Thor Burk, he of the fantastic Still Saturday in Our Hearts, fills in for our humble absentee blogger.
Week 8: LSU. The Bengals won a pedestrian game over McNeese State, 32-10, putting up only 282 yards of offense with 103 in the air. But what did you expect? I jokingly predicted the final to be 22-10, which actually was the score until LSU hit a field goal with 9:32 left in the game and scored a TD right at the end. Miles and company should have obliterated this team while getting their backups lots of playing time; they won pretty comfortably, but didn’t go much further than the two deep. Expect LSU to be ready when they walk into Jordan-Hare this Saturday. Expect us to handle them.
Worry Level: Enigmatic, with a hint of corn dog.
Week 9: Ole Miss. The Rebels looked stronger in a loss to Alabama 23-10, or did Bama look weaker? The Rebels held the tide to only 319 yards of offense and Ingram to only 60 yards on the ground. It’s no secret that the Rebels are getting better as the year progresses, but they still make a lot of stupid mistakes. We should be able to get a win in Mississippi.
Worry Level: Up a bit from last week, due only to their confidence level.
Week 10: Chattanooga. The Mocs beat a strong Georgia Southern team to push their win streak to 4. Next week, they’re on the road to face the Paladins that used to be the Furman University Christian Knights, which just looks bad on a sweatshirt. Jeff Sagarin currently has the Mocs at 107 as his poll starts to even out. His formula doesn’t start to look realistic until each team has played 7 or 8 games.
Worry Level: Nil, but the Mocs are looking good for their level of competition.
Week 11: Georgia. Manhandled Vanderbilt in Sanford Stadium, 43-0, and it could have been worse since Richt called off the dogs in the 4th quarter. UGA racked up 547 yards of offense and held Vandy to 140. That’s pretty impressive, but this week they travel to Kentucky. Let’s see what they’re really made of.
Worry Level: Up some, but simmer down, they’ve beaten the two worst teams in the SEC. In Athens.
Week 12: Alabama. We all assumed Bama was going to kill Ole Miss. Instead, they pillow fought the Rebels into submission with some help from their special teams (199 yards) and the refs (12 Ole Miss penalties) on the way to a 23-10 win. The South Carolina game was not an aberration; this team actually may not be any better than anyone in the SEC. They held a bad Ole Miss team to 243 yards and 10 points, but only scored 23… Ole Miss had been giving up 32.6 ppg, and the defending national champs only put up 23 points in their home stadium?
Worry Level: Down to a winnable level.
THE CONQUERED (AND THE CONQUERORS)
Arkansas St. (2-5) Lost a tough one on the road to Indiana, 36-34. This week they host the Florida Atlantic Owls.
Mississippi State (5-2) Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs went down to Gainesville and beat the Gators, 10-7, in a beautiful defensive struggle. The Gators missed two field goals down the stretch including one that would have sent the game to overtime, but give State credit — they ran all over Florida and pushed them around in the second half. Florida couldn’t stop then when they needed to. The Bullies racked up 212 on the ground and held on at the end. Good for State.
Clemson (3-3) Kyle Parker is still hurt and playing terribly (7/20 passing), but Clemson still whipped Maryland 31-7.
South Carolina (4-2) lost a 31-28 heartbreaker on an INT with seconds left on the clock. This is why Spurrier is always angry with Senor Garcia; he needed to throw that ball away if his man were covered, then they kick the field goal and go to OT. Garcia’s insistence on always trying to do everything himself loses games.
Louisiana Monroe (3-3) beat Western Kentucky, 35-30. WKU is still new to the FBS and may be the worst team in the country (yes, even worse than Eastern Michigan).
Kentucky (4-3) beat South Carolina, 31-28, in Lexington, now they host the Georgia Bulldogs. If UK wins they are in the mix for the SEC East.
THE OVERALL PICTURE
After scoring 65 points against Arkansas, Auburn fans have to be feeling good right now. LSU’s offense may seem terrible, but they are 68th in total offense, not in 100’s as I was expecting. Their defense is good, but Auburn has chewed up other good defenses this year and I don’t see anything different happening this weekend. If our defense can get some 3 and out’s, this game won’t be in question. If we make their terrible QB look like Drew Brees, it’ll be another 4 hour score fest.
FYI, LSU is 68th in offensive yards – BUT, they are 92nd in yards per game. BIG difference. They have played 7 games – while many have played 6.
For comparisons sake (yards per game)
AU Offense: 9th
LSU Defense: 3rd
LSU Offense: 92nd
AU Defense: 64th
I am still unhappy with the offensive progression, but the Bama D did play pretty well all things considered. Ole Miss had been able to score points, including scoring more than you fine folks against Kentucky.
As for the pillow fight…. it is to be expected a littlebit, given the injury situation as of right now. I think the Alabama team in Baton Rouge will be a bit closer to what you should expect on Thanksgiving instead of this one.
Biggest concern is a lack of intensity on offense as a whole. The D played with more fire for sure, but that offensive desire really just turned off in the 2nd half again.
Jvo, stats are meaningless when it comes to Les Miles…
With Etheridge out and Bell questionable, what’s our defensive backfield going to look like? Have we seen any real play from Means, Davis or Mincy yet?
If I’m not mistaken, AUSki- -Davis has come on the field in Dime situations, and he was the one standing there in the endzone as Alshon Jeffrey skied over him for one of the USCAR TD’s. Good position, but too short to do much about it.
Means got in the game against Arky, but I believe it was only after Savage left, and McNeil needed a break. In other words, only in that last drive where it really didn’t matter the outcome as long as timed burned. So, not alot to go on there.
I’ve read that Mincy is deep in the doghouse, and will likely be a redshirt candidate. He wears the same number as Goodwin (who blocked the punt) leading more than few folks in my corner of the stands to be confused. But I don’t think Mincy has seen the field yet this year.
I think one of the potential surprises will be Anthony Gulley Morgan. He made the full time switch to CB back in the spring/fall- -and he has plenty of speed, but not sure if he’s been able to refine his coverage skills. He may have to learn ALOT in a week.
TideDruid, didn’t McElroy have an October “swoon” last year too? I think we can all remember how he emerged out of that once November rolled around.
We are going to beat LSU, handily if we get any turnovers from the defense and minimal penalties on both sides of the ball. They won’t be the first good defense to walk into JH this season and walk out several pegs down on the national defensive rankings. south carolina and arkansas were supposed to be good defenses according to the stats and got RUN thru the shredder that is the AU offense. Yeah, LSU is probably on a little different level than those two, but the only thing that will stop our offense is penalties and turnovers…not pesky D linemen and LBs. The miles mojo will be a non-factor this week.
Corndogs-27 (and that might be generous)
Thor, I look forward to this column every week. I always like to see your views on the upcoming games because you seem to be pretty on target with your assessments.
He did indeed. Honestly, I don’t blame him as much as the unit’s performance as a whole. He does have his limits, but he generally plays smart football compared to how JPW used to run things. Still, I wish his reads didn’t take so long sometimes. (Oddly enough, the first offense play was a QB zone read).
I also think the Heisman race is down to Newton and James from Oregon, as it probably should be. Moore from Boise is a good QB, but he certainly isn’t running into anything amazing on defense.
I also think if Auburn scores 30 or so they will win. LSU has Jarrett Lee…. who is still what we thought he was. (Denny Green it!)
Druid, I’m pretty sure lee was the backup QB that lit us up 2 years ago similar to the arky QB. I think hatch started and then lee came in and looked like a champ. hopefully that doesn’t happen saturday, but if memory serves he had a great day in JH before.
Well…. that is true. I still remember his streak of interceptions from a 2008 and even some in 2009. I keep thinking something like that will happen again.
he looked like hell against everyone but us. I’m hoping that voodoo spirit doesn’t get into him again.
Look for him at safety.
Look for Drew Cole at safety.
Alex P in Smyrna G says
Honestly, can the secondary backups be any worse than the guys they are replacing? The fact that Means is a walk-on is the only legit concern I have. Other than that, I don’t expect it to be much different.
If the 2010 recruiting emphasis was on the OL, then the 2011 emphasis should be on top-flight DB prospects.
On the bright side, Auburn has played the best QB/Receiver combo they will see all year and passed the test. If the offense can keep trucking, then they can still beat anyone on the schedule.
Any word on Dyer’s status for Saturday?
Snazzy Dyer T @ http://www.zazzle.com/dyer_for_hire_tshirt-235550264653949871?gl=justinburleson&group=mens&lifestyle=classic&rf=238099417867520450