Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Thanks to College Football Resource for recently adding the JCCW to its Blogroll. Substantially less thanks, however, for its continuing anti-SEC blather. Let’s look at the highlights of this week’s episode, shall we?

”ESPN's Bruce Feldman ($) documents first hand the stodgy, fearful nature that takes over many an SEC game.”

Like, say, that yawner Georgia and Tennessee sleepwalked their way through earlier this season. Or the snoozer Auburn and South Carolina played, where the teams only managed 54 yards on average per possession and never generated an ounce of excitement outside of the mid-third-quarter onsides kick, dropped game-tying TD pass, and last-second fourth-down stop. How did I even stay awake through that one?

”Auburn didn't attack, even though Brandon Cox was having a great game and Ole Miss clearly didn't have the numbers on defense to hold up against Auburn if the Tigers just kept pushing with their offense.”

I’m trying to imagine how Brandon Cox can have a great game without the Auburn offense attacking. Maybe if he jotted some notes on a wipe-off clipboard that afterwards were later discovered to be a new proof to Fermat’s Last Theorem. Perhaps if he performed the Heimlich maneuver to save a six-year-old in the front row, or rewired his sideline headset to receive playcalls from the Ole Miss coaches’ box … Point is, if your offense gains 428 yards without attacking in the Year of the Fast Clock, man, I’d hate to see what they’d do if they did attack.

Feldman also blamed the Tigers for not attacking, though he suggested Auburn should have bulldozed Ole Miss into submission with a power running game. But as CFR helpfully points out, Cox was having a blinder--why pound away at a front seven that has Patrick Willis in it when you don't have to? Neither Feldman nor CFR seem to realize that the reason Auburn failed to separate from Ole Miss had nothing to do with the offense’s attitude, philosophy, play-calling, etc.: the only problem was poor execution close to the Ole Miss end zone. Two turnovers, three field goals in seven possessions inside the Ole Miss 35 isn’t not trying, it’s trying and failing. Feldman should be able to see the difference, though I can’t blame CFR, what with him having to shield his eyes from the sparks thrown up by the axe he’s grinding.

”Great teams find ways to win close games when they're having bad days, sure. But great teams also cleanly put away undermanned foes, especially when their offense is having some success.”

Who the hell has called Auburn a “great” team since the Arkansas game, exactly? Well, aside from Straw Man McStrawerson, of course. CFR is right: Auburn isn’t a great team this year. I hope he has some other newsflashes for us--I’m dying to know if Miami and Florida St. are still the real deal or if this is the year they finally start showing some cracks!

Any rational, even-handed analysis of Auburn follows up “They’re not great” with “Then again, 8-1 with two victories over top-15 teams ain’t exactly shabby, either,” (this is the route Feldman takes) but this is irrational, underhanded analysis, so instead we get …

“Auburn dicked around, and pollsters should rightly ding them for it if that's their imperative. Killer instinct, either you got it or you don't and right now the Tigers just don't have it (other than the second half performance at home against Florida).”

Oh no, not a slight drop in the polls! Anything but that! Even if we do defeat our two oldest rivals and win our second SEC title in three years, how will I get any satisfaction out of it if we finish fifth instead of fourth? Oh, woe and bedragglement!

As for “killer instinct,” if it means blowing the Rebels out, I covered the fat wad of good it would have done the Tigers last time. If it means coming through in the clutch (as CFR’s “Well, except for that time they put their boot on the throat of the best team on their schedule, which we can all agree is meaningless” aside would suggest), let’s let Kevin Scarbinsky explain: “It's true that this team could've lost to LSU and South Carolina and Florida and Ole Miss. It's also true that, four times this season, this team entered the final five minutes with the ending in doubt. All four times, this team won.”

Whatever “instinct” you want to call that, I’ll take it.

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