It is what it is folks. Give Auburn credit, they played a heck of a game defensively. Both Wilson and Cox actually played similar games (rushed for TDs, threw 1 INT each, and had around 115 yards passing each). But, defensive battles like these usually come down to who makes the fewest mistakes. The refs stunk for both sides, but we had other opportunities to make some offensive plays (D.J. easy catch that was bobbled comes to mind).
This defense gets an A for their performance this season. They were among the thinnest in the SEC in terms of depth, and Saban got these guys playing extremely well. They were forced to play so many minutes this season, and they did a good job with what they had.
The same cannot be said for the offense. With a decent amount of talent returning, they reverted back to their previous form of years past with sad performances after scoring 41 on UT (12, 14, & 10 points in the last 3 games). The Textbook situation hurt us more than most people may admit. Without those guys, people like Chris Capps and Terry Grant had to play more minutes than they should have. This led to constant position changes in the O-line and Grant being hurt for Auburn since he took such a beating as the main runner.
As for coaching, I would say both head coaches called pretty similar games to be honest with you. Home field advantage mixed with good Senior leadership in key positions won this game for the Tigers. Obviously, we have to win in Tuscaloosa next season. Auburn will have a rookie QB with a group of average at best receivers. Their strength will be to run, run, run, with Burns and Tate…. maybe Fannin too. I don’t know what kind of passer Burns really is, but I imagine he’ll try to run more. Auburn fans hope for him to be another Tim Tebow, but I highly doubt it. He’ll do well, but Tim Tebow is in a league of his own right now.
Recruiting must be priority #1 for Alabama this season. Coach Saban will be able to offer immediate playing time for many different positions in 2008, meaning that we should work hard on the top talent. Julio Jones is rumored to be a slight Alabama lean, so we need to keep out best recruiters on him. With Brown and Hall graduating, there will be plenty of time for Jones to play in ’08. We gotta keep him from FSU, LSU, and Auburn to a certain extent.
John Parker Wilson played about as well as he could with almost no blocking. Caldwell and the other Textbookers looked lost out there half the time. ESPN noticed this, taking the time to give us a replay of every time Caldwell and others got confused and never blocked anybody.
So basically, here is what I think of this game if you want to skip all of what I said above: Auburn didn’t win because of fancy play calling, superstar athletes, or extra prep time. Auburn won because they didn’t make as many mistakes, which is what it takes to win big time games like this one. I don’t view this as an excuse, I view this as a major part of every single game out there: if you make the fewest mistakes, chances are good for a victory. It’s called leadership and discipline. Congrats Tigers, we’ll see ya on the recruiting trail.
Let’s take a look at a few other games and situations.
One does have to wonder if Les Miles is going to take the permanent trip up to Ann Arbor, Michigan to coach the Wolverines. After having his national title hopes shot down by Are-Kansas, Miles shouldn’t have too many people trying to keep him in Baton Rouge. LSU has recruited well since Miles has arrived, and should be able to attract a quality coach. I imagine there will be a call to Nick Saban, although I don’t know if he would want to go coach for a fan base that just spent a year calling him “Satan” and “O’Saban Been Lyin”.
All aboard for Ann Arbor
I went to a local sports bar to find the Alabama alumni base watching the game. I actually had a nice conversation with a Tennessee student of all people, who claims that the Vols still hate Fulmer. He doesn’t like the fact that this year’s team made it to Atlanta. I personally think that UT has an excellent chance of winning the game next weekend, but we shall see.
Speaking of that sports bar, I saw the finish of the South Carolina game and most of the Kansas @ Mizzou game as well. Missouri looked mighty impressive from what I saw of them. I don’t know if they can beat Oklahoma, but it would be interesting to see what Chase Daniels could do against West Virginia. As for USC…. I feel your pain my friends….. I feel your pain. It always takes oh, a lifetime to get over endings like that one.
Ole Miss fired Oregeron, which saddens me almost as much as this Iron Bowl loss. We need great personalities in the SEC, and we may lose three of the better ones in O, Nutt, and Miles. Sure, Saban gets attention, but not in that “oh how funny and crazy” kind of way. Tuberville is too busy trying to look like an educated college professor on the sidelines, and Sly Croom isn’t the kind of guy to speak out unless the other team is named Alabama.
For those of you that care, I did catch a decent amount of fish today. I had 12 total catches, but only 4-5 keepers at most. It was blistering cold out there. Even though I dressed in layers, it still cut right through me when the boat got up to full speed on that lake. I enjoyed the fishing in North Carolina, and would like to do it again with decent weather.