Friday, October 26, 2007

6. Let us now praise famous men (Forward!)

Sixth and final post in a series.

I started this little rockslide of LSU posts looking at the downside of Auburn's loss, and why I'd summarize the post-game reaction amongst the Auburn faithful as much more "The Kids Are Alright" than, well, my reaction. There was so much at stake in that game--and Auburn came so damn MATT FLYNN NOOOO WE HATES HIM FOREVER close--that, personally, I know good and well I'm going to be cursing the purple-and-gold principals involved for as long as I'm going to curse the MiB-style alien inside J**n V****n's head who spilled Coke all over his control panels in 2005.

But I wouldn't care nearly as much if the Tigers hadn't shown--once and for all, as the saying goes--in their exquisite first half, and then again on that fourth quarter drive stirring enough that this post proved to be entirely appropriate, that they have gone in a few short weeks from a team that had to rally to beat New Mexico St. to one that could beat any team in the nation if the breaks fell right. There is no doubt any more; this is a terrific Auburn team, and my disappointment in the LSU defeat comes not from their performance, but that such a fine performance could still result in defeat. If they weren't this good, the stakes wouldn't have been so high. Only great teams play the kind of great games that wound this deeply, and make no mistake--this was a great, great game.

And here is the gleaming silver lining: We will see this Auburn team play five more games. At least two of them--those terrible, wonderful final two in the Amen Corner--will have similar stakes, and many could (and will) argue that this year's Iron Bowl will have even higher all-in stakes than the LSU game. I'm probably one of those fans myself. A win over 'Bama without an SEC title or an SEC title without win over 'Bama? After this particular season of Saban worship, I'll take the former. (Hat tip here to TWER for both their all-too-accurate label of "fetid" for this column and the single best pun on King Crimson's name yet generated. Somewhere, Rushdie's applauding like mad.)

I have miles and miles to go before I feel confident saying anything definitive about the outcome of the Amen Corner. But I know that this team is going to play hard, play well, and is going to go into the fourth quarter (or as I've come to call it, "Cox Time" .... though I don't call it that out loud, no, for obvious reasons) with a chance to win the game. Barring injury, there are not going to be any 37-15 beatings this year. That, I feel beyond confident about.

It's thanks to these guys:

1. Brandon Cox. 18-28, 199, 2 TD, 0 picks. Against LSU. In Death Valley. Including that ridiculous fourth-quarter drive capped the equally ridiculous all-by-itself throw to Smith, easily the single best throw of Cox's career. I don't know if Evil Brandon is dead just yet, but the doctors are looking worried and any fans of his (Ferguson?) might want to take this opportunity to say their good-byes while they can.

2. Sen'Derrick Marks, Pat Sims, Josh Thompson, Quentin Groves, Antonio Coleman. Those were the two best defensive lines in the country on the field last Saturday or my name is Van.

3. Jason Bosley. Sprained knee, out for two weeks. Oh, except he's actually going to come back and play every snap of those two weeks, on the road against Arkansas and the horrors of LSU's d-line. Why do I get the feeling we could have used more of this sort of stubbornness and determination on last year's offensive line?

4. Jerraud Powers. Forget it, Jerraud. It's Chinatown. Er, Baton Rouge.

5. Brad Lester. After another "He's back" performance (125 total yards on 21 touches) and seeing Tate, well, maybe not display quite Lester's quality of vision on a couple of plays, Auburn's got its No. 1. (Again.)

These are but five, of course, out of many, many, many that fought like Tigers last Saturday. Do I wish the same way I wish Ann Arbor had a Chick-Fil-A (i.e. like hell) that they'd come back with a win from the valley of Death? Yep. But that doesn't mean--particularly given what this team's next two or three seasons already look like--I'd trade them for any other team in America.

War Eagle.

(p.s. Disregard some of this optimism if Auburn loses to Ole Miss today. No Wish List, this week, sorry. I'm wishing for a win, preferably one that doesn't involve injuries or heart palpitations for the fans. After the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride of the past few weeks, I feel like that's all I really want.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

    I enjoyed this series, Mr. Cribbs. Good stuff, well written! I have to disgree just a little bit about one thing, though. Let's face it, our D got mauled in the second half. I don't know HOW we were still in it at the end. If LSU's guys catch a few more balls, we're on the end of a very ugly beat-down, I'm afraid. That we hung on was great, but... LSU's an amazing team. They put one on us in the second half, at least to my eyes.

    We definitely don't need to toy around with Ole Miss today. We need to jump on 'em fast, jump on 'em hard, and blow 'em out. Period.

    The best thing about the LSU game? They were loaded, loaded, loaded with seniors. Next year, we'll starting Les Miles' players, coached by Miles. It will be interesting, especially if he keeps calling those gutty/insane plays... Meanwhile, we're loaded with great freshmen and sophmores. If we can decent rookie QB play, we'll be VERY dangerous, I think!

    Well, that's all I've got right now. Time to gas up the car and head down 280 for some Rebel-bashing!

War Eagle!
Acid Reign