Auburn Let Tommy Tuberville Leave on His Terms

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 9:48 PM | 1 comments »

Let us all just take a minute and absorb all the information that has been released in this turmoil on the Plains. Many articles have been written talking about the "knee-jerk" reaction that took place, but lets be logical for a second.

We all know Bobby Lowder and Co. did not like Tuberville. That fact is as well known as the sky is blue. We all know he took tons of heat for this past season, including an embarrassing loss to the Crimson Tide.

I was quick to judge last night as were most people. I had never been that angry about Auburn Football in a long time. I called up my cohorts in orange and blue, ranted and raved with them to find a way to scream, yell, and finally calm down.

Then came the press conference at 11 AM this morning. I was waiting to hear those words "We believed that the program would go in a different direction." I was ready to toss my chair at the computer.

I was surprised with what I heard and saw. When I watched the press conference, I saw Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs look as pale as ever. It looked like he saw a ghost. After watching it, my opinions changed dramatically.

Now I will say I am not that naive to believe everything Jacobs said, but there was something in his voice, his facial expressions, the way he looked. It was as he didn't want to be up there signifying the end of a great head coach.

Believe what you want, and say what you want to say, but here is my honest opinion:

I think for the most part, Tuberville knew he was not going to win this battle. The people with the money was drooling over his disastrous season. President Jay Gogue and Jacobs were getting pressure from those "fat cats" as BabyTate so eloquently mentioned in his article.

In the midst of this pressure though, Gogue and Jacobs were wanting Tuberville to stay. You look at Jacobs's face during the conference and tell me that he was lying about asking Tuberville three times to stay with the program. I'm not the best judge of character, but I know a man when his emotions are about to take over.

Instead of continuing to persuade Tuberville to come back, Jacobs realized the end was coming. Plus on the night before his resignation, Tuberville had a long chat with his wife Suzanne.

Now this is not all as bad as it sounds. Tuberville will remain in Auburn for at least a year, work under President Gogue, and get to spend time with his family. Not to mention the cool $5.1 million Tuberville will receive in the next year.

Tuberville dealt with all of the events in his tenure with class. I was honored to have met the man when I was just a bumbling college kid working for the University radio station. I got to see more than the average person ever would, and I'm thankful for that.

What will come of this, I do not know. I do know that to the extent of President Gogue and AD Jay Jacobs, they handled it the best way possible. Instead of dragging Tuberville through what would surely end up as a lame duck season, they let him get back to what was most important to him. That was Tuberville's family.

I don't know how many people feel this way, but I will miss seeing Tommy Tuberville on the sidelines. In my mind, he is the epitome of an Auburn man. That is why he was so successful.

Whoever is the new head coach, I only hope they follow the foundations Tuberville has set to grow young men into productive members of society. That is what college football is supposed to be about.

That is what Auburn football is supposed to be about.

Auburn-Georgia Preview

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 9:01 PM | 0 comments »

Rivalries take on a meaning of their own. Usually, there is a heap of bad blood between the two teams that make up the rivalry. In the 111 meetings between the Tigers and the Bulldogs, it is more than just a rivalry.

Sure there is the heat of the moment, the want of a win, but these two schools are much closer than just the 45 points that separates the two teams. This rivalry takes on more of a sibling rivalry, brother vs. brother.

It seems when college football was born, it was destiny that Auburn and Georgia meet. The friendship shared by Auburn coach Cliff Hare and Georgia coach Charles Herty back in the old days not only symbolized the bond between the two schools, but one of the reasons college football is big in the Deep South.

Many Auburn coaches were and have been former Bulldogs (Pat Dye as a famous example), and Bulldog coaches being former Tigers (Vince Dooley as a famous example). There is mounds of history between these two schools, and you could get lost in just reading up on the old news clippings and highlight reels.

However, all is not pleasant for both squads. Georgia (8-2) and Auburn (5-5) have fallen on hard times this season. Both teams were expecting to play each other again in the SEC Championship, but two key losses to Georgia and chaos that has ensued in Auburn have killed those expectations.

Georgia is looking to sweep its two rivals, and reach a New Year's Day bowl. Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are Georgia's "one-two" offensive punch that leads the SEC in total yards per game. They are looking to make it three-in-a-row over the Tigers.

Auburn is hoping to win to become bowl eligible. With Tony Franklin's firing, inconsistant scoring, and injuries abound, it has been nothing short of a rough year for the Tigers. There are many questions swirling around, but one thing is for sure. The players will be focused in on this first part of "Amen Corner."



Auburn will win if...

Kodi Burns emerges as an all-around threat

Kodi Burns took the game into his hands last weekend against UT-Martin. He ran for 158 yards, and threw for 130. He can change this game into Auburn's favor quickly if Georgia allows him to get into space. If he gets help from any of his running backs (Brad Lester, Ben Tate, Mario Fannin, and Tristan Davis), it will be a sign of good things to come.

Auburn stops the run

Auburn's biggest problem, most likely due to injuries, is stopping the rushing attack of SEC teams. It will be easier said than done with Knowshon Moreno coming into town. With the return of Sen' Derrick Marks, Antonio Coleman, and Tez Doolittle from injury, the defensive line will be as healthy as it has been in weeks.



Auburn will lose if...

Georgia's offense takes off

Matthew Stafford has picked apart Auburn two years in a row. It could easily be said that he will do it again to the injured secondary of Auburn. Add A.J. Greene and Knowshon Moreno into the mix, it could end up a very long day for Auburn if the Bulldogs get off quick and do not let up.

Auburn does not execute plays

The biggest problem for the Tigers has been just simple execution of plays. Auburn's offense will get on a roll, then either a penalty or a turnover will throw off the team's rhythm. If Auburn cannot execute against Georgia's defense, then it will be a familiar outcome for the team in orange and blue.



The X-Factor

Virgil Starks

Many of you may not realize who Virgil was, but he was close to all of Auburn's student-athletes. Virgil Starks was Auburn's Senior Associate AD for Student-Athlete Support Services. He made sure that the player's academics and well being was looked after. Auburn will be wearing a sticker with Stark's initials on the back of their helmets.

With all the turmoil that has happened to this team so far, this will be a rallying point for the players. And for a rivalry that is already unpredictable, this only adds fuel to the fire.



Prediction:

It is pretty obvious that Auburn will have to play a complete game to win. It may not take a perfect game, but they have to play four quarters and achieve some consistency.

Georgia will score points; there is no doubt about that. It may come down to containing Matthew Stafford and the Bulldog offense to achieve victory.

The realistic prediction: Georgia 31, Auburn 17

Georgia should be able to move the ball against Auburn's limping defense. Moreno may not have to have a 100-yard game to win due to Stafford's ability to pick apart secondaries.

This Auburn Fan's optimistic prediction: Auburn 24, Georgia 20

If Georgia commits turnovers like they have in their two losses, Auburn should be able to take advantage of these turnovers. It will all depend on Auburn playing their best game of the year to date.



For Auburn fans, the hope of the season lies in this first game of "Amen Corner." Let it be said that anything can happen, especially when Georgia and Auburn meet on the field.

Auburn Sports Update: 10/26/08

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 7:33 AM | 0 comments »

I apologize for the lack of posts in recent days. My work has taken over a lot as of late and I am currently on vacation, but there are some highlights to be thought of in Auburn sports this past week:

Women's Soccer:
Auburn got a crucial win over Georgia last Thursday night. Auburn now faces Tennessee today on the Plains.

Golf:
The women are fourth at the Auburn Derby Invitational. Candace Schepperle is the top Tiger player, seven strokes off the individual leader.
The men were plagued by bad weather and inconsistent play on the back nine, falling to 12th at the Ridges

Tennis:
Alex Haney and Melissa Koning are both in the Round of 16 at the ITA Regionals at the University of Georgia. Michel Monteiro moved to the semifinals at the Crimson Tide Fall Classic, but then was eliminated. Hunter Mills and Alex Petropoulos were in consolation play. Petropoulos will play in the consolation finals today.

Baseball:
The Fall World Series classic is tied 1-1. Grant Dayton got the win on the mound for the blue team, pitching five shutout innings. The rubber game will be played today.

Keep checking back for more updates, including the previews for the men's and women's basketball seasons.

WAR EAGLE!

Patience Is Needed On The Plains

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 5:16 PM | 0 comments »

Patience. Its a word that many understand but have trouble using. It's even tougher for those that live in the South when it comes to college football. Patience is a very thin line between satisfaction and discontent.

For Auburn fans, many, including myself, are not pleased with what has transpired this season thus far. This was supposed to be a team vying for the SEC West. This was supposed to be set up well for Auburn to go to the SEC Championship. None of this has happened.

Seven games in, Auburn is out of the SEC West race. They are a team that does not know who they are. Last week's loss to Arkansas proved all what I have written so far.

Even though the situation is grim, Auburn fans need to have patience. It is true we are out of the SEC West race, but that does not mean we are done for this season.

In last week's game, I saw a team that looked like it was out on the field for the first time. Yes, the offense was bland, and it gave another dismal performance. I saw something in that game though that I wonder if anyone else took notice.

I saw a team that was trying to get it together.

Think of it this way dear readers, with all that has gone on so far this season, no one on the team has really gotten a chance to settle into the offense. Last week, Auburn was trying out things to see where they are comfortable doing.

Some things worked, and some things didn't. At the end, they almost came back to win the game. To me, this Auburn team is just now starting the season. The problem was it came against a SEC team.

I'm being optimistic I know, but people who have at least followed Auburn in the past few years know that the guys on the team are talented. So I recommend a few things to my fellow members of the Auburn family:

1. Stay calm.

Yes the panic is abundant, but lets not have it take over the season. Auburn still has five games left. Auburn has a good shot at making a bowl game.

2. Forget what Alabama is doing.

Bama is getting their time in the spotlight again. Let them get their limelight. They still have a ways to go as well. Remember, they haven't accomplished what they set out to do this season until they finally beat Auburn.

3. Minimize/Stop the booing.

I've written an article about booing Auburn.

4. Tuberville has been in this situation before.

Remember 2001 when a hapless Alabama team with only four wins beat Auburn in Jordan-Hare? Remember 2003 when Auburn was supposed to win it all? Tuberville has been on the hot seat before, and he's managed to pull it out. Don't count him out just yet.



Here's my final word. Don't give up on these players. Don't give up on the coaches just yet. There are five games left. I have a feeling that something is on the horizon. Only time will tell the fate of the 2008 season.

This Week's Picks

Posted by The Outsider | 3:13 AM | 0 comments »

3-3 two weeks ago, life kept me away from picking last week.

As far as Tony Franklin's firing, I think the most succinct way to sum up my feeling is: IF Tommy Tuberville felt that the offense wasn't going to improve this season, AND that the risk-reward factor for the next several seasons wouldn't improve the offense exponentially, then he made the right move. Get back to what you do well on offense and, most importantly, RECRUIT with that mindset. If this was a knee-jerk reaction to a loss to Vanderbilt and rough performances against Tennessee and Mississippi State, then you have every reason to be worried.

With that, here are the picks:

Oklahoma 27 (-7)
Texas 17

East Carolina 27 (-6.5)
Virginia 20

**LOCK OF THE WEEK**
Tennessee 13
Georgia 34 (-12.5)

Arkansas 7
Auburn 24 (-16.5)

Iowa State 28
Baylor 37 (-5)

Oklahoma State 38 (+14)

Missouri 51

LSU 23 (+6)
Florida 27

UCLA 20
Oregon 52 (-19.5)

Twenty-four hours removed from the chaos that covered the Plains and we now are getting a clearer picture of what was really going on behind the scenes. Some fans are glad about this move, others are wondering why so soon. Some fans are rejoicing, others are scratching their heads.

One thing that is for certain: This is not look for Auburn's program.

Now let me set the record straight. I am neither a Tony Franklin fan, nor am I a fan of the spread offense. I am old fashioned when it comes to football. I like to see the running game set up the passing game. That is just my preference, but what happened in Auburn yesterday does not look good for the program on all accounts.

From a program standpoint, this continues the discontinuity at offensive coordinator that has been seen for more than a decade. In the short term, this maybe was the right thing to do. Reports have been coming in that Franklin and other offensive assistants (RB Coach Eddie Gran, WR Coach Greg Knox, OL Coach Hugh Nall, and now play caller and QB coach Steve Ensminger) were butting heads about philosophy and the direction of the offense. The last thing a head coach needs is infighting between his assistant coaches.

But looking a bit further into the future, this was the worst possible thing that could happen. Even though some recruits have said they will wait and see what will develop as far who will be the next offensive coordinator, one has to believe that a few will be looking elsewhere to play college football. The hype and grandeur that the spread brought to the Plains was translating into the recruiting world. This is what Tuberville was looking for when he first hired Franklin. Now, at least on the offensive side, that is all in question.

Now let us look at the situation from a common sense standpoint. Firing a guy only six games, seven if you want to include the Chick-fil-a Bowl, into his first season as offensive coordinator is down right inconceivable. I understand that the philosophies of the coaches were at opposite ends, but give the man a chance to do what he is capable of doing. Franklin was on his own little island at Auburn. He was really never given the chance to do what the spread was capable of doing.

All that being said, in hindsight, it was not as shocking as it could have been. Regardless on how the season turns out, this is a black eye to the Auburn football program. This will probably be known as Tuberville's first "slip-up" in ten years as head coach. The only way that this incident will go under the rug is if Auburn wins out the rest of the season. The recruiting will be another issue down the road.

What also can be said is that Franklin was not a good fit for Auburn in the first place. This maybe the best thing for both parties. Franklin can go pursue other opportunities, while Auburn can focus on hosting the Razorbacks this Saturday.

Only time will tell what will happen to this team. Two things are for sure though. The season is not over, and Auburn can still make a season out of this. It is time for the team and the fans to focus back onto football. We do have a game at Jordan-Hare this weekend.

Stand By...

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:39 PM | 0 comments »

As most of you know, Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin was fired this afternoon. Many reports and opinions have been posted on several other sites. We at Tigers Source believe that all of these articles are reactionary and without proper consideration. We will respond to this situation with two, possibly three, posts on the site tomorrow. We believe this situation requires thought and time to bring you, the reader, the clarity you expect from us.

Again, we will post our analysis at some point tomorrow. Thank you and War Eagle!

Football betting is huge! No one can argue with that. But, since there are a few different football leagues on which you can bet on, there is some controversy on which league is most profitable to bet on, which league is easiest to pick winners, which offers the best football odds, which league offers the most online betting opportunities, etc. Today, we are going to examine some of the differences in betting between the NFL, NCAA football and to a smaller extent, the CFL.

NFL is king when most people think about sports betting. More money is bet on NFL games than any other football league by a large margin. So, it should be obvious that if you want to make money betting on football, you should focus on the NFL. This is generally a valid statement, as many of the big money gamblers bet on the NFL exclusively. But, there are a few issues. First, since NFL betting activity is so high, the people who set the football odds and come up with the lines generally don’t offer good odds or set the spread very close. Since there are so few teams (compared to the NCAA) the odds makers spend more time studying each team and know more about each team. This means that the chance for everyone to win is higher, but that also means that your edge is minimized.

NCAA, on the other hand, is a little bit different. First, you are dealing with younger kids, not professionals, and they can sometimes be inconsistent. They are obviously not as skilled as NFL players, and sometimes can crack under pressure. Also, since there is no NCAA draft and players are recruited by coaches, teams can be more unbalanced and stronger players can really take over the game. Couple that with the fact that NCAA teams are not as heavily studied by odds makers as NFL teams and the spreads are usually a little bit looser, and NCAA football seems like a pretty good betting opportunity.

Lastly, there is the CFL. This is a smaller league, with not as many teams, not as many bettors and the players aren’t as skilled. Generally speaking, the CFL is not a good betting opportunity. There are too few opportunities and the betting information available is subpar compared to the NFL and NCAA.

So, back to the original question… what is the best football league to bet on? Well, to me, it is a tossup between the NFL and NCAA. The NCAA offers more opportunities because there are more teams and more games, and is arguably easier to successfully handicap, but NFL has the most money and play, and it is where the best bettors prove themselves. If you want to bet on football, it is probably a good idea to bet on both. Most bookmakersoffer the chance to bet on both, so why not give it a shot? There’s nothing to lose!

Auburn vs. Vanderbilt Preview

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 7:40 PM | 0 comments »

OVERVIEW

Auburn Tigers 4-1 (2-1) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores 4-0 (2-0)


Location: Vanderbilt Stadium

Time: 5 p.m. CDT

TV: ESPN

VANDERBILT COMMODORES


Head Coach:
Bobby Johnson (7th Season)

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Key Players to Watch: QB Chris Nickson, RB Jared Hawkins, WR Sean Walker, S Ryan Hamilton, S Reshard Langford


The Commodores have surprised many people, including myself, this season. Many are wondering if this is finally the time Vanderbilt turns it around. With Chris Nickson improving during the season, capitalizing on turnovers, and an NCAA leading 11 interceptions by their defense, its easy to see why they are in the position that they are in.



AUBURN TIGERS

Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville (10th season)

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Key Players to Watch: QB Chris Todd, RB Ben Tate, WRs Montez Billings and Robert Dunn, The Auburn Defense.

All the attention has been on Auburn's offense and what can be done to get it going. While it has been inconsistent, it has shown some glimpses of being productive. Course when you have a top notch defense, ugly games or not, wins still count as wins.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

This top twenty matchup will feature these aspects:


Quarterbacks: Vanderbilt

Chris Nickson has shown improvement over time at Vanderbilt. He is definitely the leader for this offense. Auburn has yet to find a leader.

Running Backs: Even

The dual threat of Nickson and Jared Hawkins gets the 'Dores over 200 yards rushing per game. Ben Tate is the man getting most of the carries at Auburn. Brad Lester will be back to play this game to help with the load. Its even here cause Auburn has more depth than Vanderbilt.

Wide Receivers: Even

Vanderbilt does not pass it much, but when they do it is effective. Sean Walker is Nickson's go-to guy. Auburn's depth is better at WR, but has showcased its talents sparingly during the season.


Offensive Line: Vanderbilt

There is a reason Vandy has over 200 yards per game this season. It starts up front. Auburn's OL is still looking for answers.

Defensive Line:
Auburn

Vanderbilt's DL is nothing to sneeze at, but the quartet of Antonio Coleman, Tez Doolittle, Sen'Derrick Marks, and Michael Goggins is possibly the best starting four in the conference.

Linebackers: Auburn

Patrick Benoist and Chris Marve are first and third on the team in tackles respectively. They know who has the ball on the field. Auburn has the luxury of substituting out LB's at will and do not suffer a drop on talent.

Defensive backs: Even

Both teams have excellent secondaries. Ryan Hamilton leads the 'Dore secondary with three interceptions. The team has eleven interceptions total. Auburn, while not having as many interceptions, has great playmakers that break up passes. Jerraud Powers leads this group of DBs.

Special Teams: Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt gets the nod here cause of Bryant Hahnfeldt's perfect season for field goals this season. Both teams have great punters and return-men.


Coaching: Even

Bobby Johnson and company are smooth sailing right now. Tuberville and crew are sailing on some rough waters.

Intangibles: Vanderbilt

This is Vandy's biggest game so far this season. All the pressure is on Auburn, and the spread offense will be shelved for something else this game. Plus the Commodore fans will be up for the game after getting their fill of College GameDay during the morning.



FINAL ANALYSIS

As much praise as Vanderbilt has gotten this season, the reason they have won games is because of capitalizing on turnovers. Statistically, Vandy is dead last in the SEC for yards per game on both offense and defense. Teams have managed to gain decent yardage on the 'Dore's defense. Auburn has been successful in getting what is needed and letting the defense run the table. Another ugly game ensues, with the Tigers winning another close game.

Final Score:

Auburn 14, Vanderbilt 10

Offense: The offense struggled mightily against Tennessee, scoring only 7 points on 226 total yards. Both quarterbacks played, and both, were mostly ineffective. Exchanges under center, a new wrinkle put in just this week, were sloppy, once resulting in a fumble. The offensive line was once again ravaged by penalties. They were not able to create space for the running game, though I though they did better in pass protection this week.
Chris Todd's arm is hurt. Everyone knows that now. He may know the offense, and he may make better decisions then Kodi Burns, but his arm can't back-up those decisions. The result: Dangerous, floating passes that take forever to get to the receiver, if they get there at all. Unfortunately, what everyone also knows now is that Kodi is not the magic running back that everyone believed him to be whilst he rode the bench. He both ran and threw the ball with very limited success. Suddenly, an Auburn team that was supposed to have two good quarterbacks doesn't appear to have any.
Okay, now that we have laid out the cold dreary facts, take a deep breath, exhaling slowly. I will now remind you of three things that seem to have been forgotten. (1) Auburn won the game. In an era where style points are too often considered more important than real points, it's easy to forget that the object of a football game is to win, period. Ugly or not, mission accomplished. (2) Chris Todd made a great throw for a touchdown pass in the first quarter. I was sure his arm had healed and that all his promise was going to come true before my eyes. It didn't happen, but it showed what promise is there. If his arm ever gets healthy, he's going to be good. (3) Kodi Burns and the Auburn offense made two very clutch plays. The first came on his first series, on a third down play. He escaped a tackler in the backfield, escaped another, scrambled right, and hit Robert Dunn with a bullet pass for a first down. The second came with two minutes left in the forth quarter. Auburn had the ball at their own 10, 3rd and 5. They needed a play to clinch the game. They got it. Burns to Billings. Ten yards, first down. Ball game. Yes, Auburn's offense was not good this day; but in my book, clutch is worth some bonus points.
(D+)

Defense: The defense did not play their best game. Tennessee, especially Jonathan Crompton made life easier for them. But this was a really gutsy performance by this defense. Every time the offense failed to score, heck, failed to more the ball even into decent field position, there was the defense, holding back the tide, forcing another punt. They wavered only once, and that possession started via turnover. I curve for turnovers. The defense got a lot of credit for this win, and they deserve every bit of it.
(B+)

Coaching: I'll not issue a grade, but I will say that this game is evidence that Tommy Tuberville is not afraid to enforce his will upon the offense. The spread changed. Kodi Burns played. These were Tuberville's decisions. Were they immediately successful? Maybe. We don't really know if an unadulterated Franklin spread, in which Chris Todd played the whole game, would have delivered a win for the Tigers. And Tuberville believes in winning; the uglier, the better.
(-)

The Fans: I have been trying to teach a girl I know about football. She doesn't understand the concept of screaming your head off at the stadium. I explained to her that I don't yell and cheer for the sake of revelry. I do it to help the team: to energize them, to make it difficult for the opposing offense to hear their signals, to be a part, in some minute way, of the struggle for victory. And what would she have heard, had she turned on this game to see if what I said was true? Booing.
(Automatic F-)

Tiger Histalmos has written some eloquent words on this matter (scroll down to read them), but let me add a few more. I have had quite enough of the fair-weather Auburn "fans." If you are one of those people who would be rooting for Alabama had not Auburn been consistently better in recent years, I have an offer for you. I will buy you an Alabama hat right now, just to make you go away. You frat boys and others whose loyalties are based on wins and losses: I'll buy the keg and host the party, just to keep you out of my stadium. I want all of you wretched scoundrel who boo my team to go away and never come back.

We root for this team because we love Auburn. That's not just a university I name, but a spirit and an ideal, defined by the Auburn Creed. Those of you who wish to repent, start by reading that Creed, and remind yourself of what makes Auburn special. The rest of you foolish, lost souls, have your one-way tickets ready. The line for hats forms to the right, kegs on the left.

A Warning to Fair-Weather Auburn Fans

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 7:40 PM | 0 comments »

I cannot tell you how angry I was when I heard the most disgusting noise in the world directed to Chris Todd and the Auburn Tigers.

I was at the game when the boos rang out at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but it was not directed at Tennessee. Instead it was meant for one of our guys.

Again, I was angry. This is not the first time this has happened, but I never want to hear it. It just shows how the fair weather fans have made the game too serious and do not realize what those young men do to play on Pat Dye Field.

Most of these kids are 18-21 years old. I know I could never do what the players do on that field each time out. I do not care if we are winning by one or two points each time out.

Heck, I don't even care if we lose big each time out. Those guys play their hearts out each and every snap. That's all you can ask from them every game.

Now, if I could address the fair-weather Auburn fans directly, I have something to say to you.

Auburn is not the most perfect place in the world (though it is darn near close), but it is our place. It is our home. True Auburn fans hold themselves to a better standard than booing the team.

Winning is the point of the game, but there is so much more to a football program than winning. Forget what the school on the other side of the state is doing, and concentrate on supporting the young men in the blue jerseys.

I have been through the highs and the lows in my years of following Auburn football. I will still bleed orange and blue until the day I die. My allegiance will not falter with how a season goes. I will support the team in any way possible. I realize there is much more to the team than just winning games. I saw this first hand when I was sports director at WEGL.

One more item I want to chew on with the fair weather Auburn fans. We have something called The Auburn Creed. It lays out the beliefs of true Auburn men and women. One line touches home when turmoil happens:

I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.

As far as football is concerned, be the first one to lend support for those guys. Don't be the first to criticize. Auburn players and fans in the past went through some tough times. Be thankful that we haven't had those times for quite a while.

I'll say it before, I'll say it again, and I'll say it until I die.

I SAID IT'S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER!

This Week's Picks

Posted by The Outsider | 5:09 AM | 0 comments »

4-2 last week, hit on my lock of the week. Maybe I'm hitting my stride?

First off, the AU-UT game is a very easy one to breakdown. I told Tiger this week that I felt two teams could not be as evenly matched as AU and LSU are now and were last Saturday night. They are two of the best teams in the country, and if they played 10 times I guarantee it would be 5-5 or, at worst, 6-4 in favor of one side.

Tennessee has been embarrassed in their opener against UCLA, dominant at home against UAB (pfft) and absolutely humiliated by the Gators. There was nothing last week that showed me they can hang with the Tigers on the road, and the 6.5 point spread seems low with the improvements the AU offense made last week.

Of the SEC games this week, this is the easiest to call. In fact, I'm going to make this my lock of the week (I've hit my last two).

** LOCK OF THE WEEK **
Auburn 23 (-6.5)

Tennessee 10

Elsewhere...

Purdue 31 (+1)
Notre Dame 17


Virginia Tech 20
Nebraska 30 (-7)


Colorado 24
Florida State 35 (-4.5)


Nevada 17
UNLV 27 (-4)


Marshall 20
West Virginia 52 (-17)

Prediction

Posted by The Outsider | 1:56 AM | 0 comments »

Mark my words, one of these five teams will finish undefeated and play for the 2008 BCS National Championship:

South Florida
Wisconsin
Winner of BYU/Utah
Wake Forest

And all of a sudden the door is WIDE open for any one-loss team. That means you, Auburn.

Progress Report: Auburn vs LSU

Posted by AUBurns | 3:48 PM | 0 comments »

Offense: Chris Todd had his best game of the year. He made several big throws, including the go-ahead touchdown late in the game, and he actually ran the football for good yardage. The receivers also had their best game: several fine catches, and many times when they were wide open. The offensive line had their worst game. The running game had trouble getting going, and Todd was subjected to big-time pressure at critical moments. Yes, LSU was the best defensive front Auburn has seen so far; indeed, they are the best defensive front Auburn will see for until the Georgia game. Try telling that to Hugh Nall.
(D+)


Defense: The best defensive play Auburn made was Gabe McKenzie's interception and return for a touchdown. "Hey Coach Franklin, who says I can't catch the football?" (not an actual quote). Tommy Trott was one of the first to congratulate him. Nice moment.
The worst defensive play Auburn made occurred when Jaroud Powers knocked Andrew Hatch into la-la land. Up to that point, Auburn had the LSU offense contained and Jaret Lee was not going to change that. Suddenly, with Hatch no longer breathing down his neck or looking over his shoulder, Lee came alive. Sigh, that's football. Good play for Jaroud, crummy result for Auburn.
When Lee came in, Auburn wasn't able to get enough pressure to stop a quarterback who was completely in the zone. Tom Brady thought Jaret Lee made great plays (joke). Defensive backs can only do so much; you have to have an effective pass run to stop a quarterback like that. It also behoves you, as a defense, to not give up a long touchdown on a halfback pass. Yes, it was perfectly executed, but as a general rule, that is the kind of thing that happens to other defenses, not yours.
But most demoralizing of all was the was the way LSU's running game and Charles Scott wore down the Auburn defense. On all of those 5+ yard runs Scott had, Auburn had hands on him from the line of scrimmage up to the point when he finally wen down. Yes, I know Scott is a beast. Try telling that to Paul Rhodes.
(C-)

Special Teams: This was simply our worst special teams performance this year, and I hope we don't have a worse one. The punting was not good, and the punt return was non-existant (the latter requiring credit to a good LSU punter and coverage team). The kicker (sorry) here was the onside kick. You simply cannot allow any team, much less a team as good as LSU, get an onside kick like that. Yes, the defense made LSU go three-and-out, which was magnificent work considering they had just given up a touchdown. Nevertheless, a major shift in field position occurred from which the offense did not recover; at least, not until after LSU had put another three points on the board. Auburn, of course, had no reason to expect an onside kick at that moment. Try telling that to Eddie Gran. (Besides, does "unexpected" ever apply to Les Miles anymore?)
(F)

Coaching: I'm not going to include this section in my progress reports anymore. I realized after this game that I don't really analyze in-game decisions, and this spot in the post would simply degenerate into a discussion of whether or not Tony Franklin's decision to let Chris Todd play to whole game was good one. I think I know why Tony (and Tuberville) made that decision, and I may explain my view in a later post. I'm not going to tell you that we would have won if Kodi Burns was playing, and I'm not interested in throwing Chris Todd, Tommy Tuberville or Tony Franklin under the bus because we lost.
(-)

This Week's Picks

Posted by The Outsider | 6:14 PM | 0 comments »

4-4 last week, hit on my lock of the week with Mizzou destroying Nevada. And, to be fair, I picked the OSU game before Beanie Wells was announced as out.

Obviously the marquee game on this week's schedule is Tiger Bowl 2008. I'll be straight...I'm going with Auburn. But if you think about betting this game, breakdown the quarterback situation for both teams as deeply as you can.

Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee VS Chris Todd and Kody Burns. There's your deciding factor.

I think the lines for both teams are as evenly matched as two units can be. LSU, however, has played Appy State and North Texas. Auburn, on the other hand, has played a living, breathing SEC team in Mississippi State. Will Les Miles have has team ready to jump from D-level to A-level competition? If Auburn takes advantage of this, they could get a lead in the first quarter, perhaps an insurmountable one. In this game, 10 points could be insurmountable.

Auburn 17 (+2.5)
LSU 9

Elsewhere...

Wake Forest 27 (+4)
Florida State 24

Rutgers 30 (-6)
Navy 17


***LOCK OF THE WEEK***
Miami (FL) 20 (-4)
Texas A&M 6

Tulsa 55 (-10.5)
New Mexico 37

Georgia 34 (-7.5)
Arizona State 26

Auburn-LSU Preview

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:13 PM | 0 comments »

OVERVIEW

LSU Tigers 2-0 (0-0) vs. Auburn Tigers 3-0 (1-0)


Location:
Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium

Time: 6:45 p.m. CDT

TV: ESPN2



LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Les Miles (fourth season)

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Key Players to Watch: QBs Andrew Hatch and Jarett Lee, RB Charles Scott, WRs Brandon Lafell and Demetrius Byrd, S Harry Coleman and DB Chris Hawkins.

LSU has played two games, both winning convincingly over App. State and North Texas. The team has gone through problems with Hurricane Gustav in Baton Rouge. The Bayou Bengals have not won in Jordan-Hare since 1998.



AUBURN TIGERS

Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville (10th season)

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Key Players to Watch: QB Chris Todd, RB Ben Tate, WRs Montez Billings and Robert Dunn, The Auburn Defense.

Auburn comes off a 3-2 victory over Mississippi State in where 12 penalties and 3 turnovers kept the game close with the Bulldogs. Auburn does have home field advantage, which has been the difference in close games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The Battle of the Tigers will feature these great matchups:


Quarterbacks: Even

Andrew Hatch and Jarett Lee are two new quarterbacks that are feeling their way into the offense. They have yet to see an SEC defense. Chris Todd for Auburn struggled last week in consistancy, but did manage decent numbers.

Running Backs: Auburn

Charles Scott is definitely one of the best of the SEC. So is Ben Tate. Auburn gets the slight edge in this matchup with more depth.

Wide Receivers: Even

Brandon Lafell and Demetrius Byrd are two cornerstones for the LSU offense. Auburn has effectively spread the ball amongst other players, making it dangerous when the offense clicks.


Offensive Line: LSU

This matchup would be even if Auburn did not commit so many mistakes on the Offensive Line last week. LSU gets the slight edge here, and have allowed only one sack this season.

Defensive Line: Auburn

Both Defensive lines are very good. Auburn gets the slight edge here due to their consistancy in harrasing opposing quarterbacks. Plus seven sacks in three games is nice as well.

Linebackers: Auburn

Again the linebacker corps for both teams are very good. Auburn's linebackers (Tray Blackmon, Merrill Johnson, Craig Stevens, Chris Evans) have more tackles this season, and have been more explosive.

Defensive backs: Even

Both teams have exceptional secondaries. Harry Coleman, Chris Hawkins, and Phelon Jones are the top tacklers for LSU, while Jerraud Powers, Zac Etheridge, and Walter McFadden top the Auburn secondary in tackles

Special Teams:
Even

Auburn has been somewhat inconsistent with field goals, while LSU has had trouble with punting. Both teams have explosive punt returners (Trindon Holiday for LSU, Robert Dunn for Auburn

Coaching: Even

Both coaches know how to win big games. This game is always big, and each coach has had their ups and downs with this series.




FINAL ANALYSIS


Expect nothing less but another knock-down dragout battle for the SEC West crown. A coin flip may have a better chance of predicting this game. One thing does stand out though, Auburn is playing inside friendly confines.

Final Score:

Auburn 7, LSU 6

Words of Encouragement

Posted by AUBurns | 4:48 PM | 0 comments »

"We had way too much in our playbook."

Those are the words of Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin, and they are good news for Auburn fans. The biggest temptation for an offensive genius is to make his offense too complicated. That is also a potential downfall of a young starting quarterback, especially one in his first start in conference or on the road (cough! cough!).

Keep in mind that Auburn finest offensive performance to date is still a game where the offense only had about a dozen plays in the playbook. By simplifying the gameplan, Franklin increases our chances of seeing that kind of performance against LSU.

Offense: Two things about Chris Todd were exposed in this game. (1) His arm just isn't that strong. (2) He doesn't run the football. The first is a problem because it will allow defenses to ignore deep routes and shut down the short routes, which were his bread and butter when he won the starting job against Southern Miss. The second is a problem because so many of the running plays in this offense are options, and they assume that at least one defender will consider the possibility that the quarterback may run. The Bulldogs didn't spend a single nanosecond thinking that Todd would run. That makes life a lot harder for the running backs. Give Ben Tate a little credit for breaking a forty-yard run to close out the game late. Take it away for the fumble he lost right before that.
(D-, but only because I don't give F's when we win)

Defense: Granted, Mississippi State does not have a good offense, at all. That having been said, Auburn's defense was awesome. They should have worn down at some point, but they didn't. Every time the offense failed to gain or score, the defense came out and punished the Bulldogs for the rebellious act of stepping onto the playing field. There were numerous fine performances, but the play that sticks in my mind is the interception by Walter McFadden. Clutch.
(A+)

Special Teams: Two missed field goals (though I think one of them was tipped by the Bulldogs). An only decent day punting; although, given how many punts there were, I should probably cut the kid a break. Kickoffs and returns were a non-factor. Robert Dunn had decent returns when he actually had an opportunity, including one long one. A free kick out of bounds.
(C)

Coaching: I honestly don't know what to think about the coaching in this game. It's clear that Paul Rhodes had his defense ready to play. I don't know why Tony Franklin (or, heck Tommy Tuberville) didn't give Kodi Burns one single snap. I know Franklin wants to let Chris Todd keep his rhythm, but he didn't have any rhythm today, and I really doubt anything could have gone worse if Kodi had got in the game. Kodi has a stronger arm, and he is a threat to run. I don't like quarterback controversies, but Auburn can't survive the season with quarterback play like we saw in this game. Auburn hasn't lost a game since Franklin got hired, so I guess I should trust him. Therefore,
(C)

Auburn vs. Mississippi State Preview

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:19 PM | 0 comments »

OVERVIEW
Auburn Tigers 2-0 (0-0) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs 1-1 (0-0)

Location: Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field at Starkville, MS

Time: 6:00 p.m. CDT

TV: ESPN2



MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS


Head Coach: Sylvester Croom (4th season)

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Key Players to Watch: QB Wesley Carroll, RB Anthony Dixon, WRs Brandon McRae and Aubrey Bell, DB's Derek Pegues and Keith Fitzhugh

The Bulldogs suffered an early season loss to Lousiana Tech then bounced back against Southeast Louisiana. The Bulldogs pulled the upset over Auburn last season and look to make it two in a row over the Tigers.

AUBURN

Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville (10th season)

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Key Players to Watch: QB Chris Todd, RB Ben Tate, DE Antonio Coleman, LB Merrill Johnson, DB Jerraud Powers.

The Auburn Tigers come of a win over Southern Miss, with the offense finding some rhythm and scoring points. This game will have the Tiger's attention after being upset last season. Auburn leads the series 10-4-1 in Starkville.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The match-ups at each position you need to watch:

Quarterbacks: Even

Wesley Carroll and Chris Todd both have shown glimpses of being very capable quarterbacks. Carroll's problem was the shaky start against LA Tech, and Todd still has some steps to climb to reach his full potential.

Running Backs: Auburn

Anthony Dixon is by far one of the most talented backs in the SEC, if not the country. Only difference between the two teams, Auburn has more of those talented running backs with Brad Lester, Ben Tate, Eric Smith, and Tristan Davis.

Wide Receivers: Auburn

Mississippi State has two capable wide recievers in Brandon McRae and Aubrey Bell. Auburn has more targets to throw to and better playmakers.

Offensive Line: Auburn

Mississippi State has given up nine sacks in the last two games. Auburn has only given up two sacks.

Defensive Line: Auburn

Mississippi State improved from last week, but has yet to be truly tested. The Bulldogs do have good talent across the line. Auburn's line has done it's job the last two games, and have pressured the opponents offensive line very well.

Linebackers: Auburn

Both squads have very good linebacker corps. Both teams would be even in this area, but Mississippi State did lose Jamar Chaney in the LA tech game. Auburn gets the slight edge here.

Defensive backs: Even

Derek Pegues and Keith Fitzhugh have made themselves known to opponents early this season for Mississippi State. Jerraud Powers and company also have made opponents wary in their passing game. Both squads cover very well.

Special Teams: Auburn

Sylvester Croom said this week that they will not kick to Auburn punt returner Robert Dunn. Field position will be crucial in a game like this, and Auburn gets the huge advantage in special teams.

Coaching: Auburn

Sylvester Croom has done wonders for his program so far. Tuberville has done more wonders at Auburn.

FINAL ANALYSIS:


This should be a good game, with Auburn having slight edges in several departments. In addition to the stats and players, Auburn will be playing with a chip on their shoulder and revenge on their minds.

Final Score: Auburn 28, Mississippi State 14

This game is important. It's the SEC opener. It's on the road. We're playing a team that beat us last year, a team that loses games it shouldn't lose and wins games it shouldn't win.

Dress rehersals are over. They were successful. We have a starting quarterback. The defense has experience. The special teams is looking like the supporting player that steals the show.

This game is important. Auburn wants to win a conference championship this year. I've always said that LSU is always the most important game of the first half of the season. It almost always determines who will win the SEC West. But LSU doesn't matter much if you don't beat Mississippi State.

This game is important.

This Week's Picks

Posted by The Outsider | 5:09 PM | 0 comments »

Well, like Tiger, I'm also bogged down by work, which prevented me not only from making picks last week but watching most of the games. I will say, I think we're going to have a very surprising BCS picture come mid-October. Once the conference picture starts to clear up next month, don't be surprised to see something similar to last season, where party crashers like Kansas and USF might be reincarnated in the form of East Carolina, Fresno State, Wisconsin, California, and...wait for it...Alabama.

Some of that picture might be cleared up this week, as two of those teams on the list above face off in California when the Fresno St. Bulldogs take on the Wisconsin Badgers. While Kansas-USF is a premier matchup that has the spotlight to itself on Friday, and everyone is talking about Ohio State-USC, that 10:15 ESPN2 kickoff could steal the show this weekend.

I'm going to go with the trendy pick and take the Bulldogs. Wisconsin is a run-heavy team with a new quarterback and an injured top weapon (TE Travis Beckum). They've played both their games at home against perennial doormats Akron and Marshall. Fresno, on the other hand, has already played a very difficult opponent on the road (Rutgers), and has a strong core of returning starters with its best players healthy right now.

Wisconsin is notorious for having a bad game early in the season. They may have been reminded enough times that this is a "trap game," but the Bulldogs are almost even in talent and will use a quick start to bury the Badgers early.

Fresno State 30 (+1.5)
Wisconsin 27

I was 4-4 in my Week 1 picks and 0-2 in my locks of the week. Without further ado, here's the rest of the Week 3 picks.

Houston 40 (-4.5)
Air Force 17

Oregon 47
Purdue 40 (+8)

USC 31
Ohio State 21 (+10.5)


Baylor 42 (EVEN)
Washington State 35

Missouri 55 (LOCK OF THE WEEK; -26.5)
Nevada 14

Oklahoma 35 (-20.5)
Washington 6

**EDIT**OK, Burns brought up that I forgot to pick the Auburn game. I have to be honest, I don't see Miss. St. hanging around for more than 2.5 quarters. It won't be a great game, either...I think it's a blowout.

Auburn 35
Mississippi State 10

Offense: Chris Todd was given a chance to win the starting job outright, and he took it and "ran" with it. Any hope Kodi Burns had of winning a split decision vanished when he threw an interception in the third quarter. The way Todd won the job may not necessarily have been fair, but he won it, and Auburn is going to win a lot of games if he keeps playing like he did Saturday. We will win, that is, if the running backs don't fumble the game away. Ben Tate, Brad Lester and Eric Smith each fumbled once, ending what appeared to be Auburn scoring drives. Fumbles aside, Tate and Lester ran well, as did Tristen Davis, who scored a touchdown on his first carry of the year. The line and the receivers were solid.
(C+)

Defense: You rarely complain when your defense allows only 13 points. When they allow only 13 points despite your offense losing four turnovers, you take your kids to Dairy Queen to celebrate. The line got to the quarterback from the edges and the inside. The backfield only gave up one big play, and the youngsters are starting to look comfortable. I didn't really notice the linebackers. That probably means they did their job.
(B)

Special Teams: A 52-yard field goal. Several big, booming punts. And Robert Dunn almost got a second punt return for a touchdown. He has really impressed me with his vision and patience, but even more so with the way he sets up his blockers. Any stress Eddie Gran felt about his running backs fumbling was equalized by pride in his special teams.
(A+)

Coaching: Tony Franklin kept Todd in the game the whole first half and was rewarded with solid play. Paul Rhodes got the young guys in, and twenty players had tackles for the defense. And Tuberville had his team ready to play.
(A)

Offense: This is the ultimate audition for Chris Todd. Kodi Burns is limited with a leg injury, and no one knows if he will even play this week. Tony Franklin wants one starting quarterback, and Todd can stake a claim to that spot with a great game today. If he is only average (or worse), expect to see Kodi starting for the SEC opener next week.

Defense: This is the first of many spread offenses the defense will see this season. After playing against it all spring and summer, they will look to prove that they can stuff the spread for 60 minutes of real football.

Special Teams: Aside from a missed field goal and a non-spectacular kick return, special teams was steller against ULM. Consistancy may be one of the hardest things about college football, and a lot of it is mental. Eddie Gran's unit can build a lot of confidence with another big performance today.

Coaching: Tony Franklin said he did a terrible job coaching the ULM game last week. With Todd in and Burns out, his job is simpler today. I'll be watching to see if he will commit to running the football (at least 50% of the time) and if he has enough confidence in Todd to let him win, or lose, the game.

Overall: Does anyone remember the last time Auburn played well in an 11:30 game? Auburn has showed the ability to win the big game under Tuberville. But make no mistake, this team won't be satisfied with just beating LSU or Georgia or Bama this year. They want to win a championship. You have to win the little games to win championships, and the the little games, in the SEC, kickoff at 11:30. Auburn can shake a big monkey off their back and give themselves an important mental boost by playing 60 of good solid football.

Southern Miss Preview

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:58 PM | 0 comments »

First off, I would like to apologize for my lack of writing. My job has made me work a ton with little time for research and writing. Without futher ado...



OVERVIEW

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles 1-0 (0-0) vs. Auburn Tigers 1-0 (0-0)

Location: Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL

Time: 11:30 a.m. CDT

TV: Raycom Sports



SOUTHERN MISS


Head Coach: Larry Fedora (1st season)

Conference: Conference USA

Key Players to Watch: QB Austin Davis, RB Damion Fletcher, LB Gerald McRath

The Golden Eagles come off a dominating win over Lousiana-Lafayette, 51-21. Damion Fletcher gained 222 yards on the ground and Austin Davis was 14-of-20 passing for 206 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. The offense gained 633 total yards in its first game, showcasing more of a running game than passing game.

Gerald McRath led the team with 15 tackles in the opener. The Golden Eagles look to continue their early success this weekend on the Plains.



AUBURN

Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville (10th season)

Conference: Southeastern Conference

Key Players to Watch: QB Chris Todd, RB Ben Tate, DE Antonio Coleman, DBs Neiko Thorpe and Jerraud Powers.

The Tigers come of a dominating victory over the Lousiana-Monroe Warhawks34-0. Auburn gained 321 yards on the ground, 115 of them coming from Ben Tate. QB Chris Todd will start this weekend, and it will be interesting to see what they will do with the young quarterback. Antonio Coleman had five tackles, two tackles for loss, including one sack that forced a fumble. Freshamn NeikoThorpe lead the team with seven tackles, while Jerraud Powers was all over the field accumulating six tackles in the LA-Monroe game. Auburn will look to improve its meager 85 passing yards against Southern Miss.



HEAD-TO-HEAD

Who has the edge at each position?



Quarterbacks: Southern Miss

Austin Davis may be a redshirt freshman, but his performance against La.-Lafayette was much better than either Kodi Burns' or Chris Todd's. What's yet to be seen is how Davis does against a top-notch defense.



Running Backs: Auburn

Damion Fletcher and Bubba Kirksey ran for 341 of the 444 rushing yards last week, but Auburn's running back corps of Brad Lester, Ben Tate, and up-and-comer Eric Smith is deeper and a bit more talented, and fumbles less as well.



Wide Receivers: Even

Southern Miss wideouts put up more yards last week, but yet to be seen is how they react to a defense like Auburn. Auburn's receivers are talented, but were unable to showcase their talents last game. Dropped passes also plagued the Tigers.



Offensive Line: Even

Southern Miss and Auburn both only gave up one sack each in their previous games, and paved the way for their respective running games.



Defensive Line: Auburn

Auburn kept La.-Monroe to 84 yards rushing and pressured the quarterback the whole game. Southern Miss allowed more yards on the ground against La.-Lafayette.



Linebackers: Auburn

Gerald McRath is the force for Southern Miss at linebacker. Auburn has more playmakers with Tray Blackmon, Merrill Johnson, and Chris Evans.



Defensive backs: Auburn

Southern Miss and Auburn seem even as far as stats, but rising players for Auburn such as Neiko Thorpe make the Tigers have a slight edge in this matchup.



Special Teams: Auburn

Stat-wise, Auburn has the better tandem all-around, plus Robert Dunn can make huge returns.



Coaching: Auburn

Tuberville has been at Auburn longer than Fedora, and coached bigger games.



FINAL ANALYSIS:


This game will be a bigger test for Auburn, but the Tigers should be able to handle it well before SEC play starts.

Predicted Score: Auburn 31, Southern Miss 14

Run from the Hype

Posted by AUBurns | 5:41 PM | 0 comments »

This post has been modified from its original content. See note below.

Just a quick note about the spread offense and our expectations for it. Why were we expecting the spread to be an uber-passing offense. Look at the other teams that have run the spread over the last few years, like Utah, Florida and West Virginia. Look at their marque quarterbacks, Alex Smith, Tim Tebow and Pat White. Are those quarterbacks great passers? No (that includes you, Heisman). Are those offenses pass heavy? No. The spread has always been a running offense, eTexas Tech is really the only exception to that in the college game. If Auburn is going to win with the spread, they will do it by running the football. Period.

NOTE: Upon further examination of the statistics, particularly those of the Tony Franklin offense at Troy, I feel I should have said that the spread is a balanced offense. The Trojans averaged 182.6 yards per game rushing and 270.2 yards per game passing. They did, therefore, pass the ball quite a bit. But the still ran the ball, almost as much as they passed. We should not be expecting 80% passing, but rather a 50/50 split of running and passing.

Well, its obvious we have some work to do with the passing game. Coach Franklin said he knew it would be rough and he did not do well as a coach tonight. This is something you would hear from a coach. Kodi Burns and Chris Todd wanted to showcase what they had tonight. They just were trying too hard. Plus the cut on Burns's leg made him unavailable the rest of the game. Todd showed some brilliance in that final TD drive, so there was improvement as the game neared its end.

Besides the obvious work needed, the rest of the team was great. Freshman on the defensive side making big plays. Defense setting the tone early with that sack/fumble and scoring the TD on the fumble recovery. Special teams helped out as well with Dunn's TD punt return. And as far as rushing, it seems that Auburn has a three-back tandem that could be one of the best in the nation.

Overall, the team as a whole was good. The passing game and Coach Franklin will catch a lot of crud in the next week, but I wont give any. This is not surprising to me that this happened. Its a new QB, new offense, and new coach. This shouldn't be too shocking to anyone. Be patient Auburn fans.

And one last note: If I hear any person boo our guys again, I will give them a piece of my mind.

Gameday on the Plains

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 5:31 AM | 0 comments »

It is that time of year again Auburn faithful. It is time to fire up the grills, pop open some cold ones, deck everything out in orange and blue, and head to our holy sanctum of Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium. This is why I am looking forward to this season in a nutshell:

1. I drove 437 miles from Paducah, KY to Auburn last night just to be here for the opening game. I know its just LA-Monroe, but going to these games since 1994, I have never missed a home opener.

2. I am very excited to see the new spread offense and its impact against the Warhawks. This game will not showcase much of the offense, but it will give me, and should give you fellow fans, a good indication on how this team looks.

3. I have been waiting for this time of year again. It just has that feel that cannot be replaced during the other drought stricken months. Especially from the stance that this will be my first attended game as an Auburn alum.


So my friends, let us all gather in Auburn for that renewal of the greatest time of the year. Get ready folks, Auburn football is in the air.

WAR EAGLE!!

This Week's Picks

Posted by The Outsider | 12:45 AM | 0 comments »

Due to lack of time, I'll spare an explanation for now, but I wanted to get these picks in before kickoff tonight.

College football is back, folks. Enjoy the real Christmas Day.

Remember, these picks are WITH THE SPREAD.

Tonight

Oregon State (-3) over Stanford
Wake Forest (-12) over Baylor

Friday

Temple (-7) over Army

Saturday

East Carolina (+9.5) over Virginia Tech
Oklahoma State (-7) over Washington State
****LOCK OF THE WEEK**** Clemson (-4.5) over Alabama

Sunday/Monday

Louisville (-3.5) over Kentucky (This is 2nd on my LOCK OF THE WEEK list. Also, the UL-UK matchup is always fun if nothing else. Should be the most entertaining game of the weekend next to Michigan-Utah and Mizzou-Illinois.)
Rutgers (-5) over Fresno State (Again, should be a fun game, and one that will be very telling into the upcoming seasons of both teams. I hate to say that about a game in August, but there are a wide spectrum of expectations for both squads, and we'll get a good glimpse at both on Monday.)

Introducing The Outsider

Posted by The Outsider | 6:23 AM | 0 comments »

Hello. I hope everyone is in a fantastic mood, seeing as this is the last weekend without football for the next five months. For you Auburn fans, this might be one of the few teams you see one of my posts while in a good mood, so let me take advantage by introducing myself.

I'm this blog's Alan Colmes, the balance to the never-ending stream of AU love you'll see from AUBurns and Tiger Histalmos. That's not to say I hate or even dislike Auburn; it's actually the contrary. After a couple of years of knowing and working with those guys I've come to respect AU and root for them when it comes to all things Southeastern Conference. However, I will call it like it is when Thursday and Friday roll around and it's time to take a stand on the weekend's contests. If I think Auburn will lose, I'll tell you, and I'll explain why. I don't expect you to agree, but I expect you to respect my opinion if I at least present valid reasons to back it up.

With that, let me make my first prediction on this blog.

Auburn football will win the SEC West.

Let me make my second prediction.

Auburn will lose to Florida in the SEC Championship Game.

Let me get back to the positive though. The two reasons I love Auburn's chances, both in the SEC and as a sleeper BCS Championship contender, are their starting defense and their schedule.

Despite losing two defensive linemen to the NFL, the Tigers defensive line looks, to me, at least as strong as last season's crew. There is a very nice balance of size in the middle with Jake Ricks and Sen'Derrick Marks and top-end agility on the ends with Michael Goggins and Antonio Coleman. They are going to be tested, though, as it can be said that five of the best 35 or 40 offensive lines (including Auburn) in the country reside in the SEC West. Any questions about depth should be answered early in the season, and by the time the SEC schedule is in full swing guys like Antoine Carter and Zach Clayton should be able to contribute against LSU, Tennessee, etc.

The back seven returns five starters and good depth at linebacker with all the projected backups having experience. Tray Blackmon and Merrill Johnson must stay healthy for the Tigers to live up to the expectations, but it's great to have backups like Chris Evans who have started before and understanding the difficulty of a full season in the SEC.

Most unit rankings I've seen this year have Auburn's secondary in the Top 30. The Tigers are losing nine defensive lettermen from last season, and five of those are from the secondary, and as good as last year's unit performed it would be difficult to expect an improvement. However, Powers is a proven ballhawk who will contend to lead the NCAA in interceptions, and the linebacking corps is one of the nation's best when it comes to pass coverage, with Blackmon owning NFL-level on-ball skills that allow him to seamlessly transition into third-down defense against top-level tight ends and strong receiving running backs. This back seven is going to make the difference in the crucial early season games against LSU and the Vols, teams with big-time quarterback questions entering this season. By the time AU takes on the SEC's experienced QBs like JP Wilson, Matt Stafford and Mackenzi Adams (not to mention Pat White from West Virginia), their back seven will be the most dangerous turnover-forcing unit in the conference.

Now, the schedule. I'm a freak about it when it comes to predicting upcoming seasons. I don't care what ANYONE says about Georgia's talent level, there is absolutely no way they get through two brutal multi-week, no rest stretches this season, one early in the season (S. Carolina, Ariz. St. and 'Bama) and one late in the season (LSU, UF, Kentucky and Auburn). Meanwhile, the Gators do not have one instance of consecutive "difficult" games. The LSU game is preceded by Arkansas; the Georgia game is preceded by Kentucky, South Carolina by Vanderbilt, Tennessee by a bye week, Florida State by The Citadel. It's insane; I don't see one other national title contender with such a perfectly set up slate.

That leads me to the Tigers' schedule. Yes, they get LSU and Tennessee back to back. But both games are at home and are sandwiched by relatively easy road games against Mississippi State (could be tough, maybe...probably not) and Vandy (ha ha). Yes they have West Virginia and Mississippi on the road in consecutive weeks, but the WVU game will come with 11 days rest and the Mississippi game comes with 8 days rest. You could not have a better situation to enter consecutive road contests. The Georgia-Bama games are separated by a bye week.

LSU, on the other hand, gets one of their two bye weeks leading into a crushing stretch at Florida, at S. Carolina and home for Georgia. That will be their season defining moment, and I'd say their more likely to finish it 0-3 than 3-0, 1-2 than 2-1.

So there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed my first post; I'll be back with more now that we are four nights away from kickoff, including my opening weekend picks.

Launch of SportsBlogNet.com

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:57 PM | 0 comments »

Below is the host website that so graciously runs Tigers Source. SportsBlogNet.com offers a wide variety of sports teams and opinions that you cannot get anywhere else. Of course, continue to read up on the Tigers Source, as the Auburn sports season starts very soon, including the first football game of the season.




The more I hear about Tony Franklin's version of the spread offense, the more I like it.

This offense is very simple. It looks at a defense and says, "We don't need a complicated playbook. We don't need to trick you or confuse you. We don't have to do those things, because we are going to make you run. Hard. We will give you no time to breathe, and then we are going to make you run again. When you have become accustomed to the speed at which we play and you learn to get into your proper defensive stances and positions for the next play, we are going to make you stand, crouch and wait. We will make you not run, yet not rest, for you will be so tense, waiting, knowing that we will snap the ball in the next nanosecond. We will make you stay in that position for what will feel like a very long time. And then we will make you run.

"Eventually, you, even if you really are a good defense, will realize two things. You will realize that you can't keep up. And, you will realize that you don't want to keep up. Because what you want is to be able to breath for ten consecutive seconds without having to run. You want that more than you want to make that takle, to cover that route, to get that football. Eventually, you will realize this. And when you do, we will crush you. We will hit you again and again. You will trade the pain of running for the pain of perfectly executed blocks, blocks that you are now powerless to resist. We will stop going over you and around you. We will go straight through you.

"We are going to do this to you. And no amount planning or scheming will stop us."

This is a simple offense. And though it is different from anything we have ever seen on the Plains, this is football, as it was meant to be played.

Death, Fan Day, and The Big Media Draw.

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:46 PM | 0 comments »

Many things on the Plains has occurred over the last few days.

First off, it is sad for the Auburn family to lose another member. I, like Burns, did not know Sam personally, but to lose another member of the family is very sad. It is even more awkward that the Auburn Network has lost two members within the last decade (the other member being the legendary Jim Fyffe.)

My condolences to the families in their loss, and our prayers be with them in their time of mourning. Sam will be sorely missed.

Second order of business, fan day was yesterday, and it was pandemonium as usual. Its always great to see the fans come out for this day. Its controlled chaos at its finest. My brother ended up with 30 signatures I believe. For me, it was another chance to catch up with old friends that are like me in supporting the orange and blue. It was also time to learn the new faces and familiar ones behind those face masks. It was a fun time to be in Auburn.

Thirdly, if it wasn't already underway, the media's attention to the quarterback race is in full swing. I don't mind the fact that we have a quarterback race underway, its just that, like anything else in the state when it comes to college football, it is being way overblown. Personally, I don't really mind which guy will be taking snaps under Jason Bosley. Both of these young athletes have the talent and capability to run Franklin's spread offense. It goes back to what Pat Dye said back in '89 when Auburn first played Alabama at Jordan-Hare:

"It don't make any difference who's carrying the ball, it don't make any difference who's catching it, who's rushing or passing, or who's making the tackles. Just as long as you got a blue jersey on."


Last time I checked, both of them wear that same blue jersey. Both of them get my equal support, along with all the other gentleman on that field.

More updates to come as the season draws closer.

WAR EAGLE!!

Death in the Family

Posted by AUBurns | 9:36 AM | 0 comments »

Sam Brumbeloe, Auburn ISP Sports Network Coordinator and executive producer of Auburn basketball and baseball broadcasts, died Thursday night. He is survived by a wife and two kids.

Sam started experiencing severe back pain in October 2007. He went to chiropractors and physical therapists but got no relief. He continued to do his job at the Network, including traveling with basketball broadcasts, despite the pain. I worked for him at the Network during that time. I saw how much pain he was in, and I was amazed that he was able to keep working.

By March 2008, the pain and stiffness became too much. He left the Network, hoping to return when the problem had been cured. His got worse, however, and in June he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I speculate that this was the cause of the back pain all the way back in October 07. Because the cancer was so advanced, radiation treatment proved to be too little too late. On July 28, he was admitted to Bethany House, a hospice at the East Alabama Medial Center in Opelika. He died there three days later.

I didn't know Sam very well, but I talked to the people at the Network about him. He was good, really good at him job. Few people, I'm told, could have handled the behind-the-scenes issues the way Sam did. He will be greatly missed by him family and his collegues.

One final thing: Sam's wife kept an online journal to update friends and family about his situation. Just about every other post contained thanks to all the people who had helped them throughout this trial. That, dear reader, is what it means to be Auburn Men and Women. We take care of our own, right to the end.

Godspeed, Sam. You will be missed. Rest in peace.

Early Expectations

Posted by AUBurns | 3:49 PM | 0 comments »

The media last week picked Auburn to the SEC West. There's good news and bad news associated with that.

Good News: It means Auburn has built a fine program that is getting a lot of respect (blah, blah, forget I actually wrote that).

Good News: They didn't pick us to win the whole conference. That dubious kiss of death fell upon the Florida Gators. As you know, the media gets the conference champion right, so I'd say that makes Georgia the real favorite to win the conference, with Auburn close behind.

Bad News: By picking Auburn, the media did not endow us with an experience starting quarterback; they didn't give us a roster full of players who are experienced with their respective coordinator's system; and, they didn't grant us immunity from injury problems.

Can Auburn win the West? The answer to that question is yes every year, no matter what the media says. This year may be their best chance, since every other team except Mississippi State is going through some kind of upheaval. But this team has a lot of questions to answer between now and August 30. The fact fact that we open up against Louisiana-Monroe and Southern Miss is a big help, because it will allow them to work out kinks and hopefully get a lot of players some playing time. Personally, I always reserve my predictions about who will win the West until after the LSU game. The answer is usually pretty clear after that. Yeah, I know LSU doesn't have a starting quarterback right now. And if I let that make me think that they can't still beat us and win the division, I'm fooling myself.

Yes Auburn could be very good this year. They could also be very mediocre. If you don't mind the threat of disappointment, please continue to ride the wave that the media created last week. If you're right, you can tell me "I told you so." I promise I'll be to happy to mind.

Oh, one final word of caution: Please do not go bragging to your Crimson-leaning acquaintances about how we're the favorites to win the West. That just makes us look desperate. And you know how God likes to humble Auburn when we get upidy like that.

I Am Auburn, Too

Posted by AUBurns | 5:15 PM | 0 comments »

I'm AUBurns. I'm a second-generation AU alumnus. I was successfully brainwashed to love Auburn by age three, possibly earlier. Two of my three earliest memories involve Auburn football games.

I have loved Auburn since before nine wins was considered a disappointing season. I love Auburn, not because they win, but because of what those colors stand for. I love Auburn because my dad found God there, and there I grew closer to God than I ever thought possible. I love Auburn because the our creed puts in writing what our people (the real Auburn people) take for granted.

This is my fourth consecutive year covering Auburn sports, and it is a pleasure to be here. I thank Tiger Histalmos for giving me the opportunity, and I thank you for coming and reading.

Welcome to Tigers Source. War Eagle!

I Am Auburn

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 4:14 PM | 0 comments »

Here is something I received at work today. It pretty summons up what it means to be an Auburn Tiger:

I am Auburn . I am the 30-year old couple coming back to campus for the
first time with both little ones in tow. One wears her first blue and
orange cheerleader outfit; the other wears #34 even though he is too
young to understand why.

I am the 50-year old man who hoped no one saw tears in his eyes when
the eagle circled the field. I was too choked even to say 'War Eagle'.
For a moment, I felt foolish and then I didn't care. God, I love this
place.

I am the 60 year old woman meeting her freshman granddaughter who is
now the 3rd generation of AU students in our family. Despite my age, I'd
strap it on Saturday and hit someone if it weren't for my gender and
this blasted arthritis.

I am Auburn and I have always believed I was different. You can see it
when you look up into the stands. My orange is not the same as
Tennessee's and my blue is not that of Florida|But the differences go
much deeper than my colors. Read my creed. What other school has one?

I genuinely believe in these things. To be a real Auburn man or woman
speaks of character, not of geography. All are welcome to walk though my
gates, not just the wealthy or the elite.

Georgia and Alabama may have their nations, but we have always been
family. Make no mistake, we loathe defeat, but even in defeat, we would
rather be an Auburn Tiger than anything else. We are family and you are
the sons of Heisman, the sons of Jordan and Dye. You come from a long
line of brothers whose names include Burkett, Sidle, Owens, Sullivan,
Beasley, Jackson and Rocker. It is a great heritage.

So this Saturday, when the warm ups are over and the prayers and amen
spoken, when you hear my thunder growing in the stands above you, when
you stand in the tunnel and the smoke begins to form, listen for my
voice when you run onto my field. Behind the frenzy of the shakers and
deafening roar, I will tell you something in a whisper you may miss. I
will be telling you that you are my sons and I am proud of you for the
way you wear the burnt orange and navy blue. I am telling you that you
are my sons and I love you.

Auburn is so much more than a city or a school or a team or a degree.

It is something that, once you have experienced it, will live inside of
you forever and become a part of what makes up who you are....

It is driving into town on a game day. You may have come from hundreds
of miles away and as you get closer and closer to the city limits, you
feel it rising inside of you. Other cars on the highway proudly display
their Orange and Blue flags or magnets or car tags, and you honk and
wave at them, because, for that one day, you are all on the same team.

It is the smell in the air and the ritualistic act of
tailgating...catching up with old friends, making new ones, and
invitations from perfect strangers to try their ribs or watch their
satellite TV showing all of the day's important match-ups...of course,
all being secondary to the one that will occur in the great cathedral of
Jordan-Hare later that day.

It is the Tiger Walk...where you might just see 300 pound men overcome
with emotion and weeping with pride, because you have come there to
cheer them on. As they walk by, you might exchange a glance with one or
two of them and you can see it in their eyes...it is going to be their
day.

It is the students...dressed in their best, because going to an Auburn
game is like going to church for Auburn people....you show the same
respect as you would if you were in God's house. Those students remind
you of the days when you were walking in their shoes and Auburn was your
home...but then you realize, in many ways, it is still and always will
be HOME.

It is that lump that rises in your throat when the band plays the alma
mater as the eagle is soaring over your head during pre-game.

It is walking around on a "foreign" and sometimes hostile campus. You
are easily identified ( Auburn people always are) and the enemy jeers
and shouts things at you to mask their feelings of intimidation. But
just then, you happen upon a friend you have never met before. You know
they are your friend by the colors they wear or the shaker in their
hand. You exchange a "War Eagle" and a confident grin, because he/she
knows what you know.

It is when your heart leaps with every touchdown, field goal, sack, and
interception...because those are our boys. And win or lose, they will
always have our un-dying support. After all, it is those boys that you
are really there for, and not a coach or a logo or a trustee or a
president.

It is the complete and utter exhilaration of walking away victorious
over a worthy opponent...that feeling of pride and accomplishment as if
it were your own feet that had crossed the goal line scoring the last
points yourself...that feeling of wanting to scream War Eagle" at the
top of your lungs and hug complete strangers...and then there is the
ultimate high of defeating your most hated foes from across the state.

No words can describe what this feels like, but you know because you
have experienced it.

It is the sheer agony of defeat as the last minutes tick off the clock
and you realize that all hope of a victory is gone. You feel like crying
and maybe you do...then you hear the faint sounds of a cheer that grows
louder and louder...."ITS GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER."

It is knowing that year after year, no matter how things change in our
hectic lives, you can always come back to "the Loveliest Village on the
Plains"...the place where you came from...your home. It will probably
look a little different and there will be new names on the backs of the
jerseys, but deep down, no matter what, it is still the same. You still
love it as much as you always have, because Auburn is as much a part of
you as your arms and your legs and the orange and blue blood that runs
through your veins.

And, finally, it is the feeling you have right now as you read these
lines....the anticipation inside of you, because you know it's almost
time....It's about to start all over again...but then it really never
goes away, does it?



Robert L. Gillette, DVM, MSE
Director

Richard G. & Dorothy A. Metcalf
Veterinary Sports Medicine Program

College of Veterinary Medicine
Auburn University

Auburn Football: Is It Here Yet?

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:33 PM | 0 comments »

Considering this has been a summer of discontent as far as summer is concerned, I cannot wait for Auburn football to start.

This will be an exciting year I believe. The ingredients are there to make for a spectacular season, and expectations should not be low for this football team. I cannot tell you if this Auburn team will vie for the BCS title, but they sure will contend for the Western Division crown as they seemingly do every single year.

I am not too concerned with the quarterbacks as far as talent goes. Both Chris Todd and Kodi Burns are exceptional athletes who are good at what they do. I enjoy the fact that our first two games allow these young guys to take hold of what will come of this new offense this season. Either one will be a great fit for Auburn.

Running backs? Sure, we got them. Plenty of them. Wide receivers? We have them too, and I believe they will do more than people think they will. Offensive line? One of, if not THE, best in the SEC.

Defense, same ole, same ole as far as scheme. The depth at defensive line and secondary are a bit shaky, but we will see how things turn out.

The simple fact is that I am optimistic about this season. I like who we have, what we got, and the fans to back this team. This team has the ability to go undefeated as well as lose up to four games this year. That is why I am excited about this team, cause no one really knows what will happen.

Either way, I will still be screaming "WAR EAGLE!" in victory or defeat. Just if your an Auburn fan, you have to like the situation we are in and what is on the horizon. Be excited Auburn faithful, this will be a season to remember for the better. I feel it, and I hope you do as well.

WAR EAGLE!!

Football Scheduling: What is going on here?

Posted by Tiger Histalmos | 6:50 PM | 0 comments »

I just learned that Auburn in non-conference games will be playing Ball State as well as Furman and West Virginia in 2009. Now, I have two sides to this dilemma. This is one of the smartest moves the athletic department could make or the dumbest. Let me explain.

The pros of playing teams like Furman and Ball State are you let your stars rest a bit during the rough SEC schedule. Furman is a Div I-AA (FCS) school, but has a decent reputation in the South. Ball State at least is a Div I-A (FBS) school this time around unlike previous meetings. West Virginia should drop off next season with the departure of many players after the 2008 season, but the name is still recognizable. With recognition will come more people to look at Auburn at that point in the season.

The cons are that Auburn will only have one, maybe two if the last non-conference opponent is decent, to showcase itself. Many voters are keying in on the non-conference match-ups to determine position in the polls and the BCS. This hurts Auburn if they get the pieces to go for the national title.

I tend to side with the pros of this situation since the national champion is determined by people's opinion of a team instead of letting the teams prove it on the field. I am always looking for that SEC crown first before the national title. It has become such a rat race for the championship that it isn't even appealing to me anymore, though I will say I will jump for joy if Auburn gets the opportunity to play in the title game. A drought of 51 years since the last national title will do that to a fan.

Regardless of what the schedule looks like, every game matters. The SEC West is what Auburn needs to go for first, and they have made that their goal each and every year. After the West, will come the SEC title game. After the SEC, possibly the national championship. It all starts with winning the West, which my early prognostications seem to have Auburn in that position at the end of the season.

All right, dear readers, here is my number one attended Auburn football game—and it should come as no surprise that is an Iron Bowl game.

#1: November 22nd, 1997 - The Iron Bowl - Auburn 18, Alabama 17

This game had me on my feet the entire time. A boy of 12, looking onto that familiar field with a familiar foe. Not only was this game huge for bragging rights, but an Auburn victory would send the Tigers to their first ever SEC championship game berth.

Alabama would get the ball first, but they did nothing on their opening possession. Auburn would take their opening possession and drive it down the field to the Alabama nine-yard line before being stopped in their tracks. Jaret Holmes would kick the 27-yard field goal to put Auburn ahead 3-0 early in the first quarter.

Alabama and Auburn exhanged punts for most of the first quarter until Auburn had possession at the 2:23 mark. Auburn would take the drive to the Alabama 20 before being held up again. Jaret Holmes came on and kicked a 37-yard field goal to put Auburn on top 6-0, and they would take that lead to the end of the first quarter.

Alabama and Auburn again exchanged punts twice in the second quarter before Alabama drove down the field. The big play in their first scoring series was a 42-yard pass from Freddie Kitchens to Quincy Jackson to the Auburn 14. A touchdown pass to Calvin Hall would put Bama on the board and in the lead 7-6 with 6:24 left in the first half.

Auburn would turn the ball over twice in their next two possesions. The first turnnover was a pass that was intercepted by Marcus Spencer after Auburn just entered into Alabama territory.

The second turnover was a fumble that was recovered by Trevis Smith. Alabama would score on the second turnover with a 32-yard field goal by Chris Kemp. Alabama would take the 10-6 lead into halftime.

Auburn started off the second half with the football but did nothing with the possession. Alabama, on its first possession of the half, would drive down the field behind Freddie Kitchens's 20-yard pass to Dennis Riddle and would score on a 12-yard rush by Shaun Alexander to take the lead 17-6 in the third quarter.

I was not too thrilled at this point, to say the least, but this game taught me to never give up on the team.

Auburn answered on its next possession with two huge passes from Dameyune Craig. The first pass was a 41-yard bomb to Kevin McLeod which got Auburn deep into Alabama territory. The next pass was a 22-yard pass to Karsten Bailey to get inside the Alabama 10.

Rusty Williams rushed for seven yards on the next play, getting Auburn to the Alabama two-yard line. Then Fred Beasley pounded his way in on two rushes to score the touchdown for Auburn. Auburn failed to convert the two-point conversion, so the score remained 17-12.

The fourth quarter began, and Alabama had the football. They would drive to the Auburn 21-yard line and miss a 38-yard field goal attempt. Auburn gained a little momentum off the missed field goal, driving down to the Alabama 14 before Jaret Holmes kicked another field goal to get Auburn within two points, 17-15.

Alabama would do nothing on its next possession. Auburn had the ball with 6:18 left in the game but could not get a drive going. They punted with 2:55 left, and Alabama was going to play keep away.

Shaun Alexander would run on four consecutive plays, including a first down run, to set up at the Tide at the Alabama 36-yard line. On 3rd-and-8, Freddie Kitchens completed a pass to Ed Scissum. It would be short-lived, however, as saftey Martavious Houston nailed Scissum and caused a fumble. Quinton Reese would recover the fumble at the Alabama 33-yard line with 0:42 left in the game.

Rusty Williams rushed for four yards on the first play of the drive, and Hicks Poor caught a seven-yard pass from Craig to get it to the Alabama 22-yard line. Dameyune Craig would throw an incomplete pass and spike the ball to stop the clock with 0:21 left.

I was nervous as all get out. I covered my eyes with my hands and prayed that Jaret would make the kick. Auburn's field goal unit got out onto the field and readied themselves for their spot in Auburn history. Then Alabama called timeout.

This was a good thing for me, as I gathered the courage to uncover my eyes and look onto the field. Alabama would call timeout again, trying to ice Holmes. I looked up at my father and asked him, "Do you think he'll get it?" My dad looked down on me and just smiled. "This is a chip shot for him. He'll make it."

Auburn set up again at the 22-yard line. The ball was snapped, the place was down, and Jaret Holmes sent the football down the heart of the uprights to make it 18-17.

Alabama would get the ball back and return it 25 yards from the Auburn 20, in addition to a 15-yard face mask penalty, to get it to the Auburn 40-yard line. A. J. Diaz attempted a 57-yard field goal but missed it.

Auburn won 18-17 and clinched their spot in the SEC championship game. To me, there was, is, and never will be a greater feeling than defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in that fashion.

It was also my first time in rolling Toomer's Corner after an Auburn victory. My father thought it best to roll Toomer's after an Alabama victory. It takes on a very special meaning that stays near and dear to my heart even to this day.

WAR EAGLE!!