This is not an excuse to get political in the comments, mind you, but we can all agree that this would be a better use of PBS than Italian opera broadcasts, right?
Gamblor. So the lines for Week 1 are out*. Auburn? A 12 to 13 point favorite over La. Tech. Which, um, attention Auburn players: please do not believe you are a de facto two touchdowns better than a team that went 8-5 last year and returns almost everyone. Please? Thanks.
The beat goes on. Antonio Coleman was named to the Bednarik Award watch list. This is awesome, not because it's awarded to the nation's best defensive player or because it's Coleman's third watch list mention this pre-season, but because Chuck Bednarik himself was awesome. Of the many tidbits of awesome from his Wikipedia page, this is my favorite:
Bednarik has been an outspoken, even bitter critic of today's NFL players for playing on only one side of the ball, calling them "pussyfoots", noting that they "suck air after five plays" and that they "couldn't tackle my wife Emma".See? Awesome.
BlAUgosphere. More Todd reaction, this time with Grotus Acorn weighing in in his usual style:
In that first moment of incredulity, I was tempted to write something snide and/or panicky. Sure would have been easy. But the fact of the matter is that Franklin heavily favored Todd and has since high school, Mike Leach at one point named him heir to the Red Raider stat sheet, Tuberville let him split reps with our then-heir-apparent, and now Malzahn is also buying in. Franklin, I could dismiss as a Svengali. Tuberville, I could believe he just didn't have his head in the game. Leach, I could contend that he made that decision prior to Todd's shoulder injury. But when Malzahn names Todd the starter after only seeing him in summer ball... there's just got to be something there. Maybe, just maybe, I don't know as much as Malzahn, Leach, and Franklin put together.Word. There's lots more there, on a potential Burns-vs.-Fannin duel of mismanagement, on Todd's resilience, on what the choice of Todd means for Malzahn's professed love for "smash-mouth" football. I recommend it.
Elsewhere, PPL adds some more pro-Todd thoughts.
Those who cannot remember the past? Blutarsky is less than stunned by the choice of Todd, since his chosen theme for Auburn '09 is that it's essentially a repeat of '08. To wit:
Same noodle-arm starting quarterback, same offensive philosophy, head coach with same defensive-minded background. As far as I can tell, the biggest change on the Plains is that Jimmy Sexton isn’t in the picture anymore.While he's mentioned it before, he forgot to add here "same reassurances from head coach he won't interfere in the operation of newfangled offense." I'm not going to sit here and say that the parallels aren't enough to make me at least the teensiest bit worried.
But today seems like a strange day to bring them up, since the overall handling of the quarterback situation is the clearest sign we've had yet how much difference there is between last year's offensive brain trust and this year's. Yes, both coordinators settled on Todd as their man, but last year that didn't take place until the second game of the season, only took place then because of an injury to Burns, and was met by both the participants and the team with confusion and distrust throughout the process. This year? We've got a defined starter a full three weeks before the start of the season and both the participants and the team are openly discussing how much more unified the team is over the issue than they were last year.
In short: yesterday's news makes this year's Auburn team less like the Franklin-piloted train wreck, not more.
Better late than never. I'm very, very slowly catching up with the avalanche of stuff in my Google reader after returning from the sojourn. Here's a few choice bits you should take a look at if you haven't already:
--Ron Franklin appears set to retire at the end of this season, and if that's the case, and he goes out calling anonymous afternoon ABC telecasts ... well, that's just a crying shame.
--The New York Times placed Auburn at No. 46 on the Quad's preview countdown. Prediction: 7-5. Sounds about right to me, though the contention that "if (Barrett) Trotter does make a full recovery he’ll certainly battle for snaps" was a little unusual. (Not to say that it's not a contention I'm willing to overlook after the kind shout-out.)
--Kyle King argues the SEC should scrap their Outback Bowl allegiance to return to the Gator Bowl. Kyle has plenty of great reasons to back up his argument, but I feel like all you really need to know is that one game is called the Gator Bowl like a bowl ought to be called and the other is named for an overpriced fake Australian chain restaurant.
--Rocky Top Talk previews Auburn, and just as the Vols represent a massive opportunity for Chizik to show how much his team has improved since last year, so RTT says Auburn represents the same for Lane Kiffin.
Krootin'. I feel fairly certain this is the kind of thing that's been hidden behind the paywall in the past, but for the time being, AuburnUndercover's "Megaboard" is free and is worth a perusal. Except for the offensive line section. Don't look at that.
Well, yes, I have to agree with you on that. Fun with Photoshop from Arkansas Expats:
They're busy ranking which SEC coaches they'd most like to go on a road trip with, and the Chiznick comes in ninth, since he doesn't have much of a reputation yet for being a barrel of laughs. Eh, no complaints: judging from his press conferences, even I can't say he seems like the sort of guy I'd want to spend 10 hours in a car with. At least he ranked ahead of Kiffin, Saban, and Meyer, since those guys have acquired reputations for being Class A jerks.
Enjoy your weekend.
*I didn't find this link myself, but I've lost where I found it for the hat tip. Oh well.