I’ll be honest, this Alabama fan’s Open Letter to Mizzou Nation gave me the idea to write this post. If you have not checked out his letter, the link is included above. However, my article will be focused mainly on football since I really do not know much about Auburn itself. Plus, the Alabama fan did a pretty good job ripping on Auburn already. Thus, here is my open letter regarding the SEC Championship Game–this one to Auburn Nation.
Or is it ABUURN (see above picture) Nation? Then again, Auburn is not a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) like Missouri, so this type of spelling by your university’s students is to be expected I guess…
Auburn Nation, your luck has run out. No, but seriously, after these last two games, your luck has run out. Though you may be 2-0, you could very easily be 0-2.
Let’s take a quick look back…
At home, against Georgia, you were up 37-17 with a 12:39 left. Up 20 points with only 21% of the game left, and yet, you somehow found a way to allow Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs to roar back to 48-47 lead–scoring 21 unanswered points in just under 11 minutes. Sure, you took the lead (43-38) on a should-have-never-happened tipped-ball touchdown reception to Ricardo Louis with 25 seconds left on the clock.
You even tried to give the lead away one last time–playing a horrid version of prevent defense which allowed Murray to march 55 yards down the field to the edge of your red zone. Luckily, on the last play of the game, Murray made a poor decision by stepping up into the pass rush which led to an incomplete pass, and you won. Congratulations. You won on what is now called the “Immaculate Deflection.”
On the road, in their first real SEC game (sorry Vanderbilt fans out there) of the season, after a dismal 2-6 SEC record last season, Missouri beat then #7 Georgia convincingly–41-26. No Hail Mary tipped balls were needed for Mizzou to win this game. Up 28-10 at halftime and 28-20 going into the fourth, Mizzou was never truly tested by the Bulldogs. Mizzou allowed Georgia to rack up 454 total yards in the game. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Yep, it sure does until you look and see that Georgia had 532 total yards in their loss to Auburn.
Thus, Mizzou was on the road and after such a poor showing in the SEC last season, no one expected them to stand a chance against the Georgia. Well, they shut the nation up with a convincing 15-point victory. Auburn magically pulled out a home win that should have never happened if the Georgia defensive backs would have just knocked that damn ball down. I know it may not mean much to compare the two games, but it was still interesting to note.
Onto the Alabama game…
28-28 with 0:01 on the clock after the review determined that T.J. Yeldon‘s foot touched down out of bounds just in time for one final play. Nick Saban sent out freshman Adam Griffith for the 57-yard field goal attempt since, according to Saban, he was nailing 60 yarders in practice. Oh, and I guess it helped to try a fresh leg considering Cade Foster, the normal Alabama place-kicker was 0 for 3 (44 yards, 33 yards, 44 yards) on field goals in the game already.
Well, we all know what happened next. Griffith’s attempt fell a few yards short, and Chris Davis returned the field goal 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Congratulations, Auburn. No, but really, congratulations. I was even cheering for you during that return. It was one of the best endings in college sports history. No doubt.
However, I consider an ending like that a stroke of fluky luck. To me, it is like winning one of the biggest games on shootouts (which should be banned in both hockey and soccer, by the way) or winning a game on a full-court buzzer beater. You may have won the game, but if you played Alabama 10 times, especially after the Iron Bowl result, you would probably lose 8 or 9 of those times. Easily.
Thus, why was I cheering for you to win the Iron Bowl? Because I was being selfish. The Missouri Tigers are a great team, 11-1 and undefeated in regulation this season (2OT loss to South Carolina), and I will stick by them despite all of my criticism towards them early in the season. However, I liked their chances of winning the SEC Championship a lot more against you than against the Crimson Tide.
Not surprisingly, everything I am reading from fans down south is that Mizzou does not stand a chance against the big bad Auburn Tigers. Really? You mean that? Just because you took down the best team in college football on a fluky last-second play does not automatically anoint you as the best in the SEC just yet. The numbers below show this pretty well:
We will call points per game and yards per game a wash because a differential of 0.2 points and 1 yard isn’t statistically significant. However, Mizzou is just over a field goal better when it comes to points allowed per game, and as we all saw in the Iron Bowl (Bama went 0 for 4 on field goals), this could end up being a pretty big deal. Now let’s take a look at turnover margin.
You went 11-1 this season with only a +1 turnover margin. Really? It sounds like you have been walking a fine line all season and many games could have gone either way. This is made apparent by your narrow, one-possession victories over Washington State (7 points), Mississippi State (4 points), Ole Miss (8 points), Texas A&M (4 points), Georgia (5 points), and Alabama (6 points).
In all honesty, this post was meant to be taken as a joke. I really have no idea how the SEC Championship game will play out. One thing that I do know, though, is that both teams are more than deserving to be playing in this game, and I truly hope that the winner moves on to the BCS National Championship in Pasadena, California.
Considering the location of the game (Atlanta is 1 hour and 40 minutes from Auburn), it is a virtual home game for Auburn, which will play a huge factor in the outcome of the game considering the current Mizzou Tigers are new to such a big stage. However, at the same time, good luck to Auburn’s starting corner backs who stand 5’10” and 5’11”. Mizzou’s top two receivers, Dorial Green-Beckham and L’Damian Washington, stand 6’6″ and 6’4″ respectively. That could provide some huge matchup problems to be exploited.
Until next time…
(probably not until the weekend since I have 4 tests this week)