Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Works, more than horses-style

Anyone who's read this blog for any length of time probably knows that yours truly is a fan of two things without much topical overlap, namely Auburn football and indie-rock. There's just not that much reason anyone would ever connect, say, Gene Chizik and brilliant 2003 one-off The Unicorns.

But see, that's where beautifully psychotic blogs like Black Heart, Gold Pants come in (that's Iowa St. athletic director/incontrovertible toolbag Jamie Pollard on the right):

Sweet, dude.

Wait, we still play football? Not too much going on in the world of Auburn football these days--it is March, after all--but there's been a couple of things, like the new staff's first Junior Day. Unfortunately, the event passed without an offer for/commitment from Tremendous Campbell-Scott, but otherwise reviews seemed to be positive. More info here and here.

Auburn's Pro Day was yesterday, and if maybe I don't get involved with Auburn grads' NFL careers or prospects as much as I should, obviously it's more than a little important to the players themselves:
Lester was so anxious leading in to the workouts, he threw up three times. "I was so nervous because I knew how much today could help me potentially get drafted," he said.
That link has a ton of quotes from and photos of the players involved. One guy I will be watching is Tez Doolittle--apparently he measured out well and may go as high as the fourth round. There's a story for you. Lots more goodness from Bitter here and from Jay Tate here.

Also: spring practice opens up two weeks from now.

Oh yeah, the Arkansas State thing. The cool million that the Indians Red Wolves will earn for their ritual beating (uh ... hopefully) in Jordan-Hare has somehow bubbled up all the way to Orson's radar, I guess since it's a milestone of some kind. So Sun Belt teams can now charge $1,000,000 instead of $975,000. One suspects the real reason Orson mentions it is to take a shot at Auburn's scheduling practices, which aren't particularly courageous, sure, but at least we've still got West F'in Virginia on the slate for this year and Clemson on deck in 2010. We're not exactly Bill Snyder-era Kansas St., Texas Tech, LSU in 2008, etc.

Hoopslinks. Auburn's slim bubble hopes took a body blow last night as Cleveland St. edged Butler in a classic final to the Horizon tourney, moving the bubble cut-off one spot higher and lengthening the Tiger's bubble odds just a little bit more.

The worse news from the JCCW's at-large-skeptical perspective, however, is that Auburn can no longer expect to have any kind of "element of surprise" in Tampa. Several of ESPN's talking heads have been discussing Auburn seriously the last few days--color guy Jimmy Dykes named Auburn one of his four or five teams "you don't want to face" in the NCAAs during a telecast Monday, and at halftime of the Horizon game Doug Gottlieb called the potential Auburn-Florida tilt a "play-in/play-out" game--and the buzz is building around the SEC tourney chances. Pat Forde picked them to win the thing, for instance, echoing a lot of "team to watch" chatter around the Interwebs. Like this from MSNBC's Beyond the Arc blog, for example.

Me, I don't like it. Auburn's won eight of their last nine mostly because they were a good team hiding in the loss to Mercer's clothing all along, but also because they were hungry and angry and wounded and nobody--present company most certainly included--believed they had this run in them. Will they still play that way when everybody believes they do have an SEC tourney run in them?

But hey, let's look on the positive side: Vot Barber was named second-team All-SEC and the SEC Player of the Week. And at least one neutrally-affiliated writer seems to like Auburn's at-large chances better than I do.

As expected. The latest women's Bracketology update by Mr. Charlie Creme drops Auburn to a 2 seed, but not so far they wind up in UConn or Oklahoma's region. So it could be worse, at least from Creme's point-of-view, not that that really means anything. We find out on Selection Monday.

While we're mentioning women's hoops, take some time to check out the SEC tournament-long "Five Things" commentary from OA-News writers Andrew Gribble and Mike Svetitz, which provided a nice little slice-o'-tournament life perspective. A sample:
3. I caught up with AU women’s head coach Nell Fortner after Auburn’s win Saturday and asked her what she thought about Jeff Lebo and the Auburn men’s basketball team, who have won eight out of their last nine games to finish the SEC regular season 10-6 after starting 2-5. Fortner was all too happy to oblige.

“He’s coach of the year in the SEC,” she said about Lebo. “Have they voted? When does their vote come out? Who else would get coach of the year? Serious.

“I’m so proud. I’m so happy for them. He’s a great coach. He’s a great coach. He’s had some tough breaks at Auburn. But now the kids are healthy, they’re totally bought in and they’re, man, they’re just ballin.’

BlAUgosphere. Hey, there's a worthwhile new Auburn blog out there: Somewhere in Section 25. They watched the Auburn-LSU game in New Orleans of all places (corn dogs reerence: check) and had this to say about Barber:
I'm developing a man-crush on Korvotney Barber. During the game I attempted to yell "good play, Vot!" but what actually came out was "I wanna move to Vermont and adopt a child with you, Vot!" I was as surprised as anyone else to hear it, but I need to face facts: being the only player in the league to average a double-double is awesome. I think the "Player of the Week" performance pushed it over the edge.
Good stuff. As was the Pathos's jean short-related experience at the Davis Cup in Birmingham.

Baseball! Auburn pulled out the MAX Capital City Classic over Alabama 8-7 last night with a two-run ninth. What is the MAX Capital City Classic, why are Auburn and Alabama playing it, and why doesn't it count in the SEC standings? Ask Plainsman Parking Lot, and while you're visiting the PPL you can get the lowdown on the sweep of Brown as well. What can Brown do for you? Stretch your baseball team's winning streak to seven games! Har har har har har har har!

Speaking of the baseball team, the tale of Joseph Sanders--Auburn baseball star by day, rabid Tide football fan by night--is a strange one, but given that I personally know a handful of Tide fans who went to Auburn and a handful of Tiger fans who went to Tuscaloosa, maybe it's not so weird. Kudos to him for having the cojones to open up about his shameful (read: not actually shameful) secret life. Besides: Sanders isn't exactly shattering the old stereotype about the Tide fan who's way more into the football team than the university, huh? So more power to him!


tiger7_88 said...

Jerry, I see where you are coming from with the better to be a "good team in hiding" thing. Really, I do. Heck, us Auburn folk ought to copyright "Underdog" since we've always been more comfortable in that role anyway.

But here is how I see it... if Auburn really is a deserving NCAA tournament team (like I like to think we are) then I think it would behoove us to be more than "it's just an honor to be here" team and actually win a game or two when we get there. And if we want to do that, we better start being able to play better when we HAVE expectations rather than playing better when we have none.

Just my two cents. It's nice and balmy down here in Atlanta (almost 80 today). How are things up there? :-)

Jerry Hinnen said...

tiger7, you're absolutely right. Agree 100 percent. I'm certainly not trying to make excuses for them if they lose--if they do, it's not because expectations got bigger, it'll be because they weren't good enough. I just liked their odds better when they were under the radar.

And we've got scattered snow flurries today in Ann Arbor, so that should tell you something about how far away "spring" is up here.