Gus Malzahn shares pregame insight into SEC title game, cautions Georgia to stay away from one LSU defender – Saturday Down South
Texas Football: Ed Orgeron determined to keep Joe Brady from Horns Hook ‘Em Headlines
Oregon Ruined the PAC-12’s Shot at the College Football Playoff Three Separate Times This Year – The Big Lead
Rivalry week is usually a tough one for predicting. Not this year. I’m a combined 19-2 over the last two weeks. B average!
Last week: 9-2 (81.8%)
This week: 0-0 (0.0%)
Overall: 111-26 (81.0%)
Championship week is usually tougher than Rivalry week, but wait until you see these games. All but one or two should be simple.
Utah vs. Oregon (Pac-12 Championship) – I don’t want Utah in the Playoffs, but I do want them to get killed in the Playoffs. I don’t want Oregon to win because they’ll likely jump Auburn in the polls, but Auburn would have their 2nd consecutive transitive Pac-12 championship. Oregon has faltered as the season went on, but Utah has played one ranked opponent that is now 7-5. I’m going with the Ducks.
Oregon 24, Utah 20
Baylor vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 Championship) – We’ve already seen this game. Baylor was good enough to get a big lead, but also bad enough to lose that lead and lose the game. Oklahoma has the upper hand because they know how to not let the big lead happen again.
Oklahoma 38, Baylor 21
Louisiana-Lafayette at Appalachian State (Big 12 Championship) – Louisiana-Lafayette thinks they can just call themselves Louisiana. Nah, you must respect my 2nd favorite team, UL-Monroe. You ain’t getting all of Louisiana. App State wins big.
Appalachian 31, Louisiana-Lafayette 7
Cincinnati at Memphis (AAC Championship) – Memphis beat Cincinnati by 10 just one week ago. The game was played in Memphis. They will do it again in the same stadium this week for the conference championship. I don’t see a reason to pick a different winner this time.
Memphis 28, Cincinnati 14
Georgia vs. LSU (SEC Championship) – The easy answer is LSU. The less-infuriating answer is LSU. The better team is LSU. So I’ll go with LSU.
LSU 34, Georgia 20
Hawai’i at Boise State (Mountain West Championship) – They’ll play this one on the blue rug. Hawai’i is going a long way, and into the cold, for them to win this one. The first meeting between these two teams went 59-37 Boise State, so we’ll go ahead and claim another championship for the Broncos.
Boise State 41, Hawai’i 30
Virginia vs. Clemson (ACC Championship) – Clemson will play their 2nd ranked opponent of the season and it only took the conference championship game to get it. Virginia has been okay, but there’s no way they’ll be able to keep up with the complainin’ Tigers.
Clemson 42, Virginia 13
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten Championship) – The Buckeyes beat the Badgers by 31 a month or so ago. Auburn wants Wisconsin to lose to help their bowl chances. There’s no reason to think Ohio State will lose to a team they pummeled earlier this season.
Ohio State 48, Wisconsin 17
Now that you know who will win, head on over to the 2019 War Blogle Pick ’em and get your picks in. There will be weekly prizes and an overall winner at the end of the season. It’s easy. Do it.
Auburn beat Alabama 48-45. It was the second highest scoring Iron Bowl ever. It wasn’t supposed to be. It was supposed to be a low-scoring slugfest. It wasn’t.
Alabama didn’t have Tua, Auburn’s defense hadn’t given up more than 24 points in a game all season. Auburn’s offense had struggled to score tons of points against the better teams on their schedule. It was setup for a 17-14 battle. It wasn’t.
As I said in my preview, the fact that Tua was out wasn’t going to change much of Alabama’s offense. As long as Mac Jones could get the ball to their bevy of 5-star receivers, they’d be nearly the same offense. For the most part, he did that. That’s why Alabama was able to score 45 points (38 from the offense) on this vaunted Auburn defense. We’ve never seen receivers run so free, but that’s what they do, and that’s what makes Alabama’s offense run.
As I also said in the preview, the moment, the stadium, the fans, and sometimes the defense would get to him. And they did. The strange thing was that the two times I remember Mac getting destroyed in the pocket, he was also able to get the pass away and into the hands of a receiver in the endzone. It was strange.
But down in the North end of the stadium, once going towards the South, and once a yard or two away from seven points, the Auburn defense made him do the things I said they would do. I told multiple people before the game that the Auburn defense would need to score to make it a winnable situation for Auburn. They did more than that. They did it twice.
The first pick-6 was just a bad pass, floated over the receivers head and right into the arms of Smoke Monday. He snaked around a few of Alabama’s offensive players and ran it in. The second pick-6 was due to Nick Coe getting to Mac as soon as he got the ball. He had no choice but to get rid of it, and neither Najee Harris nor Zakoby McClain knew it was coming. That was until it hit off Najee’s back, and Zakoby took it to the house. I stood up so quickly, I almost passed out. I think I just ended up standing on the seat in front of me with a single fist in the air.
Then Shaun Shivers took the soul of all of Alabama football, and then Alabama was forced to rely on their kicker in the same endzone as 2013. It wasn’t going to happen.
I hate to keep referencing my game preview, but as I said, the magic was too much for Alabama to win that football game. It was one of the greatest Iron Bowls ever, and Alabama definitely did enough to win the game, but when your opponent has a night like Auburn had, it’s nearly impossible to win.
There are too many to list, but try thinking you can win a game where all these things happened:
- Two pick-6s, one for over 100-yards.
- Last second field goal before halftime after the majority of your team had already been in the locker room.
- Sal Canella’s only touchdown of the season, and possibly the best catch of the season by any receiver on the team.
- The smallest running back on the field literally decapitating a future NFL defensive back as he scored the game-winning touchdown.
- A kicker that had struggled on kicks longer than 40-yards all season going 4-4 in the game, actually 5-5 if you count the 53-yarder that was ignored due to an Alabama penalty.
- A doinked chip-shot field goal, shorter than one already made earlier in the game.
- Being outsmarted on a fake punt alignment to lose your last chance at a comeback.
It was just too much. Auburn had the better team, but both teams played very well. Auburn had the magic and they used it. The amount of points scored don’t take too much from each defense because they both made enough plays. Auburn’s just made more.
It will go down as one of the best Iron Bowls of all time, and it will come in a year when neither team will play for the National Championship. This state has been spoiled over the last decade with both playing for something nearly every year, but it was kind of refreshing to just have a good Iron Bowl and let that be it. Of course, the loss knocked Alabama out of the Playoffs, so that made it a little sweeter, but it just felt like a good ol’ Iron Bowl between two teams that want to see the other one lose more than they want to win. And eventually, that’s what it turned out to be.
And Auburn won.
This is a time when several top teams will be knocked off.
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
War Eagle, everybody! This week, the Auburn Tiger Football team earns some much needed rest after a brutally tough schedule. It has been a happy week at work for Auburn fans, as discussion of Auburn’s spectacular 48-45 win over the Tide in the Iron Bowl has been the talk of the town. This weekend, Tiger fans can watch the championship games, and speculate on future bowl destinations. I’ll get into those matchups after the jump.
After taking Thanksgiving off and loading up on turkey, the Auburn men’s basketball team was back in action last night. Rust was apparent, as Auburn had a hard time shooting the basketball early. Defense and rebounding kept Auburn in it, but the Tigers trailed the Furman Paladins 39-31. Furman heated up after the half, and quickly pushed the lead out to 46 to 32. Then, the Tigers started attacking the basket with more regularity, and started eating away the Furman lead.
Auburn caught and passed the Paladins, but those shooters kept hitting timely shots, and had it tied at the end. After a missed reverse layup attempt by Auburn’s J’Von McCormick, the game went to overtime. Fortunately for the Tigers, sharp-shooters Noah Gurley and Clay Mounce fouled out, and Auburn’s Isaac Okoro and Danjel Purifoy pulled Auburn ahead. Okoro hit a couple of free throws late to ice the game, and Auburn came out with an 81-78 victory. The Tigers are 8-0 this season!
A look at other Championship games this weekend, after the jump!
Tonight at 7:00 PM on ABC, the Oregon Ducks take on the Utah Utes in Santa Clara California for the PAC-12 title. Auburn nipped the Ducks in the first game of the season this year, and I will be pulling for them in this game. Much like the Auburn matchup, a good Oregon offense will be going against a stout Utah defense. I would think that the location of the game would help Oregon in terms of attendence. A Utah win would generate a big headache for the Playoff committee, I think.
A trio of 11:00 AM games start the Saturday off. Baylor battles Oklahoma in Arlington Texas, in the Big-12 Championship Game, on ABC. I’d have to think that the winner of this game is in the Playoff, but we just never know with the committee, bug one just never knows about that bunch. I think Oklahoma probably has more brand appeal, but that is not supposed to matter.
Also at 11:00 AM is the Sun Belt title game, which will be played in Boone, North Carolina on ESPN. Appalachian State is at home, hosting the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. This game features tough, well-rounded teams that have just 3 total losses between them this season. The teams already already have met this season, with the Mountaineers taking a 17-7 decision in Lafayette, Louisiana. Appalachian State also has scalps of major conference teams North Carolina and South Carolina in its belt. Should add a Sun Belt title to their display case, tomorrow.
The final 11:00 game is the MAC championship, which will be played in Detroit on ESPN-2. It is Miami of Ohio vs. Central Michigan in that one.
At 12:30 PM, UAB visits Florida Atlantic, in Boca Raton Florida for the Conference USA title on CBS Sports Network. A tough Blazer defense will have to contend with an always imaginative Lane Kiffin offense in this one. No one is giving UAB much chance in this game, but UAB head coach Bill Clark has been doing the impossible pretty routinely, the past few years at UAB. On an interesting note, I’ve seen it speculated elsewhere that the SEC could possibly end up with one or both of these coaches at some of the currently vacant positions in the SEC.
At 2:30 PM the Cincinnati Bearcats will play the Memphis Tigers for the AAC title, in the Liberty Bowl stadium in Memphis on ABC. The teams played each other just last week, with Memphis winning 34-24. The Tigers are a scoring machine this year, and should roll again.
The SEC Title Game kicks off at 3:00 PM in Atlanta, on CBS. The Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers will tangle for the crown. Georgia’s defense is formidable, but Auburn’s 4th quarter surge against them is a good blueprint, and LSU has just the sort of offense to execute it. I really don’t think Georgia will be able to keep up.
Also at 3:00 PM, Hawai’i travels to the blue smurf turf in Boise, Idaho to play Boise State for the Mountain West trophy, on ESPN. I haven’t watched much of either team, but I’d think the home field advantage will factor into this one.
In the 6:30 PM nightcap, Virginia tangles with Clemson in Charlotte, North Carolina on ABC for the ACC Title. This might be the most lopsided game of the day, in Clemson’s favor.
At 7:00 PM, we’ll have the B1G championship in Indianapolis, Indiana on FOX. Ohio State takes on Wisconsin. Wisconsin has a formidable defense, but no one has been able to stop the Buckeyes this season, and Ohio State is also pretty good on defense. I think Wisconsin will make this game closer than many folks expect, but I do not foresee a Badger win.
The post It is Championship Week. appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.
Alabama football: 3 potential 2019 bowl game scenarios Saturday Blitz
Championship Weekend College Football Watch Guide Last Word on College Football
SEC hoops conversation 2.0: How November surprises changed our thinking a bit Saturday Down South
SEC 360: Why does Alabama lose to Auburn so much? Saturday Down South
Live updates: Auburn vs. Furman 247Sports
Joey Gatewood picks Kentucky! A Sea Of Blue
State of every SEC fan base at the end of the regular season Saturday Down South
Joey Gatewood transfer: Auburn QB heading to Kentucky Team Speed Kills
Midweek Musings – Which Bowl Matchup is Most Intriguing to You? Black Shoe Diaries
CFB Roundup: Buckeyes Cruise Past Wolverines Old Gold & Black
Bruce Pearl’s Tigers took home some hardware last week when they routed the Richmond Spiders at the Legends Classic. It may not have been as prestigious a tournament as the Maui Invitational, but it was important for the young Tigers to go on the road and win back-to-back games. Auburn trailed 37–38 at halftime but ended up pulling away, ending the game 79–65 after emptying the bench with two minutes on the clock.
Samir Doughty scored 22 points as he continues to dominate for the Tigers. He has scored at least 19 points in his last four games and is averaging 19 points per game on the season. He is doing it many ways, but his 45 percent from beyond the arc and the 70-percent mark from the charity stripe are helping No. 10 lead the Tigers.
Austin Wiley’s performance can’t be overlooked as he kicked in 18 points and 8 rebounds in a terrific game in the paint. Wiley was nearly perfect on the night, hitting six-of-seven shots from the floor and another six points from the line. However, his 6–11 mark on free throws needs to be improved upon as Richmond tried their best Hack-A-Shaq impression against the Auburn big man.
Free throws have been a bit of a bugaboo for Pearl’s squad so far this season. The Tigers had their best night from the line, going 22–31 which was easily the difference in the game. That didn’t seem to matter to Danjel Purifoy, who hit six-of-seven charity shots on his way to a 13-point effort, his fifth game in double-digit scoring. He finished one rebound shy of a double-double. Purifoy and freshman Isaac Okoro continue to be the X-factors for the Tigers. While Doughty’s scoring and Austin Wiley’s presence garner much of the attention, it’s Okoro and Purifoy that other teams cannot match up against. Okoro had his least productive game against Richmond, yet he was still a force as he was dunking on one end of the floor and blocking shots on the other.
Okoro is stepping right in to the hole left by Chuma Okeke, the first-rounder to Orlando, and Purifoy is showing why he was once one of the best recruits in the country.
Auburn’s bench players didn’t have as productive of a game against the Spiders as they might have liked, scoring just ten points. Yet, with the starters performing as well as they did, cutting down on the turnovers and pulling down 18 offensive rebounds, they didn’t need to. Auburn turned the ball over 13 times to Richmond’s ten, and the rebounds showed Auburn to have a sizable advantage as it out rebounded Richmond 44–34. In the end, Auburn didn’t shoot it well from the field and didn’t play the type game they’d like; they simply were that much better than Richmond.
On Thursday, the Tigers welcome Furman to Auburn Arena. ESPN’s Matchup Predictor gives Auburn an 81-percent chance to win. Furman is coming off a 65–55 loss to UCF, which followed a three-game winning streak that began after a loss to Alabama. Alabama beat Furman 81–73 on November 19. The Paladins are averaging 78 points per contest, but those numbers were skewed by runaway wins against Elon and CIU. The Tigers are averaging 85 points per game with a 70-point game being the low water mark, which came in a tough road environment against South Alabama in Mobile.
The Paladins are getting 15 points per game from their guard, Jordan Lyons. Although Lyons scored 33 in a loss to Alabama, he was held to just four points in their loss to UCF. He did a ton of damage from the line as he went 13–13 from the line against the Tide. Lyons is a volume shooter with a 91-percent free-throw average. As long as Auburn can contest his barrage of three-point attempts without fouling, the Tigers will run away with this game.
To do that, Auburn will try and force point guard Alex Hunter to look elsewhere with his passes or force Hunter to shoot.
Auburn holds a sizable advantage on the glass. Expect the Tigers to take care of business in a big way.
The post Tigers Return Home Against Furman appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.
Auburn’s All-Decade Team: Derrick Brown headlines fearsome defense Saturday Down South
Hello Everyone and War Eagle! We are now down to the final week in our Pick’em contest and we’ve got a close one. It will come down to this week as to who goes home with the Golden Bo Trophy. Choose wisely.
Below are the standings:
|Rank||Pick Set Name||Total||Dropped||W-L|
|17||War Eagle Brit||211||24||211-165|
|22||Aubie Girl 1985||203||25||203-172|
|25||2 Bo’s Better Than 1||196||0||196-177|
The post TET College Pick’em Results: ONE WEEK TO GO! appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.
Auburn wide receiver reportedly enters NCAA transfer portal Saturday Down South
LSU QB Joe Burrow Heisman odds vs Alabama QB Mac Jones Roll Bama Roll
Zakoby McClain could’ve been the forgotten man in the Auburn linebackers’ room.
Auburn Bowl Projections College and Magnolia
Gus Malzahn to appear as guest analyst on CBS ahead of SEC Championship Saturday Down South
Auburn linebacker leaves team 247Sports
Alabama’s Iron Bowl Loss To Auburn Highlights Their Biggest Flaws Last Word on College Football
Memphis, Navy headline AAC football award winners NBCSports.com
Auburn’s All-Decade Team: Cam Newton leads a potent offense Saturday Down South
Success With Hyperlinking: Championship Saturday Black Shoe Diaries
SEC power rankings: Tennessee rises after finishing strong in 2019 Knoxville News Sentinel
Harris wins weekly football contest The Courier=Times
There are few feelings in the sporting world better than your team winning the last regular season game, especially in college football. Whatever the results of the season before it, whatever the trials or pitfalls or successes in other venues, there is a satisfying sensation of that final victory that buoys you for many days, weeks or even months afterwards, even if it’s an ugly win.
In the Southeastern Conference it can even extend to years.
This is especially true if there is a tendency for the other team to do something innocent like a complain to the referee, or engage in a mistimed or misjudged celebration. Think that Ole Miss player will live that immature gesture down anytime soon? Probably not. Neither is it likely that Nick Saban will be able to avoid years of jokes or Internet memes about his conduct or decisions in the various Iron Bowls his team has lost. Especially when he uses words like ‘unfair’ – when he knows full well he has more 4-star recruiting talent on his bench than most of his opponents can manage to find to start.
Unfair. What a laugh.
I would be remiss if I didn’t add the best one-liners I heard recently.
Q. Ever wonder why Nick Saban was such a good fit to star with that duck in commercials?
A. He’s got a pretty good Waddle,….
Ah, well, on to the discussion. The standards this season are as follows.
I’m pretty sure these numbers will change upward for next year once this year’s champion is decided.
Suddenly with success in his grasp, Nick Saban noticed those goal posts looked different for his kicker
SEC West Offense
Turns out both Alabama and Auburn’s offenses are exactly what the numbers above state they were. Alabama was just one doinked field goal away from their season average in the Iron Bowl and Auburn scored exactly their season average, no more, no less. Likewise, LSU scored within two points of their average.
Everyone else was within a touchdown of their season average, and just about what they’ve showed on third down the entire season.
Except Texas A&M. You can point at those three interceptions, but the first one wasn’t thrown until the second half when they were down five scores (then six-seven-eight scores). Whatever pressure was on Jimbo Fisher’s term with the Aggies this season, it just doubled or trebled. Losing by a touchdown or even two in a tight game is one thing. Getting curb-stomped by a division rival isn’t going to cut it for long.
SEC West Defense
Auburn still has the best defense in the division, and while very good, they are not showing the caliber of other teams in the East division. Maybe this is a function of the differences between the East schedules and Auburn’s schedule, but maybe not. As good as they are, Alabama scored 45 on that best defense, and every other ranked team they faced scored around three touchdowns. Now, Alabama had both ranked teams score over 45 points each, and nearly every SEC opponent scored four or more touchdowns on them and LSU was even worse in some games.
Case in point – Vanderbilt’s offense scored 38 points in only two games this year – against LSU and against East Tennessee State.
Bottom line? The SEC West isn’t banking on defense anymore. It’s gone fully over to power offense and those doing it best are at the top of the division.
SEC East Offense
In the East, both Georgia and Florida are playing well and everyone else is really struggling. Granted, Kentucky is a special case with their multiple quarterback injuries, and what Mark Stoops has done with his remarkable wide-receiver-turned-running-quarterback is a reflection of just how gifted a coach he is. When you can have a turnaround like that with a new offense mid-season, there is no doubt you’ve got your program and personnel in the right spot.
Few will likely agree while LSU soars, but if I could vote on SEC coach of the year, Mark Stoops would surely get mine.
But the rest of the division is really having problems. No one is scoring, driving or seeing any success in the Red Zone. If this continues, expect Kentucky to be the only chance at a spoiler for an annual Gator-Dawg race for the East title. So long as Stoops stays, they’ve got a chance, but I doubt they’ll accomplish it more than once every couple of years. They just don’t have the recruiting base as the other two do.
SEC East Defense
Here’s where I begin to suspect the numbers and the problems in the East. Both Florida and Georgia are highly capable on defense. But can we really grant that the next best nearly-as-good defense is Missouri? This is what the numbers above would indicate. Then again, it’s not like they are that far above the rest of the division. Nearly everyone shows some meaningful ability in the Red Zone, but keep in mind this doesn’t account for the big play scores from outside the Red Zone.
Good defenses don’t normally allow them that often to be statistically impactful,… except for this year, of course, in the case of LSU, who will line up against that ‘best in conference’ defense from Georgia.
Something’s got to give in that ‘Unstoppable Force and Immovable Object” contest and my impression is that Georgia will be the one that will move, because I just don’t see this LSU team even slowing down that much these days.
State of the Conference
I’ve bemoaned all season that there was a growing gap between the top six and bottom eight in the SEC. Let me admit my mistake, it isn’t that way at all.
Instead, it’s between the top five and bottom nine. Like I said, Kentucky has shown tremendous improvement and grit in bouncing back from their injuries to really put on a show these last few games. But that’s not where they were earlier in the year and the results above are cumulative.
Five teams failed to make the post season this year. In their final games Kentucky and the top five above them all scored at least 40 points in their last games and averaged 46.7 points among them. The rest? None scored above 28 and together they averaged just over 15 points. This is the current chasm between the elite teams in the conference and the rest of the bunch.
As we reach the end of the 2019 season, these numbers won’t change all that much in the championship, bowl or playoff games. We know of at least three coaching changes but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see many other teams below the top five contemplating coordinator and other staff changes in the near future. This type of disparity in the Southeastern conference is simply too much of a threat to fan and administration expectations to be allowed to continue.
This is where we are, this year.
The post Tiger-Eye Review – Shoot, Don’t Talk Edition appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.
Is experience an edge for Georgia in SEC title game? Atlanta Journal Constitution