The one good thing about the game is that I don’t need to watch the replay.
Daily Archives: November 11, 2017
[Ed. note: Since everybody and their brother has posted that video this week, I figure I might as well join the club.]
I’m about to head out for the loveliest village on the plains, and while I’ll be journeying by car rather than truck, I can confirm that I don’t care much for Auburn today.
I think Georgia’s the better of the two teams, and I’m not saying that out of a mere sense of homerism. The won-loss records count. Both Georgia and Auburn kicked Mississippi State’s ass, but Auburn’s turn against a top five team didn’t go as well as Georgia’s did, nor have the Dawgs blown a 20-point lead to a team that lost to Troy.
I also think the intangibles favor the Dawgs. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be coaching from a position of taking care of business as has been the case all season than from one of concern about the temperature of one’s seat. (Please don’t try to insist that Malzahn’s got that blocked out of his mind today.)
Auburn is plenty talented, though, as talented as any team the Dawgs have faced this season. Not only that, but if you’re a Georgia fan, the memory of Gus’ rabbit’s foot is never far from your mind.
That being said, if that appendage doesn’t miraculously appear, I think this game boils down to something Georgia’s done extremely well all season, namely, come out from halftime with the necessary adjustments made to control the game in the third quarter.
Dawgs win and cover. Comment away, peeps.
Given this stat…
5 Victories without a loss for Auburn in games between teams ranked in The Associated Press poll at Jordan-Hare Stadium under coach Gus Malzahn, with the Tigers scoring at least 34 points in every contest. No. 2 Georgia and No. 10 Auburn square off on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. No. 7 Auburn beat No. 25 Georgia 43-38 and No. 4 Auburn beat No. 1 Alabama 34-28 in 2013, No. 5 Auburn beat No. 14 LSU 41-7 in 2014, No. 21 Auburn beat No. 17 Arkansas 56-3 in 2016 and No. 13 Auburn beat No. 24 Mississippi State 49-10 in 2017.
… I can understand why Kirby prefers to focus on the here and now.
First, from the Plains:
“Obviously last year was an extremely tough loss, the fact that they won the game and didn’t have an offensive touchdown,” head coach Gus Malzahn said. “This is one we’ve been waiting on. I know our players and our coaches are excited about it, and it’s a great opportunity for us and for our program, playing one of the best teams on our home field.”
Auburn’s yardage total at Samford Stadium was its lowest total under Malzahn, but that number was eclipsed in ineptitude this season at Clemson. Malzahn, who has lost his last three games to Georgia and needed a miracle pass in 2013 to pull out his only victory against Bulldogs, said he hasn’t even had to bring up the disaster that occurred last season as motivation.
“It probably motivates the fact that it was a tough loss. That’s what motivates players,” Malzahn said. “And the opportunity this year motivates players. You don’t dwell on the specifics, but you can use things to motivate you. The bottom line is the opportunity is what’s before our players.”
And here’s Kirby’s eloquent rebuttal.
Here’s another quotation: “Why would any game in the past with Auburn have anything to do with this game?” That easily could have come either from Smart or, of course, Alabama Coach Nick Saban, and it came from Smart, on Monday. It’s often hard to believe these utterances come in the Southeast — where every game in the past with Auburn is still being played (especially that one in 2013), and will continue to be played in perpetuity — but that’s the shrewd football thinking of the moment. It’s also a reminder that while these coaches are characters in a public narrative, they often dwell in a denial that they’re characters in a public narrative.
Remember, it’s not true denial if you really believe it, and I think Smart’s got his players doing just that. Plus, see the QOTD — these kids know what they have in front of them if they can maintain their focus and their humility. It’s worked like a charm so far.
Besides that, there’s only one coach today who’s had to protest that the game “isn’t about me”. If mindset makes a difference, I’m liking what Georgia’s bringing to Auburn.
I honestly don’t mean this in a snarky way — Auburn is clearly a tough test for Georgia today — but where does the easy assurance that the two teams are “incredibly evenly matched” come from?
It can’t be the seasonal resume.
… Many were surprised when Georgia topped Alabama in the first CFP poll, but the 9-0 Bulldogs already own a road-win against a top-three team (Notre Dame) and have a 29-point average margin of victory in six conference games. It’s hard to knock Auburn (7-2) for its two losses — 14-6 at then-no. 3 Clemson; 27-23 at LSU — as they came on the road against quality teams. But they also don’t have a win over anyone near Georgia’s level. LSU was able to put up 157 rush yards on the Tigers vaunted defense a few weeks back, and Georgia’s run-first attack should be able to emulate that success and eke out a narrow win in a relatively low-scoring game.
True, Auburn has the home field, but we’ve seen that’s of relatively minor importance in the series. I do think it will not be a shoot-out and that likely means the score is kept relatively close. I just don’t get why evenness is so obvious. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Here’s a deep dive into what Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham brings to the table. You’ve got to be impressed with that arm. But he can be rattled.
You have to think Tucker’s going to have a few exotic blitzes nobody’s seen before ready to dial up. Should make for an interesting afternoon.