BCS and Season Reflections

Auburn is looking to improve its Defense for 2012, the new DC Van Gorder should help with that.

It begins with defense 2010 was an anomaly.  But not in the way Bama fans want you think.  There are those who claim Auburn was a one-year wonder, but if that’s the case there are a lot of those over the past 20 years.  Perennial “powerhouses” Ohio State, Michigan, Texas and Oklahoma have exactly the same number of national titles as the Tigers in the past two decades.  Where Auburn’s 2010 title differed was in defense.  The Tigers are the only team in the past 20 years to win a title while surrendering an average of more than 20 points per game.  Auburn allowed an average of 24 in 2010.  Fourteen of the last twenty title holders allowed double digits, but only LSU’s 2007 squad (19.9 per game) came close to bumping 20.

The best defense ever? If it begins with defense, Alabama’s 2011 team was a statistical shoe-in to win the title.  Alabama allowed just 8.1 points per game this season, the lowest average of any BCS champion in the past 20 years.  Miami’s 1991 title team came the closest limiting opponents to an average of 8.3 points per game.  Alabama is one of six teams since 1991 to hold opponents under a double digit total.  The 1992 Alabama team often referenced as “tha best dayum defense evar!” allowed 9.3 points per game.  But was this Alabama defense the best of all time?

Maybe not.  Consider that the woefully anemic Auburn offense Alabama faced in the 2011 Iron Bowl was the fourth-highest scoring offense on the Tide’s schedule last season.  Vanderbilt’s offense was the third best scoring offense.  Alabama faced just six teams with a winning record and only Auburn, Penn State, Arkansas and LSU were more than a game over .500.  Impressive performance, but the quality of opposition was suspect.  Trade Auburn’s 2011 schedule which included Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia for Alabama’s Georgia State, North Texas and Tennessee and you’re probably looking at a different result.  Perhaps not in the win column, but definitely in the defensive totals.

Van Gorder is the most significant hire of Chizik’s career Cam Newton was a freak of nature.  He is in my mind one of the two or three greatest athletes to ever grace a college gridiron.  His amazing athletic talent and single-minded will to win propelled Auburn to the national championship in 2010.  He is, like Bo, a once in a generation player the likes of which we may not see in Auburn again in our lifetime.  If the statistical history above tells me anything it is that we cannot rely on finding another Cam and must build Auburn’s championship foundation on defense.  Look no further than Alabama for evidence of that.  Or look to Georgia. Alabama features a pedestrian quarterback, barely SEC-worthy by most measurable standards, a thick running back who gets far more credit than he deserves (there are a dozen backs as good in the SEC, see Dyer and Tate for examples) and an adequate offensive line.  When the defense keeps the opponent from scoring a lot you can take that pedestrian offense and just grind on people.  You don’t have to be flashy.  Winning is winning, ugly or not. Frankly, it’s the way Dye did it.  It’s the way Tuberville did it for the most part except for his typical annual brain freeze.

Now look at Georgia.  Richt focuses on offense.  Stafford is a great quarterback.  Greene was one of the best receivers in the country.  David Greene was a quality QB.  They’ve had and squandered some great talent at RB.  But Georgia’s defense?  Only once since 2001 has Georgia held opposition to 15 points or less on average.  In 2002 the Dogs allowed 15.1 ppg and won the SEC.  In 2003 they gave up 14.5 and took the SEC-E.  Since 2007?  At least 20 per game every year.  That will win some games and maybe keep your job but it’s not going to do it nationally.

Oregon will never win a national championship.  I don’t care how fast Chip Kelley talks, how quick his little midgets are or how much Creepy Uncle Phil pumps into that program, until they man up and play solid defense they will never ever ever get there.  Neither will any of the teams like them.  That’s what history says to me.

If Auburn under Chizik truly wants to stay on competitive ground with LSU, Alabama and the rest of the teams in the SEC the only way we get there is to concentrate on defense.

Fretting over the offensive coordinator is meaningless IMO.  Are you seriously trying to tell me Jim McWilfane is some kind of offensive genius?  If AU intends to get back in the fight the first thing that has to be done is limit scoring.  It needs to be in the 15-points per game or under area.  We need to hit people.  When was the last time an Auburn defense really hit anybody other than the Oregon game?

That begins and ends with the Van Gorder hire.

LSU and adversity Never seen a supposed top echelon program respond worse to adversity than LSU last night.  That goes for coaches and players.  Jefferson was absolutely abysmal.  The game plan was one dimensional and showed no recognition of trends, tendencies or history.  It was worse than the game Auburn called against Alabama.  It was a smart (albeit risky) move to go after Matthew and his idiotic hair because he plays on emotion and his emotion bleeds off to the rest of the team.  When he was unable to make the play on a couple of the passes, the weiner badger was toast.  He played like donkey turds and it had an impact on everybody else.  Oh and Jefferson was awful.  Terrible.  Handcuffed perhaps by the worst offensive gameplan I’ve ever personally witnessed (and who’d have thought I could say that after the Clint Moseley Experiment?) but Jefferson was clearly — CLEARLY — not going to get it done.  He could have directed 1000 possessions last night and gotten three first downs.  Maybe.  If you’re Miles and it’s obvious you’re going to get your ass hammered, why do you stick with something that has zero chance of working?  It was piss poor from the get go.  I was ready to change the channel after the first LSU offensive possession.  It was obvious what was about to happen even then.  LSU’s defense played well enough to win but you can’t ask them to make stop after stop after stop when the offense can’t even muster a first down.

Saban is a first class dick The tantrum over a penalty with under two minutes left was shameful.  Made him look like a petty little assclown.  Which he is.  But he’s doing something right.  Whether it’s cheating (as most suspect), ‘roiding (as several have suggested after Richardson went from a 225 bench to 480) or intimidating (clearly) or maybe some deal with the devil, he has the Alabama program operating at a level we haven’t seen in decades.  Things go in cycles and it won’t last forever.  Something will happen.  A disgruntled former player will tear it down from the outside, a prima donna on the inside will rip things apart, something will cause dissent and the program will fray, but it might be a while.  The absolute control Saban exerts over the fans, the media and the players by being an absolute first class dick makes it harder for that type of fault to lead to true seismic activity.

There is no justice in the world Any reality which allows a reprobate like Harvey Updyke to become famous (infamous), to score tickets to the BCS game and to celebrate in the stadium while the team he worships with sick, slavish devotion wins a national title is a reality where there is no justice.  If there were justice his hopes and dreams would have died a grisly death and he would have the opportunity to witness the complete and utter destruction of the program that claims not to want him (while treating him as a conquering hero).  If there were justice he would live to see that program get the NCAA death penalty and be barred from competition until he passed from this earth.

Beyond that, any reality where a team doesn’t win its own division, doesn’t win its own league and is crowned national champions over the team that DID win both those titles is unequivocally unjust.

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