Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Putting Georgia to bed

"On second thought, maybe importing those satin curtains from Bhutan was a little hasty."

A few last thoughts before moving into full-on Iron Bowl mode:

--I honestly expected there to be a little bit more low-key grumbling from Dawg fans and other interested neutrals about the questionable-at-best, just-another-symbol-of-this-whole-daggum-country-going-soft at worst personal foul calls that gave Auburn a helping hand on their two touchdown drives. But there's been some, and it's worth noting that if it's fair to say Auburn lived by this particular sword, they died by it, too.

Why? They key moment of this game was Georgia's drive immediately following Byrum's field goal to put Auburn up 20-17. It's easy to forget, but Auburn had every drop of momentum at that point, on both sides of the ball. To borrow SMQ's summary, "Georgia went through a ten-minute, four possession stretch in the second and third quarters in which it collectively went backwards, -4 yards on 14 plays, and failed to gain a first down." Antonio Coleman then started the next possession by tackling Moreno for a three-yard loss. And Stafford threw incomplete on second and the Dawgs had an ineligible receiver downfield. This is most likely 3rd-and-13, or possibly 2nd-and-even-longer.

Except, of course, for the halfhearted shove near the sideline and subsequent roughing the passer call against Sen'Derrick Marks (though it may have been Pat Sims ... I deleted the recording off my DVR the instant the game was finished for what I believe to be understandable reasons, and the official PBP is no help) every bit as sketchy, ticky-tack, effeminate, whatever, as the ones against Georgia. Say this for the refs: they were consistent. (Of course, that's the only positive thing I can say regarding these calls, which belong squarely in the "QBs = Ratings!" world of the NFL and nowhere else.)

So the Dawgs faced 2nd-and-13 after the offsetting penalties rather than 3rd-and-13. On the next snap Sean Bailey beat man coverage, Stafford found him for a 45-yard gain, and it was nothing but Dawg touchdowns and the Soulja Boy from there.

Now, the way that game went, it's certainly appropriate to have expected Georgia to convert 3rd-and-13 as easily as they converted 2nd-and-13 ... but then again, maybe Auburn's not in man, maybe they force that punt, maybe this winds up a completely different game. Probably not, of course, but maybe. My point is simply that Bailey's catch was the play on which the direction of the game turned, and that catch was set up in part by the same type of officiating decision that I'm sure Georgia fans were cursing to high heaven just moments before. Just think that ought to be taken into account, is all.

--Funny how two reporters can come out of the same press conference with such violently different reactions. Jay G. Tate comes away from Tubby's Sunday presser claiming Tubby "didn't address the A&M situation despite a very blunt and direct question"; Phillip Marshall instead said Tubby "was vehement again Sunday in insisting that (the A&M situation) wasn't (a distraction)." Tate called the entire thing "weird" and "awkward"; Marshall made no mention of Tubby's demeanor or attitude.

My reaction to Tate's little piece was, well ... maybe this thing has legs after all. I really, honestly, truly still believe and always have that Tubby will still be on Auburn's sideline next year. I still very much want him to be there. But Marshall is so close to the program (and always has been, which is fine, a good thing in many cases) that I trust Tate more than I do him when it comes to giving us details like Tubby's aloofness during a presser. And there's also of course the damning evidence of the Georgia game tape. And then last night even Marshall tells us the landscape has changed. Uh-oh.

Not to criticize or second-guess the whole Tubby hire, but this is a hazard of hiring a coach away from a peer institution; if he's willing to talk to you while coaching another school, he's going to be willing to talk to other schools when he's coaching you, too. I suppose I'm in the same boat with Marshall--still confident it gets worked out, but the tea leaves say nothing's certain any more. 9,000 square feet or not.

--I wholeheartedly agree with Senator Blutarsky when he says any Auburn fans who soiled their knickers or let their monocle slip and cried "Well, I never!" when confronted with those wretchedly uncouth dance-like maneuvers along the Dawg sideline need to lighten the hell up. The way to make Georgia regret pulling a black-jersey gimmick or a celebratory jig on the sideline is to beat their ass for it on the field, not to whine about it between bites of cucumber sandwich after the fact, particularly when our own team has broken out the victory cigars on an opponent's field in the not-so-distant past. Orson's right: strangely enough, it's only those on the wrong end of the scoreboard complaining about about their opponent's "class."

--Lastly, wanted to answer a solid question from Buford in the excellent "Blindsided" comment thread: "Were you really blindsided? Honestly? I think I saw it posted somewhere that about every eight games, we have a blowout loss (loss by more than 17 points). Since the Georgia game last year, it hadn't happened, so we were due. And yes, I understand the sentiment that we all thought we were past that phase."

Yes, and two reasons why: First, there's the whiplash from seeing a three-point lead metamorphose into a 25-point loss in less time than it takes to make dry toast. My neck is still a bit sore. I'm thinking of suing.

Secondly, and more importantly, it's been a long time since Auburn's lost a game like that one by a margin like that one. Yes, Georgia beat us this badly just last year, and so did Arkansas. Going back to 2006 there's the Wisconsin bowl fiasco and a two-TD loss to Reggie Ball, in retrospect, is just as ugly. But in all of those games Auburn was the favorite. In all of those games, Auburn was either at home or on a neutral field. The last time Auburn entered an opponent's stadium as an underdog and left with this kind of beatdown was, drumroll please, the Georgia game back in 2003. It's been three full seasons since Auburn's suffered a result like this, and yes, after the LSU game I was naive enough to think those days were over, or at the very least weren't coming back this particular season. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. And being that wrong ... yeah, I think "blindsided" is still the right word.

11 comments:

DavetheDawg said...

Excellent post and blog. I was directed over here by MaconDawg over at T. Kyle King's blog.

You're absolutely right about the Black Shirts. Had Georgia once again choked at home against El Tigre...and I did have some wickedly bad Auburn memories 'tween the hedges creepin' in...those black shirts would've been burned, Nike would have been sued for sending 'em our way in the first place...and Soulja Boy would've been replaced by a song that perhaps Cliff Huxtable would've approved.

Anyway, good luck against 'Bama. Nick Saban must be destroyed.

Richard said...

Thanks davethedawg for the best wishes. That's all we have left of this season and we will destroy the SabaNation or die trying.
Thanks for the 'good-night' post Jerry. Yep, SEC football could be renamed 'momentum-football' because every team wins or loses with the way they handle the momentum swings during a game. We didn't and lost. No big revelation there, but it's easy to forget when the tech analysts come in to dissect the corpse.
So, here we are 'because, lads, we are the only ones here'. Let's kill Bama once more for the sheer joy of it!

War Eagle!

SCTiger

KennyBanya said...

Its starting to sound and feel pretty strange around Auburn football right now.

Maybe its because this is a bye week and all the focus is not on the opponent up the road.

Maybe its because Tubs is just taking Sexton's advice and trying to use the leverage for a raise.

Or maybe this thing has legs. Tubs is acting weird, he looks more tired and testy than normal. I really wish he would meet with Jacobs this week and finish it. It makes too much sense to do that - unless one side isn't all that enamored with getting it done.

If Auburn doesn't show up and at least play well on Nov. 24th then its going to get UGLY.

K dog said...

If A & M still wants him, I'm fine with Tubby going. He's not the only coach on the planet and he's pretty much put together 1 good season in 9. I don't think we should pay him a penny more.

Let's go after the Boise St. coach or Paul Johnson the Navy coach.

Tubby will never properly motivate and prepare a team to WIN, week after week.

J.M. said...

Riddle me this Batman:

So I'm going through the Georgia blogs out there in the Wide, Wide World of Blog and at least five of them say "I hate Auburn" in a very personal way, but never really explain. Why is that?

If you would ask Auburn fans their opinion of Georgia, most see it as a great game and healthy rivalry but on a level of hatred -- most Tiger fans are like "meh."

Buford T. Justice said...

Hey thanks for the link Jerry. Of course, we haven't posted in forever. No, we have no good excuses, just jobs, kids, etc. Junior and I might have to get off our butts and put some new material up. And by new material I mean fart jokes and pictures of half-naked women....like there isn't enough of that on the internet already.

J.M., oh I hate Georgia just as much as Kyle hates Auburn. In fact, though it might be blasphemous to say, I may hate Georgia more than Alabama. However, I understand the friendly rivalry type thing. Perhaps fans of the two schools see a lot of themselves in each other. I don't know.

jrsuicide said...

bring me the head of Bobby Petrino. he's probably tired of the whole sucking in the NFL thing by now. honestly if Tubbs heads for the medicore A&M job then screw him. if he left us for Miami or the Dallas Cowboys then i'd have to say, "i understand that" but A&M??? seriously?

Anonymous said...

tubby isn't going anywhere. auburn has some serious talent coming back next year (most of our production comes from underclassmen). if tubby is going to win a big one, it will be over the next 3 years. auburn wants tubby until he retires, tubby wants to be there until he retires. tubby wants raises for his assistants, and upgraded facilities. tubbs is holding out for said items, and i'm sure, a small raise for himself. i'm 95% certain tubbs will be at auburn next year. with that being said, i wouldn't bat an eye if tubbs left and we replaced him with the ole ball coach.

btw,
you should check out the 2008 schedule. 2 off weeks (1 excellently planned the week before the bama game) and a road trip on week 2 to none other than West Virginia.

-adam

jrsuicide said...

that WV game is scary. White and Slaton in their senior seasons looking to finally get some serious considering from the national media in their quest for a BCS title. a win over one the the SEC's elite teams would make people pay notice. the Tigers will be talented, but will Burns be ready to step in? questions?

davethedawg said...

j.m.

Guilty as charged.

However, my "hatred" of Auburn is simply tongue-in-cheek. It's really code for, "I really respect Auburn because they've stuck us a few times when the conference title was on-the-line."

Incidentally, I went to grad school in Tuscaloosa. I was a closet Tiger in '89 and '90. There was just something about the sense of entitlement over there that got to me.

Good luck in 10 days.

Richard said...

Oh, this is just too good not to post:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXD78PvYwBg

Tell me, just tell me this is a joke and not real!