Friday, August 03, 2007

The Works, Dress-up Pundit-style

You're not relying on me for news and links regarding the opening of practice, player eligibility, and alumni kicker updates when Tigerland's out there, are you? No, you're here for the rapier wit and biting, incisive commentary. (Or, more likely, because you've already re-loaded EDSBS, like, a hundred times today.) So here's an especially opinionated edition of The Works focusing on the many, many news developments surrounding the Tigers this week:

USA Today Poll totally under over appropriately rating Auburn. I happen to think 14th is right where the Tigers belong ... 11-2 and lower-half-of-the-top-10 at end of last year + one OL starter returning and starting RB and #1 WR lost + tougher schedule + division rivals improving + still Auburn with senior QB and same coaching staff = about 14 in my mind. I'm hoping (and sometimes expecting, when I can distract Overly Realistic Jerry with sudoku) the Tigers will improve on that, but there's only so much benefit to be given the doubt at this stage. The other reason to enjoy this poll is that if you think a Tommy Tuberville team won't be ready to take down the defending national champion, #3-with-an-overrated-plastic-bullet team in Week 5, you need to re-study his track record.

The back-up QB battle matters less right now than the placekicking battle. Assuming Cox doesn't step into a gopher hole on his way onto the field against KSU, whoever wins the #2 QB spot is still going to have to wait his turn ... and may never see the field at all, save for the Tennessee Tech game and fourth-quarter mop-up duty vs. New Mexico St., Mississippi St., 'Bama, and the like. (Sometimes I can ignore the dig reflex. Not that time.) Whoever wins the PK spot could be asked to produce on the first drive of the year, could be called upon to win the first game of the year on his untested foot. I know there's always more drama and interest-at-large with the QB's, but I'd rather get one of those "Both players are rising to the challenge and look ready to blah blah blah" practice reports out of the kickers.

I hope we're not reading "Yet another Tiger didn't qualify" stories at this time next year. I have two hands when it comes to this year's "30-member" recruiting class. On the first, it's Tubby's team and if he wants to take some chances on guys who are going to have to spend a year at a JC or Lt. Strikeforce's Military Academy and House of Waffles, so be it. Particularly if those guys help beat the Tide senseless again or pull out victories in Fayetteville and Baton Rouge. On the other ... 30-member classes are a gamble. If more than 25 guys qualify, somebody doesn't get to come to Auburn right away even though they were offered (check the interesting and remarkably true-sounding comment about fallout from UT's oversigning here) . If too many guys qualify and Auburn goes over 85 scholarships, someone (be it a freshman or other player) who was told they'd have a free ride isn't getting one. Auburn should keep its promises, and you can't promise 30 guys every year they'll have a scholarship when, as Tubby himself points out himself in the article above, there's only 85 to go around. In fact, this is 55 players in two years Auburn's signed. Either next year's class will be capital-T Tiny, or there'll be room only because Auburn's signed a whole bunch of flunkies in recent years, or someone's going to get the boot. I don't really like any of those scenarios and this is one of the very few points on which my faith in Tubby is getting a touch tested.

This is a non-story. At least it is to the press in Alabama, who blithely ignored it today despite reporting every Saban-related secondary violation right up to and including "using a recruit's name in Scattergories for 'Things that run'." This didn't stop Kyle King of DawgSports fame from bending himself into a pretzel in an effort to avoid accusing Auburn of anything ("Past behavior does not guarantee future conduct ... we will stick simply to the facts, which are these: Auburn has a long history of N.C.A.A. infractions") before going on to suggest Mike Slive should be worried enough to cancel his "SEC Gets Out of Jail" parties and hypothesizing about balancing his glee over Auburn's potential demise vs. the sullying of the conference's good name. Of course, one of UGA's other archrivals, those noted hooligans at Georgia Tech, also got subpoenaed, along with other dastardly rogue institutions like UCLA, Rutgers, and Oregon.

I think most college football fans would agree that wanting NCAA justice served when violations have been committed is one thing, but that wishing probation to fall from the sky onto one's enemies is another. A thing that crosses a line, most likely. But Kyle would never hope that Auburn's been breaking rules and gotten caught, oh no. Why, all he's done is write up a post calling attention to to the potential violations without waiting to see if it gained any mainstream merit, list a series of facts that suggest there were violations, essentially say he would accuse Auburn of shenanigans if not for the presence of his SBN co-blogger, and discuss how happy he'd be if Auburn did get the NCAA hammer at the expense of making note of any other school involved in the probe. That's all. No malice intended.

(He also compares to Auburn to the Soviet Union, but I'm OK with that.)

Oh, one late-breaking blog tidbit you'll enjoy: Josh Freeman is a fatty!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I read that dawgsports post. The truth hurts, doesn't it? I mean, are you saying anything he said was false? Auburn is one of the most penalized programs of the past 30 years. The NY attorney did send out those subpoenas for some reason. And you know Auburn bloggers would do the same thing if it was georgia/bama or LSWho. Don't even try to deny it

UGAPharm'96 said...

Could you explain to me again how your little dig at Bama in this very post is any different from his little dig at Auburn. What a hypocrite.

Jerry Hinnen said...

anon: Find one single example on this blog of me implying that any team either had probation coming or that I would be happy it was. In fact, I just went on record ( as saying I didn't care about Bama's alleged secondary violations. So I think will deny it anyway, thanks.

Pharmacist: I'll gladly explain, thanks. Implying that Auburn has probation coming the instant the news breaks and hoping with glee said probation arrives is not a "little dig." It's a jab below the belt IMHO. Also, Kyle devoted an entire post to his "little dig" as opposed to the, what, half-sentence I used? Hope that clears things up.

Anonymous said...

". . .without waiting to see if it gained any mainstream merit, list a series of facts that suggest there were violations,"

Because no one is allowed to talk about it until some hack sportswriter from Demopolis pulls it off the AP wire. Your school's program is dirty. That's why they're subject to this scrutiny. If you can't handle that, write a Vanderbilt blog.