Friday, February 27, 2009

The Works, sighing wistfully at days gone by-style

Hey! I remember that elevator! I remember that tennis court! After spending part of this week examining the intersection of Tennessee of Auburn in terms of their hotshot coaching staffs, it's only fair to give you the following YouTube video, which is 1. borrowed from The Pigskin Pathos, a blog designed around the intersection between Auburn and Tennessee 2. made by the Auburn-attending nephew of Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin a guy whose nickname, "Griffynkins," sounds like the Lane Kiffin nickname "Kiffykins." Here it is:

No, it will probably not win the Palme d'Or, but for those of us expatriates who only get to visit Auburn's campus on the rarest of occasions, getting a quick digital video-tour wrapped up with a charming, clever conceit and curiously appropriate song ... well, it was enjoyable. Definitely enjoyable. Kudos, "Gfiffynkins."

BONUS Pathos! More than one eyewitness has said Auburn's "White-out" for Wednesday's Ole Miss game was more like, well, a scattering of light flurries. Ben explains why:
Those responsible for getting the word out about Auburn's *insert color* outs suck. The information is either presented to the students by a sign placed at the most inconspicuous corner of campus or hidden in the This Week in AU e-mail between the Asian Club's "Henna and a Movie Night" and the "Biracial Couples in France and the United States" lecture news (no joke).

It is as if the Auburn PR people are playing a giant whisper game. It starts out "Whiteout Ole Miss Wednesday night" and by the time I hear it it's "Come dressed as a non-gendered Goblin Shaman." That is a mistake you don't want to make twice.
I lol'd.

Sports galore. For starters, this is a positively massive weekend for the Auburn hoops teams as

1. the men can take a huge step towards locking up that SEC tournament bye with an easier-said-than-done win on the road at Starkville

2. the women--more importantly--can clinch the SEC title outright with a home win against Aransas. Also, they're going to be waging War on Hunger and honoring the most productive class of roundball seniors Auburn's graduated since the Robinson/Ndaiye/Pohlman crew. So, yeah, it's a pretty big day for the women.

Your quickie preview is that there's no freaking way the women blow this one on their home floor. It's not happening. As for the men, both teams are similar in the way they play, with one quality big man down low and four perimeter-oriented guys surrounding him. Whoever gets hottest from outside and wins the turnover battle will likely win the game.

On the diamond, Auburn left a whole heap of guys in scoring position and lost their series opener to Florida St. Plainsman Parking lot has your recap, as well as a wonderful new method of charting how well the season seems to be progressing.

All of this weekend's HOTT Auburn action isn't just taking place on the hardwood or diamond, though--some of it's happening on the floor of Coleman Coliseum, where the gymnastics team has what one two different articles are calling the best chance Auburn's ever had to break the Tide's gajillion-meet head-to-head winning streak. Obviously, this is a capital-B capital-D Big Deal. No time like the present, Tigers.

Aycock goes on the record. Dontae Aycock spoke to the AJC about his, ahem, interesting late switch from Georgia Tech to Auburn and Paul Johnson's decision to yank his offer in retaliation for Aycock's visit to Auburn. The sense I get from reading Aycock's comments is that he very likely was in the bag for Tech--sure, he says "When I went to Auburn, they pretty much sold me on everything. Even if they didn’t pull my scholarship, Auburn is the place I was going to go," but he's hardly going to come out and say "Well, if they'd have taken me, no way I'd still be with this team I'm on now." Sounds to me like there's still some genuine regret with how everything played out ... which, again, makes me ask if this was really worth it for Johnson and Tech. Does anyone really think Johnson just up and stopped recruiting other similar prospects because of Aycock's silent commitment, or that he didn't put any pressure on Aycock to silently (I guess) commit when he did despite his only having taken the one visit? Please. If your alleged principles are costing your team pivotal, class-making prospects, I'll be just fine if Auburn's coaches aren't quite that principled. (HT: Blutarsky)

Bubblicious. I enjoyed Jay Coulter's thoughts on the basketball teams and totally agree that it's quite the pleasant surprise to have something Auburn-related to follow and care about during these dreary months. But man, I just cannot see Auburn snagging an at-large berth to the NCAAs, no way, no how. Auburn's still a hideous 4-8 against the RPI top 100, doesn't have a single victory away from Beard-Eaves over a top-50 team, boasts an RPI of 84 (the record for worst RPI for an at-large team is still 77), and has two home defeats to sub-100 teams. Sweeping Auburn's final three games and winning out to the SEC final would improve those numbers, and give Auburn a final record of 23-11 (12-7), which would probably at least get Auburn into the conversation. But for a team whose best nonconference win is Virginia (RPI No. 99) and who plays in a league as weak as this year's SEC, it's automatic bid or bust. There's too many other teams out there with too many other good wins that Auburn doesn't have to think it's a possibility, even in the best-case scenario.

As for the rest of the SEC, LSU's good to-go and South Carolina's in decent shape, but man, I wouldn't feel great if I was any of the other SEC contenders. Tennessee has two rough road games up next, Florida has no margin for error thanks to their awful road form (Auburn's still their best away win), and Kentucky's RPI numbers and home record are equally terrible. I'll be really surprised if all three survive to the NCAAs.

Oku. A lot of Internet-grade metaphorical ink has been spilled over the Fantastical Mr. Oku since the revelation he's moved to Nebraska to be closer to his girlfriend but not as a prelude to committing to the apparently uninterested Cornhuskers. And a lot of it has not been particularly kind to Oku.

So let me say this: I agree that Oku's decisions make him appear to be more indecisive and possibly more "eccentric" than most recruits. I have to wonder about the level of parental guidance he's receiving and if the choices he's making now are the best ones for his future as a football player and person. That said, I don't know David Oku. No one who's writing about him knows David Oku. Maybe he's "crazy," maybe he's "grandstanding," maybe he's "not worth the risk." Or maybe--here's a crazy though--he's a 17-year-old kid. I don't have any idea how he's going to turn out--he could be an All-American, he could be a team-dividing bust--and neither do you. This is one of those cases where I trust my team's coaches--who have met the kid, who have met hundreds of other kids, and who very likely do have an idea as to how he'd fit in on our team--far, far more than I trust whatever fourth-hand gut information I might have. If Auburn's coaches want him around, I want him around, too.

Etc. 2010 super-recruit Jeremy Richardson is getting a handwritten note from Auburn's coaches on a daily basis, which, forgive me, doesn't sound like the sort of thing the previous regime would have made the effort for ... War Eagle Atlanta and Kyle at Dawgsports argue that Auburn and Tennessee should have switched dvisions when the SEC expanded, which kind of makes sense until you realize the horrible, scarring psychological dissonance that would result from the Tide and Tigers being in different divisions ... and Acid Reign's flashback series continues with the 2004 Sugar Bowl.

Enjoy your weekend.


Philip Arnold said...

That was a great video, kudos Nephew of Kiffykins...

Ben said...

Griffynkins isn't the actual nephew of Lane Kiffin. More like his nephew in spirit and name. Just to clear that up if there was a misunderstanding.

Thanks for the link love, Jerry. Much appreciated.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Ben, you're always welcome ... but let's do make the joke a little more obvious next time, huh? Some of us are trusting souls who enjoy taking things at face value.

Ben said...

Haha, damn my middle class southern sensibilities.

I am sorry. I felt like a deceiver.