Plainslinks sighs and puts the records on the shelf

I know, I know, he's injured rather than sick. It's still too perfect not to use.

I know, I know, he's injured rather than sick. It's still too perfect not to use.

Torowatch. The last three weeks have felt a bit anticlimactic from the Eltoro “The Toro” Freeman standpoint, haven’t they? Freeman spent the entire offseason seemingly on an unstoppable collision course with becoming the next great Auburn defensive fan favorite, only for arm and hamstring injuries to keep him off the practice field for the run-up to the opener and then on the sidelines (or, rather, off of them) for the Tech game itself as well. With guys like McCalebb, Bates, and even Toro-replacement Adam Herring getting the new hottness treatment and much of the fan buzz centering on the exciting new worlds opened up Spread Eagle 2.0, doesn’t The Toro seem just a little bit forgotten?

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem likely to change this week:

After missing the first game, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Thursday he’s still not sure if starting linebacker Eltoro Freeman will be back from his hamstring injury in time for Saturday’s SEC opener against Mississippi State.

“It’s been one of those situations where it’s looked like he’s close…but we don’t want to have him go out there too early and he misses another three weeks or a month,” Chizik said.

If I’m reading my coachspeak-to-English dictionary correctly, he ain’t playing tomorrow.

The WBE official opinion: Good. Very good, in fact. If you read yesterday’s analysis post, you know I’m not sold yet on Herring as a viable long-term option at our other outside linebacker spot. But am I sold on him as an option against Mississippi St.?

Well, not to spoil my State preview (coming later today! Don’t touch that dial!) but yes, if Auburn can handle Tech the way they did while throwing away a couple of offensive possessions and taking a half to wake up defensively, the Tigers should be able to manage the Bulldogs at home–Toro or no Toro. But West Virginia? With Noel Devine? And Jock Sanders? And all those other shifty little dudes RichRod recruited there before taking off for Ann Arbor? We’re going to need The Toro and we’re going to need him healthy. Unless State is much, much better than I’m expecting, there’s no sense in risking him for that game to play him in this one–especially since the straight-ahead Tony Dixon seems like a better match-up than most for Herring’s skill set anyway.

So as much as I’m ready to see him in action and fulfill his destiny as the Tray Blackmon we never really saw, yeah I’m kind of happy to hear The Toro is (probably) going to take another week. Good things come, etc. etc.

Guess Auburn had better get to work on turning that spread around sooner rather than later, huh? It might sound strange to tell Iron Bowl fans that they need to take a look at this Wall Street Journal article on the surprising history of underdogs in the Michigan-Notre Dame series, but look the the number at the bottom left-hand corner of this attached table:

wsj

Yep: 17 out of the last 20 years, the team favored by Vegas to win the Iron Bowl has gone ahead and won it, a stunningly high number when you consider that the two teams have been near-equals over that span (the tally: Auburn 11, ‘Bama 9). So the next time you hear an announcer tell you to “throw out the records” in the Iron Bowl, remember that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about–those records are going to be a pretty damn indicator of who’s going to win the game.

Except for this year, of course, when they will have no bearing on the outcome whatsoever.  (HT to friend-o’-the-blog Greg at MVictors.)

Not an out-of-shape tight end. Tommy Trott played 77 of Auburn’s 79 offensive snaps Saturday. Let’s throw the poor guy a bone next time, huh? (A bone in the shape of a pass, I mean. Because he didn’t catch one. A pass. Not a bone. You know what I’m saying.)

Two quick  Auburn coaching notes: Malzahn thinks Todd still has room to improve (though what else would he say?) and Taylor is allegedly adjusting to life on the sideline (though, uh, I’m 100 percent certain that’s where he was for Okie St. last year).

You, sir–I like the cut of your jib. I don’t think the obsessives who worship at the shrine of recruiting put nearly as much stock in Tom Lemming’s opinions as they might have in the guru biz’s early days, but clearly, any man who will rank Auburn receiver commitment Jeremy Richardson the No. 19 prospect in the country is an underappreciated genius. (Seriously, while I kind of doubt that Richardson is quite that spectacular–though hey, no reason he couldn’t be–Lemming’s opinion certainly counts for something. More reason to buy Rivals’ evaluation than Scout’s, is what I’m saying.)

HT to Beaver, who has the rundown of the other Auburn targets in Lemmings’ top 100.

Now that’s funny. But not for the reasons you think. I thought about breaking down exactly why this attempted bit of satire from the hilariously awful Capstone Report was such hilariously epic FAIL–Virginia Tech is a stronger, stouter version of Louisiana Tech, the same way a stronger, stouter version of a housecat is, um, a bulldozer–but instead I’ll just say that the Iron Bowl now has its own official version of “Cow Tools” or “That was an incredible nap!”, and leave it at that.

Etc. Blutarsky offers a comprehensive preview of the Carolina-Georgia game … and via TNIAAM, for you children of the ’80s out there, it’s a Super Mario Bros. text generator. I gave it a spin:

thankyoumario(5)OK, one more:

thankyoumario(2)

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