Friday, July 27, 2007

High-fives for all

Amidst the ongoing Cirque du Saban in Birmingham (headlines for the three highlighted columns on's sports page right now, 4 p.m. Friday: "Saban main attraction in Hoover," "Saban keeps punishment under wraps," and my personal favorite, "Love Saban tender, love him sweet"), the SEC press today released their pre-season conference favorites.

Terrific news, Auburn fans: Almost no one thinks our team is going to win anything in the SEC this year. In fact, while AU got one more vote to win the whole conference, the Tide got more nods to win the West, seven to five (a fact Tubby might bring up once or twice come two-a-days). Might be a bit premature to break out the party hats, but a celebratory Sunset Wheat or two tonight is definitely in order.

Do I even have to explain why? Colin Mickle mentions briefly the less-than-sterling record of teams picked by the media to win the league that have followed through on that prediction: 2-for-17.

2-for17! With Auburn, most certainly, not one of those two. This is the part where every Auburn fan who remembers the horror, the horror of 2003 wishes LSU the very best of luck in dragging this particular yoke around the rest of the pre-season.

In fact, speaking of 2003, the parallels between that year's Auburn and this year's LSU do start to edge towards the eerie side:

1. Considered overwhelming SEC favorite and national title contender
2. Lost well-regarded offensive coordinator in offseason
3. Will enter home opener vs. highly-ranked non-conference opponent as favorite
4. Quarterback entering first year as full-time starter
5. Star-studded defense expected to be capable of carrying more-suspect offense
6. Running back by committee
7. Expectations fueled in part by decisive bowl win

and most importantly

8. Both named Tigers

Add all that up with another little question mark commonly referred to as "Les Miles," and Phil Steele forgive me if I'm not as bullish on LSU as the SEC (or national) press.

Auburn, of course, isn't complaining about any of that, nor (publicly, anyway) about the palm leaves laid down for King Crimson as he entered Jersualem the Wynfrey this week. They're just soaking it in, reading yet another Saban column, hearing again how much pure talent LSU has, waiting (as Quentin Groves memorably put it this week) in the weeds.

This, my friends, is the sort of pre-season I can enjoy.


Newspaper Hack said...

I can't say I wasn't happy about the eggs Auburn laid in '03, because I was (especially being the only person cheering at the USC/UL-Lafayette game when the 23-0 Southern Cal score was announced).

But, I'm not so sure LSU will act the same way. I'll be scared of the Bengal Tigers until they prove me different. I also think Auburn will be in competition for the West title until they prove me different.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Oh, there's still plenty of reasons to expect LSU to win the league. Just merrily pointing out there's plenty of precedent for them to not live up to those expectations, too.