I'm not sure I'd totally agree with Jay that no Auburn win has ever felt better than Saturday night's signature on our Title of Ownership of the Florida Gators--those wins over the Tide in '93 and 2005, in particular, were 100 percent pure Colombian bliss--but hoo boy, after the first 13 1/2 quarters of this season, this one ain't that far behind.
So: a recap.
--Lou Holtz, as I'm sure you've heard by now, sends ESPN to Gainesville with the pronounciation that he's more likely to become a Florida senator than Auburn is to win the ball game. Whatever. I honestly feel bad for Holtz. He should be off thomewhere thitting back in his living room recliner in hith thlippers, telling his wife the bowl of applethauce she just therved him ith a damn fine bowl of applethauce, and oh by the way Honey, Notre Dame'th going 16-1 thith theathon ... and instead ESPN keeps trotting the old fool out there like the guy whose job it is to prance in front of Mike the Tiger at LSU games and draw as many angry and embittered roars out of the college football populace as possible. It's sad, really.
--Mike Patrick, God save us all. That Ron Franklin was shuttled off to call K-St.'s (delightful) whipping of Texas while the WWL serves us up the Prince of Broadcasting Clowns is a crime against humanity. The ESPN exec who made this decision deserves consecutive life sentences serve in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. I'm not even joking.
--It's probably a sign you're taking football a little too seriously when you're a red-blooded American male who sees Holly Rowe on the sidelines and thinks "Yes! Holly Rowe! She does a much better job of getting halfway-interesting quotes out of coaches and worthwhile information from the benches than those other bimbos!" rather than, well, some variation on "WHERE ARE YOU ERIN ANDREWS?" In a related story, I probably take football a little too seriously.
--Patrick and Todd Blackledge's pregame conversation about WunderTim:
MIKE: Now Todd, it might not be true that Tebow can walk on water, *ingratiating chuckle* but coach Meyer told us last week has has recently learned to hold his breath under the water for hours at a time, like a whale.
TODD: He's a special player, no doubt about it. Experts in subcontinent politics have called him the best hope yet for brokering peace between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamils.
MIKE: Any truth to the rumor he will consume the English with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse?
TODD: There's nothing he isn't capable of on this football field tonight. Including impregnating Florida's coeds with no more than a stare.
MIKE: Ho-ly Cow!
--Florida's forced to punt on their first possession after a false start on 3rd-and-5 turns it into 3rd-and-10. Apparently, the noise from the home crowd has the Gators rattled.
--Auburn takes over at their own 16 and Cox is sacked on 2nd-and-8, falling awkwardly. Blackledge is saying he's done, Auburn fans are already telling themselves that 3-9 isn't the end of the world, "Rold Gold" is calling up asking if they can sponsor the shape Cox's leg just got twisted into ... and Cox just hops up like nothing happened other than his usual weekly beating. Apparently, Cox is made of rubber. I can't say I'm too surprised.
--Patrick calls Tubby "the Pat Buchanan of college coaches" (or comes just short of it, maybe) for his rather-too-safe decision to kick on 4th-and-1 rather than take an offsides and try 3rd-and-11, but it all works out when Florida plays Silly Gators and runs into the kicker. Much obliged, fellas.
--A first-down flip reverse from Burns to Dunn is snowed under for an eight-yard loss. Borges is thinking "See? This is why I don't get creative on first down, you idiots."
--That's promising. Cox just time-warped to 2005 and nailed Smith on 3rd-and-14 for 21 yards. This is followed by a second pass to Smith for 13. To Billings for 13. To Smith for 9 to the Florida 19. Welcome back, Brandon Cox. Great to have you here.
--Tate gives Auburn first-and-goal from the 6. Burns comes in and runs an Incredibly Surprising Quarterback Draw (copyright MGoBlog) that works for a TOUCHDOWN! in part because--no it's totally, true, watch the replay!--Tommy "Occasionally, Just This Once, a Blocking Tight End" Trott stones his guy at the point of attack. I'm trying to think of a better omen for Auburn than Trott making a good block, and short of the heavens opening and the voice of the Almighty intoning JUST SO YOU KNOW UP FRONT, I'VE GOT AUBURN ON THE MONEY LINE, I've got nothing. 7-0, Tigers.
--WunderTim gets stuffed like
--Borges gets tricklicious on first down again with a Cox-to-Burns screen, but Burns drops it (hey, somebody has to), stands there helpless, and gets popped by UF LB Dustin Doe. I'm actually a little sympathetic towards Doe here, because I didn't hear a whistle and it's not his job to figure out if it's a lateral or not (Rowe's mysterious report a few seconds later to the contrary). But I also think it's worth the offsetting penalty when Bosley walks down and gives Doe the ol' firm two-handed shove. Exhibitions of belligerence and fang-baring on the road = positive sign.
--Cox completes two more to move Auburn past midfield. He's 7-of-8 with the one incompletion the Burns drop. I'm waiting, but no signals yet of other shoes even in the vicinity, much less ones ready to drop. A sack ruins the drive anyway.
--Florida starts driving the way they inevitably do, and get a hand from the officials when Savage is called for a personal foul by virtue of merely falling over onto Harvin's feet.
--Karma has a way of evening out, though, don't it? The Gators stall and Ijjas's field goal hits Sen'Derrick Marks in the palm. If that wasn't good news enough, the entire Auburn unit immediately begins waving their arms and backing off the ball. I'm no expert, but it certainly looks like they've been well-coached. Somewhere, Leon Lett is going "You're never going to be a hero that way! Come on!"
--Stewart runs his trademark wheel route, and Florida is ready. They have him surrounded by four guys. Cox drops it in like he's pitching horseshoes for the completion anyway. I'm guessing this Under Armour gear is flame-retardant, because otherwise it'd have caught fire by now, Cox is so damn hot. (I am SO clever.)
--Patrick and Blackledge interview Jim Leavitt over much of the rest of the drive, because the overwhelming majority of fans watching the game were just thinking, "Hey, this is exciting and all, but it would be so improved if they ignored it for a while to talk to a coach whose team played yesterday. Thanks goodness they're giving me what I want!" They come back just in time for Cox to hit Billings for 25 yards down to the 13. He then scrambles (heads-up!) and lays out (gutty!) to set up ...
--4th-and-1 at the 4, and in this situation, you know what Tubby's going to do. Tate, first down, and it's Tate again on the next snap for the TOUCHDOWN, capping a 10-play, 80-yard drive as fine as any you will ever see. Auburn's offensive line--now featuring five new starters from a year ago, three of them freshman, this cannot be stressed enough--bullied Florida all over the field this possession. 14-0 Auburn. Un ... be ... lievable.
--Florida drives to the Auburn 37 before they decide to play Silly Gators again, this time with the sort of offensive lineman the term "big galoot" was invented for running over Powers for no other reason than because he's just that big a galoot. Florida winds up going for it on 4th-and-9 and Brock strips it away from Louis Murphy, causing Muschamp to go into his patented Spasms of Infinite Joy routine. Which I'm fine with--Muschamp looks like he'd be a hell of a lot of fun to play for, and that can only help.
The second half coming tomorrow.