Contrary to media reports, there will be college football games played this weekend, even though LSU and Alabama both have bye weeks. There’s no word yet on whether or not other teams will be allowed to complete their seasons after the two greatest teams to ever put on pads finish deciding who is truly the greatest team ever. In all sports. From now until eternity. Thankfully I’ll be able to write one last Netflix Iron Bowl piece before the college football season is cancelled.
Since it could be the last time I’m allowed to write about Auburn Football, I figured I’d mix things up a little bit. This week I’m going to highlight what some keys to the game will be for Auburn and Ole Miss by looking at what fans in the respective college towns are watching. So let’s go to the big board, shall we:
Keys to the game for Auburn.
Don’t let LSU beat you twice. Obviously last week’s meeting with No.1 LSU didn’t go quite as well as the Auburn Family had hoped. The loss showed the young Tigers have a lot of improving to do before going 12 rounds with the nation’s elite. Judging by their affinity for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, folks in Auburn know that the team must learn from the loss and work on improving. In the movie, young Harry is forced to compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, a tournament so dangerous that he might even lose his life competing. Mr. Potter’s competitors are older and more experienced, but through hard work and determination he is more than able to hold his own. Auburn is a young team fighting against more experienced competition in the SEC West (LSU and Alabama), but they can’t allow these facts to keep them from working hard to improve.
Auburn fans seem to know that their young Tigers can learn from their loss to LSU and unlock their potential—after all, they’ve been watching “I Am Number Four.” The movie follows a young man who discovers that he has extraordinary abilities. At first he is unsure how to use his talents, but after a few setbacks and with a little help from friends, he is able to harness his abilities and use them for good. I firmly believe that Auburn’s coaches will use the LSU game as a teaching moment and will keep the team focused on the task at hand: beating Ole Miss.
Find some consistency (or anything) in the passing game. It’s no secret to anyone who has been watching the Tigers play that Auburn has struggled on offense lately. Last week against LSU was probably the lowest point, but in a way it’s more understandable against the top team in the country. Regardless, Auburn clearly needs to find some answers on offense. As I mentioned last week, Auburn seems to be banking on Clint Moseley being the Auburn Offense’s “Scream 4.” What does that mean in football terms? Well, “Scream 4” was a successful reboot of a struggling franchise. Surely Moseley was installed as Auburn’s quarterback to give the offense a bit of a “shot in the arm”.
And he did seem to bring a bit of life to the passing game when he entered the game against Florida a couple weeks ago. Gus Malzahn has mentioned that Clint has a bit of the “gunslinger” in him. Auburn fans know that the team needs to successfully throw the ball downfield to relieve pressure on Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb in the running game. If Auburn can’t find success throwing the ball, they’ll be forced to grind it out on the ground. That will work against some teams, but not many in the SEC. Bottom line, fans know Auburn needs to put the ball “Up in the Air” (No.6 local favorite) in order to secure some wins.
Don’t be overconfident. The Ole Miss Rebels (they’re still Rebels, right?) roll into Auburn seeking their first SEC win. The Rebels came close to beating Arkansas last week, but victory escaped their grasp yet again. Perhaps the biggest key to the game for Auburn is not overlooking the Rebels. It appears fans in Auburn are aware of the need to avoid overconfidence with Amen Corner on the horizon and a struggling opponent paying a visit. Two movies in particular show how concerned fans are, “Thor” and “Yogi Bear.”
If you’ve read my review of “Thor”, you know that the God of Thunder had a bit of an attitude problem. He was foolhardy and overconfident. Auburn has to avoid having a Thor complex when entering battle with the Rebels. Fans seem to know the danger of overlooking the Rebels, not only because of the lessons of “Thor”, but the lessons to be learned from “Yogi Bear.” It seems to be common knowledge around the SEC that the Right Reverend, Houston Nutt, usually finds one game a year to win that he isn’t supposed to. Auburn fans have been watching the exploits of Yogi who is “smarter than the average bear” in prepartion for any shenanigans Coach Nutt might have planned. The Auburn Family has no plans of letting Nutt and his team sneak up on their team and give them a scare just in time for Halloween.
Keys to the Game for Ole Miss
Weather the storm. As is key for any road team, the Rebels will need to weather the storm as the atmosphere in Jordan Hare promises to be electric. Auburn will be looking to redeem themselves from their poor performance last week and want to go into their bye week on a high note. That fans in Oxford have been preparing In preparation for the big game and difficult atmosphere fans in Oxford have been watching “Facing the Giants.” The game is big for both teams. Auburn is looking to prove it is better than most think, while Ole Miss wants to avoid going winless in the SEC. Clearly fans in Oxford know that their team will be the underdog and as such they must play a solid game.
In order to find out what not to do in a tough situation fans have been watching The “Twilight Saga: New Moon.” In “New Moon” Bella Swan reacts to her separation from the “love of her life” by acting irresponsibly and at her worst, jumping off of a cliff (kids these days). I don’t think fans in Oxford are expecting their Rebels to jump off any cliffs, but they know the importance of not shooting yourself in the foot. If they can avoid stupid penalties and turnovers Ole Miss can leave Jordan Hare with a win if Auburn’s offense continues to struggle like it has the past few weeks.
Believe. Obviously talent is an important aspect of winning a football game, but in college football having the right mentality is also important. One of the best parts about college football is how big of a role momentum and emotion play in the game. These young men are playing for school pride and to bring bragging rights home to their fans. In college football I believe you see more upsets than you do in professional football because you occasionally get an underdog who knows they are better than everyone thinks and their us against the world mentality propels them to victory in the most unlikely of places (Texas Tech beat Oklahoma in Norman just last weekend).
It appears last week’s close loss to Arkansas has fans in Ole Miss circling the wagons in preparation for an upset of Auburn. Oxford residents have been preparing for an upset by watching “Priest.” In the movie, Priest is the only one who believes that vampires are not extinct as the people have been told. Priest is steadfast in his belief and his conviction is proven to be correct as a much more dangerous vampire threat looms on the horizon. The biggest concern for Auburn fans should be that fans in Oxford have been drawing inspiration from one of the biggest underdogs ever, Steve Rogers. Scrawny little Steve Rogers’ story is told in “Captain America: The First Avenger”, the No. 23 local favorite in Oxford. The only ones who need to believe that the Rebels can avenge last year’s home loss to Auburn are the ones who will be in the visiting locker room today.
Until next week!
*Disclaimer: my mom may or may not have told me the plot to “New Moon.”
Stephen Savage writes at “Movies ‘n Munchies” and is considered by his mother to be the best blogger on all things movie and food related. Holding two degrees from Auburn University, Stephen is proud to call himself an Auburn Man. He currently spends his time working on his blog. He is available for freelance work and retirement parties. Follow his blog on Twitter @moviesnmunchies.
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