Auburn over Mizzou.

VXBIg.AuSt.70

Tre Mason + Greg Robinson ≥ TJ Yeldon + Cyrus Kouandjio.

[DON’T POST YOUR CHEDDAR PICKS IN THIS THREAD.  DO IT HERE.]

When I got over 700 words on this week’s Cheddar Bay essay I decided just to do a full-on post for it.

3.   Essay – ***Auburn -2 vs. Mizzou (Atlanta)

I’m looking forward to this game because it’s rare when I’ve really had a chance to watch both teams play. I’m very impressed with Auburn; I’m not as impressed with Mizzou.  I think Auburn covers.  Here’s why.

In last week’s Mizzou home game, I saw TAMU convert 3rd downs at a 50% clip and I saw Manziel miss a lot of open WRs (and acting like his thumb was about to fall off).  I saw a bunch of RBs getting long gains.  If you read the boxscore, it reads like Mizzou held down Evans and Manziel, but that’s not how it felt watching the game.  It was good defense, but I was expecting ‘great’ defense as that’s the book on Mizzou: great defense, most sacks, most TFLs.  Didn’t happen. Maybe Manziel’s pass yards were down but Mizzou gave up over 200 rush yards.  Notably and applicable to the Auburn game: Mizzou’s D seemed to have problems with TAMU’s Sumlin-uptempo offense. Malzahn’s offense’s tempo is Sumlin x2.

On offense I was surprised at how ineffective James Franklin was (perhaps because I had just been watching Nick Marshall).  TAMU’s defense is soft, (I saw Dak Prescott lay 300+ yards on TAMU and MissySt is not noted for their offense.) Mizzou was 5-14 on third downs … so again, Mizzou’s offense was ‘fine’ (Franklin had ~300 total yards) but not as explosive as I’d expected and not in Auburn’s class.  I think James Franklin is the key to the whole game.  If he plays as nervous as he did against TAMU, it could be a blow out.  If he plays lights out, game will be close.1

6_1168363

99 yard TD passes are lucky too.

(Also Pinkel is doing a platooning QBs thing which was, is, and always will be, a disastrous strategy. “When you’ve got two QBs you’ve got no QBs.” (IMO.))

“Auburn’s been lucky.”  I hear this a lot.  If you look at it differently, maybe UGA was lucky since Auburn owned them for 7/8s of that game before setting up that final play?  Was not Bama’s 99 yd pass where Auburn’s safety mistook his teammate for the WR a flukey/lucky play?  And I have no idea how a team that rushes for 300 yards ON BAMA can be called lucky.  300 rush yards on Bama’s defense is the opposite of lucky.  It’s prime evidence that Auburn controlled the line of scrimmage, BAMA’s LOS.  I wondered what everyone else did against Bama on the ground, it goes:
VT 153, TAMU 164, CSU 51, OleMiss 46, GSU 15, UK 94, Ark 165, Tenn 127, LSU 43, Clanga 53, Chat 93, ,,, Auburn 296.  I hear and read a lot about Mizzou’s defense but do we really think it’s a better defense than Bama?  I don’t.

Flukey wins.”  Hey well someone has to win a close game and sometimes close games are decided on the final play and sometimes the final play is lucky (UGA) or dramatic (but not lucky, Bama).  But this is no flukey offense. It’s a balanced offense with talent that maybe is getting overshadowed by the dramatic wins. Nick Marshall is a decent passer who just doesn’t pass a lot. It’s not a one-dimensional team; it’s just that you have stop Auburn’s run game before they’ll pass. Tre Mason is fast and can move a pile. Greg Robinson is currently #15 on Kiper’s big board. The receivers are big (Uzomah, 6-4) and fast (Coates 4.4). I really think the hype has not caught up with the talent on Auburn’s offense and so the lucky/flukey narrative gets pushed in lieu of the awesome talent meets great coaching narrative.  Not sure what it will take since beating Bama didn’t do it but that’s fine for me as an Auburn bettor:  there is nothing flukey about the talent on this offense.

[Sidebar:  Isn’t it time to look at Nick Marshall as an NFL prospect?  These guys rate him 16th in next year’s class.  I got him top-five-ish if he came out this year.  He’s a true stud and it feels like the draft wonks are waiting for each other to say so before there’s an avalanche of Nick Marshall talk.  I’d take Marshall over Brett Hundley and Johnny Manziel.]

Advantage: Auburn.

Malzahn’s offense takes some time to learn. Auburn’s execution of the offense has improved every week. I discount the September loss to LSU A LOT; the December Auburn offense >>> September offense.

Last, I’m not sure how much this figures but, Auburn fans >>> Mizzou fans.  Columbia was quiet Saturday night and not just quiet compared to Jordan-Hare.  Quiet like an Ohio State basketball game quiet.  So I got curious as to which fan base is more likely to take over the Georgia Dome.  It’s not even close. This from Stubhub:  on tuesday there were 19 tickets available in the Auburn prime sections starting at $715; on the Mizzou side, there were 244 available starting at $391.  Guess who might could be sitting in the Mizzou section?  [Update Thursday: including the non-prime (lower bowl) seats, Mizzou side has 242 seats available starting at $370. Auburn side has 24 seats available starting at $749.]

I’m sure Gus Malzahn would accept/agree that his team has had some good luck to get to this game.  But having luck doesn’t mean they’re NOT good/great and perhaps the best team in the country.

You can be both.

_____
Easy to like Auburn.

I know I posted a couple of these in the Cheddar thread but the point is that you don’t have to dig too hard to find reasons to like Auburn.  You know I rank “War Eagle” the #2 fight song.  Well here’s the sheet music and I have to say it translates beautifully to piano.

Speaking of piano, when your DE can play like Dee Ford can, it’s just another “something” that makes a team “special.”

_____
Meanwhile, in Columbus.

I know it’s Malzahn’s first year as a head coach so he can’t be expected to be as smart and savvy managing his players like Jimbo or Urbz, but still… he’s managed to avoid having his players the subject of State Attorney’s press conferences2 and I haven’t seen any trolling tweets out of his locker room like these from OSU.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 3.49.06 PMScreen Shot 2013-12-05 at 3.49.34 PM

I guess Philly Brown doesn’t think much of Darqueze Dennard.

Didn’t Urban just jump on Even Spencer for joking about wiping the field with FSU and Alabama?  OSU has had this over-confidence thing about them since the first half of the Buffalo game and even after their own pretty lucky outcome last week and after a soft schedule (well, it was), they’re still talking shit

I actually had no problem with Evan Spencer’s comments because they were obviously tongue-in-cheek.  But Meyer slapped him down pretty hard for even joking about it.  I mean it was just three weeks ago when Meyer said this about Spencer:

I’m very disappointed, I can’t stand that. … He’s certainly not the spokesman for our team. As a result, Evan won’t talk to the media for a long, long time. You don’t do that. It’s not good sportsmanship, and that’s not what we expect. … Talk about your teammates, talk about the team and move on.

Why hasn’t Meyer gotten Brown to delete his tweets and apologize?  Why are Bucks players talking like they’ve earned something already.  They need to wise up.

_____
Happy enough to table the BCS Championship talk.

Auburn and OSU are anything but sure things to win Saturday and for that matter, FSU has a game to play Saturday against the winner of the tougher side of the ACC.  It calls to mind a great line from True Grit:

  1. You can’t quite make the same statement about Marshall, because with the tempo offense and Mason running, he doesn’t have quite the same pressure to perform as Franklin does. [back]
  2. Stipulated:  what could Jimbo have done?  I don’t know.  As far as why a rape investigation gets lost in the Tallahassee PD for almost a year, seems like that’s another story. [back]

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  • Petefranklin

    I think the smurf defensive backfield will have problems with the size of Mizzou’s receivers. I’m surprised you didn’t catch that, or at least mention it. Mizzou just missed my final cut, you seem to be overreacting to one weeks games, and Mizzou is 5-0 on the road in hostile environments. You can’t be right all the time, can you?

  • I like this pick, Kanick.

  • Dennis Hemingway

    Michigan St +5 over Ohio St (All Play)
    Bowling Green +3 over N. Illinois
    Oklahoma +9.5 over Oklahoma St
    Missouri +2 over Auburn
    Saints -3 over Panthers
    Lions +2.5 over Eagles ***

    *** The Eagles have arguably the worst pass defense in the NFL and supposedly this guy Calvin Johnson is pretty good. That doesn’t bode well. The Lions have also had a long break since they played on Thanksgiving so they’ll be well rested. Even though Nick Foles has resurrected the Eagles offense and had some big games, he hasn’t faced pressure from a defense that the Lions d-line will bring. Not only are Suh and Fairley playing at pro bowl levels, the rookie Ansah has 7 sacks. The Lions also find themselves in a rare position a top the NFC North so they will also be playing with a sense of urgency to make the last push towards the playoffs. While the Eagles are in a similar position, I think they are an over-rated group who has snuck by two inferior opponents at home these past few weeks. Living in Philly has its perks which includes the annual tradition of the Eagles crushing the hopes of their fans. Cue up the start of the demise this Sunday.