It’s O.V.E.R. time for Tigers

Auburn looking for wins and respect during the tough month of October

It’s O.V.E.R time.

That’s right: October Victories Equal Respect.

That’s the motto. That’s the saying. That’s the battle hymn being sung around the Auburn Athletic Complex as the Tigers head into the nastiest month of their football season … maybe any team’s season.

And by nasty, I mean nasty. I mean Joe Greene. I mean mean.

I mean four teams ranked in the top 20.

I mean three of those on the road.

I mean No. 10 South Carolina in Columbia on Saturday.

I mean No. 18 Arkansas in Fayetteville next week.

I mean No. 12 Florida at Jordan-Hare in two weeks.

I mean No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge 21 days from now.

I mean … well, you know what I mean. Mean.

It’s been well documented, well talked about, well … well, everyone knows it. Everyone.

None better than the guys who wear the orange and blue.

They know what this stretch means. They know what they’re up against. They know they’re the underdogs in each one of those games.

They also know they’re the defending champs. And with that comes a swagger, regardless of what the Tigers looked like in their first four games this season.

“We plan on being 4-0 after October,” defensive back Ryan White said this week.

Really.

Really?

You know what they say about best-laid plans …

But that’s why you play the game. Every week. Every month. September, October, November and, if you’re lucky, December.

This sounds like a recording, but hey, spend any time over at Auburn, around this team, and it’s what you hear. Over and over.

It’s about Auburn. And it’s about the next opponent. Forget the rest of the month.

Right now, it’s about South Carolina.

About stopping Marcus Lattimore, and trying to hold him to, well, anything under 300 yards.

About stopping Alshon Jeffery, and keeping him from catching 100 passes.

About stopping Steve Spurrier, who you know is ready, willing and able to run up the score at any time, especially against a team that beat him twice last year, including by 39 in the SEC Championship Game.

Auburn’s got its hands full. Saturday and beyond.

October Victories Equals Respect. Which Auburn hasn’t gotten too much of.

But you know what? Auburn’s done pretty well against top-ranked teams in the last 10 years.

The Tigers are 18-11 against teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll since 2001.

Not bad.

And against the Gamecocks exclusively, Auburn’s only lost one time in their 10-game series. And that was in 1933.

Not bad, either.

But records and history don’t mean much between the lines. It comes down to execution.

Something Auburn’s struggled with this season. But so has South Carolina, which struggled against ECU and Navy.

But the Gamecocks have earned respect because they’re unbeaten, and because they’ve got two of the biggest playmakers in the conference and the country, who have and will continue to deliver.

Wins talk in this “What have you done for me lately?” league.

For Auburn to get that same respect, it needs wins before this month is O.V.E.R.

MIKE SZVETITZ is sports editor of the Opelika-Auburn News. He may be reached at mszvetitz@oanow.com or 737-2513.

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