As hard as it is to believe, we’ve reached week 11 of the college football season. To the surprise of no one, we still have no clear idea who will play for the BCS National Championship. Obviously, LSU will be playing in New Orleans if they can keep winning, but their opponent there is anything but certain. As much fun as it is to discuss national trends, this column has been on a mission to document viewing patterns in Auburn and Tuscaloosa each week to determine the mood of each fanbase. Last week Auburn had it’s bye week, so no column (sorry mom), but if you follow my blog, Movies N’ Munchies on Twitter, you more than likely saw some of my insight into the “Game of the Century” where LSU defeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Enough talk about the past, that’s for Bama fans.
You can tell fans in Auburn are ready for “Amen Corner” as the number one local favorite is “The Grace Card.” Fans in Auburn seem to have been channeling their inner Ray Charles as Georgia seems to be the only thing on their minds. The Bulldogs stumbled out of the gates losing to Boise State and South Carolina, but have rebounded in fine fashion by winning seven straight games. Fans in Auburn appear ready for a tough game between the hedges as they’ve been watching “The Empire Strikes Back.” The Bulldogs have to be looking for revenge after squandering an early lead last season in their bid to upset eventual BCS Champion Auburn. If other local favorites are any indication, it doesn’t appear that Auburn fans are expecting the Bulldogs to give their team any handouts*.
Auburn enters the contest with the Bulldogs as a 13-point underdog. That’s just what Auburn fans have been expecting. They’ve been preparing for their team’s upset bid all week by watching “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Scrawny Steve Rogers knows a thing or two about overcoming insurmountable odds to grab victory from the hands of defeat. Seems Auburn fans—patriots, all—are hoping to see good defeat evil once again.
Most everyone off The Plains has written the Tigers off since losing Cam Newton, Nick Fairley and last year’s stellar senior class, but folks in Auburn know their team still has plenty of talent. Case in point: “Red.” Although the team isn’t as flashy as it was last year, they still pack a punch and are a force to be reckoned with. Auburn residents know winning in Athens won’t be easy but their preference for The “Book of Eli” and “Drive Angry” clearly show that they know their Tigers can leave Athens Saturday night victorious by counting only on what they earn and putting in work, hard work, just as Eli and John Milton did.
I must admit, I was extremely interested to see how fans in Tuscaloosa would handle their team’s loss to LSU. And three of the top five local favorites indicate that panic might be getting ready to set in in Tuscaloosa. The number two local favorite, “Waiting for Forever,” shows that the Tide Faithful might be losing a bit of faith in their team’s invincibility. After back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, with the latter leading to a BCS Championship, the Tide appeared to be headed for a thousand year reign on the football field. Last year proved that wasn’t the case. This year’s team was supposed to bring the crystal football back to Tuscaloosa, but LSU’s win last week makes that less of a possibility.
Fear not though, it seems The Tide have found solace in their past glory (shocker). The number four local favorite? “13.” For those of you who might not know, the University of Alabama has claimed 13 national titles. I must admit I’m a bit surprised because I was almost certain “21” would make the list; that seemed more like the number of titles Tide fans claim. All kidding aside, it does appear that Crimson Tiders are suffering emotionally after their team’s first defeat on the season. They’ve been watching “Country Strong.” If you’ve seen the movie or have had the ending spoiled for you, you know how seriously fans have taken the loss.
The Tide’s close loss at home last weekend was gut-wrenching, but their are still those who believe they might have a chance to play LSU again for the BCS Championship. Proponents of this rematch have to be responsible for “The Dilemma” checking in as a local favorite for Tuscaloosa. Because yes, if both LSU and Alabama win out, pollsters will have a true dilemma on their hands. Do you let a team who didn’t win their conference and lost a close game at home after a bye week get a rematch against the team that handed them their only loss with the BCS Championship on the line? Dilemma indeed.
In Tuscaloosa, “The Dilemma” fans appear to outweigh the more realistic fans in Tuscaloosa who have accepted their team’s fate as BCS Championship also rans. This second group will be affectionately called “The Bridesmaids” because they’ve accepted the fact that their team will not be the bride (BCS Champion) this year and have conquered their grief through the humor of “Bridesmaids” (read my review).
What They’re Watching:
As has become the standard, let’s take a look at what the Tigers’ and Tide’s competition are watching. In Athens confidence seems to be high. After a rough start to the season Coach Mark Richt has rallied his team and Georgia fans to turn what might have been a disastrous season into a potential SEC Championship season. The UGA faithful haven’t let this great work go unnoticed as they’ve shown their admiration for the turnaround by watching “We Are Marshall” and “I Love You, Man.”
Georgia has to be feeling good about their situation. They welcome Auburn to Athens riding the momentum of a seven game win streak. The win streak, coupled with their team being picked as an almost two touchdown favorite by oddsmakers has Bulldog fans talking a big game and their choice of “Unstoppable” as a local favorite only fuels the bravado.
The game is big for both teams. Auburn has a chance to improve it’s bowl stock while UGA hopes to punch their ticket to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game in December. Fans appreciate the magnitude of the showdown and have been preparing by watching “Clash of the Titans.” With so much on the line, the game promises to be hard-fought and physical; you can almost bet that, at least metaphorically speaking, “There Will Be Blood.”
The Crimson Tide really do face a tough task this week. They have to go on the road after a tough loss at home to face an opponent they should have no problems beating on the road. Saturday night’s matchup with Mississippi State in Starkville has letdown game written all over it. It’s been a tough year for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. They entered the season being discussed as a potential dark horse candidate to win the SEC West, only to have faltered to a 1-4 conference record. Playing the role of spoiler is the only real hope the Bulldogs have left of influencing how the SEC shakes out.
Fans in Starkville have been preparing to spoil Alabama’s outside hopes of playing for the BCS Championship all week by watching “Knight and Day.” The home-standing Bulldogs hope to take control of the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in just as June Havens does in the film. The gameplan has to be pretty simple. Come out strong, take advantage of the rowdy home crowd and feed on any carnage you can cause. Experts such as myself refer to this plan as the “Scream 2” plan. It’s one that could be successful against a team coming off an emotional loss like the Tide. Of course we all know such a plan can go terribly awry if you become overconfident and make careless mistakes.
A clear theme of rallying together for a season redeeming victory against the No. 3 Crimson Tide can be seen throughout the list of local favorites in Starkville. The Scream 2 Plan will be successful if the Bulldogs take on the role of aggressor. They’ve been working on finding their mean streak by watching “Predators.” The lessons to be learned from “Predators” are numerous, but the biggest have to be: take advantage of your knowledge of your surroundings (homefield advantage), use your strengths to your advantage and don’t screw it up. The biggest advantage the Bulldogs can get should come from the unlikeliest of movies, “Tooth Fairy.” The biggest thing the maroon clad players and cowbell wielding fans can do is believe. Believe you belong. Believe in the upset. Do this and you can solve “The Dilemma.” Believe that.
*Get it? HANDouts!!
Related: Gus Malzahn as The Punisher.
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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