Thor Burk, he of the fantastic Still Saturday in Our Hearts, fills in for our humble absentee blogger.
Week 7: Arkansas. The Hogs checked out at halftime, only gaining 105 yards and 3 points in the 2nd half. They needed an interception in the end zone with zeros on the clock to preserve the 24-17 victory over a poor Texas A&M team. Arkansas looked lackadaisical despite Mallett’s good numbers (27/38 for 310 with 3 TDs and an INT). The Aggies have a Walmart brand Cam Newton in Jarrod Johnson who threw for 212 a pick and ran for 40 yards. Let’s hope the piggies are comfortable after controlling Johnson and aren’t fully prepared for Camzilla this weekend. Rather than the short passes that hurt Auburn, Mallett likes to go deep. I think our safeties are up to the task and I just don’t think their defense can handle Newton.
Worry Level: Up a bit.
Week 8: LSU. Will the Bengal’s luck ever run out? Theywent into Gainesville Saturday night and won 33-29 in one of the most confusing ways ever. Again. Les Miles was arrogantly adamant in interviews last week that he knew what he was doing, clock-wise, against Tennessee. That arrogance has got to catch up with him some time. Has. Got. To. Because let’s be honest – Florida is not that good (they’re ready to lynch their offensive coordinator) and LSU just keeps getting lucky. Beyond lucky. LSU beats McNeese State before coming to Jordan-Hare for their first whipping.
Via, of course.
Worry Level: LSU could beat the Colts or lose to McNeese St. this weekend – they are capable of anything.
Week 9: Ole Miss. The Rebels took a week off to prepare for their Bataan Death March of a stretch against Alabama, Arkansas, and Auburn. The Tide will take out their frustrations on the poor Rebels this weekend.
Worry Level: All quiet on the western front
Week 10: Chattanooga. The Mocs beat the Citadel this weekend to improve to 3-2, one game out of first place in the Southern conference. This week they host Georgia Southern another conference rival. Jeff Sagarin has the Mocs at 105, two spots behind Clemson and two ahead of Rutgers while 3-2 California is No. 9, the Pac-10 is the best conference in the country, and the Auburn Tigers are the 17th best team… what is that guy smoking?
Worry Level: Faint pulse.
Week 11: Georgia. Mark Richt finally gets a win after 4 losses in a row with a 41-14 snoozer in Athens. The dogs put up 402 yards of offense against a terrible Tennessee team and gave up only 269. The Vols turned the ball over three times and gave up 17 points in the 1st quarter. So the Dawgs get their season back on track at home in a less than packed Sanford Stadium, if you count beating a team that could go 4-8 back on track. Georgia will always be tricky, but having them at home will make more than enough difference for us in winning this game.
Worry Level: Worst UGA team in at least a decade beat the worst Tennessee team in at least a decade.
Week 12: Alabama. Everyone knows what happened Saturday afternoon in Columbia. Everyone knows the recipe to beat Bama. They just can’t put the ingredients together like the Gamecocks did Saturday. To beat Bama, you have to score early and get that big lead that puts the ball into the hands of McElroy. Only 17 carries for the Tide’s top two backs is not what Alabama wants to see. Captain Screenpass had to quickly learn how to throw the ball down field, to mixed, at best, results. He has no idea how to get rid of the ball when things are breaking down — dude took seven sacks, one of which resulted in a fumble. Passing 66 percent of the time does not a comfort zone make, and without the fluke 51 yard TD throw to a wide open receiver, this game coulda, woulda, shoulda, been much worse. Bottom line: they are who we thought they were; now the rest of the country can see it after a very good performance from Senor Garcia and the Gamecocks.
Worry Level: down a bit from last week
THE CONQUERED (AND THE CONQUERORS)
Arkansas St. Beat there big rival North Texas 24-19, this week they travel to Indiana to face the Hoosiers.
Mississippi State put a whoopin on Houston over the weekend, 47-24, racking up 538 yards of offense. State is 4-2 and looking for a bowl bid with three beatable teams left on the schedule.
Clemson lost an ugly game to North Carolina 21-16. They only gave up 255 yards of offense and didn’t turn the ball over, how do you lose a game like that? The Tigers have fallen to 2-3 with their 3rd straight loss and, sadly, have looked worse each week.
South Carolina put together a near perfect game against the Tide and beat #1 in Columbia, 35-21. They forgot to cover a receiver who scored a 51 yard TD and Garcia freaked out and gave Bama a safety, but other than that they were pretty flawless and sitting at 4-1.
Louisiana-Monroe trailed FAU 17-12 with four minutes left in the game and got a TD and 2 point conversion to win 20-17. The Warhawks had 418 yards of offense and improve to 2-3
THE OVERALL PICTURE
It was a beautiful weekend. Auburn won. Bama loss. The good guys are smiling this Columbus Day. Our SEC title chances still run through Tuscaloosa, but we have some breathing room now. The Hogs will be tough this weekend, and the Bayou Bengals won’t be much easier, but we play both in the friendly and increasingly loud confines of Jordan-Hare.