensive line is fairly inexperienced, it isn’t necessarily young.

All in all, the Tigers are sure to see a drop from their surprising 2010 season.  Unless there is a player hiding on the depth chart with the level of athleticism that Cam Newton had, it may be a tough year for the Tigers in what should be an absolutely loaded SEC West.  While I think that Auburn is being undervalued to a degree, I still have a hard time seeing them finishing ahead of Arkansas, Alabama or LSU in the division in 2011.

Rodney Dangerfield made the phrase “I don’t get no respect” famous but the 2011 Auburn Tigers are the ones shouting it from the mountain tops.  And they may have a point.

-Sadler