Friday, October 2, 2009

Auburn at Tennessee: I'm not looking...what just happened?

photo courtesy of Wade Payne - AP

If you missed out on last week's game against Ohio, this lovely lady was the half-time entertainment. Patti Page sang "Tennessee Waltz" for all of the UT faithful. I hope this week's entertainment in Knoxville consists of this serenade.

Now, on to the game: I already have some ideas about what's going to happen, but I thought I'd share a little research on the game provided by Auburn and Tennessee sports information, which can also be found on Track 'Em Tigers (isn't it great when someone else does the research for you?):

For the Auburn bullet points:

Auburn IS looking forward to starting 5-0. As I mentioned in a previous post, look for Auburn to win the game and get their first top 25 ranking of the season. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

The second bullet is a totally ridiculous statistic that is only good for a talking point. Does anyone actually care about games only featuring Chizik as a head coach? How is Auburn doing in games where I only had one beer before the game? How about in games played on a day +/- 3 days of the autumnal equinox? No one cares.

Auburn has done well against Tennessee over the past six years or so, but let's not forget a 14-12 win last year that shouldn't have been (for a good laugh, check the box score for a whopping 417 yards of offense...combined). Just about the entire fourth quarter was played on Auburn's side of the field with them holding a slim 2-point lead.

Fourth bullet, and one I didn't realize, is that Auburn has trailed in every game. That's correct, sports fans: every game. That includes games against La. Tech and Ball St. Look to extend that streak to 5 early, as Auburn gets adjusted to the cool mountain air.

Only two more bullets of interest: Auburn has scored in every quarter, with touchdowns in 15 of 16 quarters. Very interesting, though, is that only one bullet has to do with the current defense, and that is about turnovers, not actually playing good defense (the last bullet is a career stat).

For the Tennessee bullet points:

The recent game stats are relevant, and interesting of note is that nine of the last twelve contests have been decided by 10 points or less. This includes Tennessee's win over Auburn in their National Championship year of 1998 when they beat a really, really, really bad Auburn team 17-9 in Auburn (I was at that game, and we never really were out of it, despite what ended up being a 3-8 record that year, amid allegations that Terry Bowden fathered Bobby Lowder's daughter's kid).

The Kiffin vs. Chizik bullet point has nothing to do with either coach being good at his position since Kiffin's offense did put up points, but not enough to win (and USC was thought to be unstoppable that year), and Chizik's defense gave up 38 points. How does that translate to this year's game? I know what I'm thinking, but I won't say it.

I've alluded to ridiculous stats like the Oct. 3 stat listed. No further analysis necessary.

The meat of Tennessee's schedule is coming up in October, and they need the win to stay alive in the SEC (and probably bowl consideration). However, with Crompton's tendency to throw interceptions and Auburn's tendency to make them, I think Tennessee's offense has trouble getting up for the game. With that said, I still think this is a tight one, but Auburn's offense will outlast Eric Berry and Tennessee's defense, despite yielding several scores throughout the game. I will probably be peeking through my hands for the duration of the game, but I do see Auburn at a 7-10 point victory. Prediction: Auburn 39, Tennessee 31.

On a personal note: My AU-WVU pick was on the money (I was off by 3 on Auburn's score, 5 on WVU, but picked the victory correctly and correctly picked how the game would be played), and my AU-BSU pick was way off on the BSU side (but not the Auburn side, off by 5). I guess what I'm saying is that I'll stand by my 39 points for Auburn, but who knows what Tennessee will do. I really don't think they'll have more than 31 though. I'm sure Full Monte will have another take on this game, so stay tuned for his analysis.

War Eagle!

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