Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Classless Team on the Plains

Emotions were running high this game, I think we can all agree. While I don't have as long of a personal perspective on the Auburn program as TKK, Auburn does have the potential to finish the season #1 in a ranking that no one should aspire to. (Here's an older post that goes more in-depth to Auburn's long history of violations).

Auburn was definitely the better football team tonight. Whether Auburn will deeply regret not withholding Cam remains to be seen (but as they always say, when there's smoke, there's fire). We played with them until the end, and retrospectively the AU onside kick at the beginning of the 2nd half was absolutely the turning point, swinging the # of possessions battle in their favor.

However, the refs lost control of the game. Everyone knew that a whirlwind of emotions were also lining up between the hashes, and Auburn vented them early and often. I frankly lost count of the personal fouls, called and uncalled, primarily coming from Auburn's side of the ball. From Cam Newton's slap of a stiff arm, to...

Plus several other hits on Aaron, with the defenders driving him into the ground well after the pass was off. (Which Verne and Gary specifically commented on, and mentioned that other schools had complained about it as well).

And then there was the hit on Aaron. From my subjective view, a flag absolutely should have been thrown on Nick Fairley on the play below. Fairley hit Aaron well after the ball was out, and as you'll see, he angled back in to hit Aaron himself (what Gary Danielson saw, I don't know, but he wasn't blocked into Aaron). Hits like this on a vulnerable QB well after the ball is out can end a career, and to see the defender angle back in for the hit is frankly sickening.

UGA was right to get upset about the hit. Less than 2 minutes left in the game, 1 UGA TO and down by 18, there was no reason for Auburn to be in any other defensive set than a deep zone cover. Fairley was going after the QB simply to pad stats and pose himself as "the champion". Why wasn't he flagged once for doing the championship belt move, which he did multiple times throughout the game, including at the end of the fight video below? Not that I condone getting into fights on the field, but let the record show that 2 Auburn players were ejected for throwing punches on 2 different plays.

I know there are good, decent Plainsmen out there, including one of our own bloggers on this site, but this game makes me question the emphasis and direction the Auburn program is heading. With the preponderance of evidence that's already out there on Cam, there's no doubt in my mind that he will at some point be declared ineligible. Is Auburn really willing to win at any cost? Or does Auburn accept their checkered history of pay-for-play (ex 1 and ex 2) as a cost of doing business?

Oddly enough, this contrast makes me even prouder to be a Dawg and to have CMR roaming the sidelines. We will know with CMR when we do reach the shining prize at the top of the BCS mountain, there won't be any asterisks, scandals, or cheap play clouding our achievements.

Friday, November 12, 2010

80's Music Video of the Week - Jane's Addiction

Watch out, Cam. Jane's Addiction is talking about you.

Aubie Implicated in Cam Newton Scandal

It's about to break nationwide, but Aubie (America's Least Threating Mascot), is now at the center of a new Cam Newton scandal. Apparently, this is new a side of Aubie than we've previously seen.

A rash of laptops have gone missing on Auburn's campus over the past several weeks during football games, and this picture nabbed last week proves of Aubie's involvement:

This is a saddening development for what has been an upstanding, but lame, mascot. Cam Newton's actions are now dragging others down with him.

Apparently, Aubie's also been keeping up with all of the media's coverage of Cam Newton Scandal:

But this is what Aubie apparently thought of the media's reports on Cam:

Now that he's been implicated in the Cam Newton affairs, this cat's in for a rude awakening.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

3rd Annual BnE Pick 'Em: Week 10

Folks, I'm back after a bye week, so let's recap where we stand after week 10 heading into the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry:
  1. Bubba with 277 points and 18-8
  2. Silver Britches with a respectable 260 and a 16-10 record
  3. Fresh Catch Shuffle just 1 point behind and 17-9
  4. AUMav's Picks with 255 points going 18-8
  5. Dawgsman81 with 255 and 18-8 points but just missing on the tie breaker
  1. Silver Britches with 2185 points and a 162-67 record taking the lead
  2. AUMav's Picks with 2181 points and a 163-66 record
  3. WarriorDawg making the most of his points going 160-69 but managing 2168 points
  4. allyugadawg keeoing it real for the ladies racking up 2151 points with a 165-64
  5. BLACKOUT going 164-65 with 2132 points
Since most everyone did fairly well this week, BnE's Pick 'Em will recognize the scourge of the sports media world this week as our Bottom Feeder of the Week. As many of you now have heard, there have been several allegations leveled at Cam Newton. Everything from alleged cheating at Florida, to his pay-for-play scandal involving Kenny Rogers at Mississippi State, the sports news media have jumped on this bandwagon faster than a Florida fan lining up for a sale on jean shorts down at the Family Dollar. ESPN, Fox News, Sports Illustrated, etc. all have reported on the sources, speaking anonymously since they do not have permission to speak, and their allegations against Cam. Yet despite all the allegations, Cam remains eligible to play. Let's remember one thing: in this country, a person is innocent until proven guilty.

Now, it can all come back and all the allegations can be true. But the timing, ferocity and intensity at which these allegations keep coming out have lead the fans and sports haters alike to view it all as a bit of a comical spectacle. Not since Bill Clinton have sports fan taken to lampooning the allegations. Seriously, its as if the old Chuck Norris facts have morphed into the never-ending Allegations of Cam Newton. Here are a few of my favorites courtesy of FOP and some of my Auburn friends' posts:
  • Cam Newton dines and dashes at charity dinner events
  • Cam Newton was on the infamous grassy knoll in Dallas
  • Cam Newton gave Jessie Spano those caffeine pills
  • Cam Newton fired the rocket out of the Pacific. It was headed to your mom's house.
  • Cam Newton is funneling money to Somali Pirates
  • Cam Newton did in fact let the dogs out
  • Cam Newton didn't wash his hands in the bathroom causing the Cholera outbreak in Haiti
My favorite however comes from . He photo shopped an entire homepage to show the following:

Anyway, I find all this a tragic comedy. As much as I can laugh at all this, its still sad how the media has jumped on this just weeks after praising the turn around and the athletic ability of this young man. Let's not forget, Cam has done tremendous things at Auburn as a young man in just one year on the Plains. I look forward to seeing him in action again this Saturday in Auburn as he takes on the Dawgs. With Cam at the helm, I have a good feeling I'll be seeing my Tigers in Atlanta.

As for the rest of the weekend's games, let's see what else we have to look forward to...
  • Miami at Georgia Tech: Miami has proven to be the SUC of the ACC. Actually, the whole ACC has proven to be more neurotic in their play than SUC. Its a crap shoot but take Buzz
  • Utah at Notre Dame: Utes. Next!
  • Texas Tech at OU: If you think there might be another upset, think again. OU is at home and plays well in Normam. Take the Sooners over Tubs
  • OK State at Texas: Goose is dead...You gotta let him go. Seriously, the season is over for Texas and I cant see how the Horns pull it off against the Cowboys. Something is wrong in the state of Texas.
  • Oregon at Cal: LaMichael James could be in jail in Thailand and Oregon would still have enough speed to run. Don't pass on the Duck!
  • SUC at the Swamp: This is going to be an interesting match up but I have a feeling fate is still smiling on the Visor of the Old Ball Coach. Look for the defense of SUC to put enough pressure on Demps and Rainey to give Lattimore time to run the ball when the O is on the field. SUC wins a close one to secure a ticket to Atlanta.
  • A&M at Baylor: Toss a coin, its a game between two Texas teams.
  • Mississippi State at Bama: Dan Mullen has put together a very good team in Starkville. If you're a betting man, go out on a limb and pick the other Bulldogs
That's it for now. BulldawgJosh, our old friend BFR, and myself will be loading up and heading to Auburn on Saturday. If anyone else is headed down, leave me a message and you're always welcome at the tailgate.


Heroes of The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: Tra Battle

The 2006 matchup between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers had a similar ring to the game that will take place this Saturday. Georgia was struggling with a freshman quarterback under center, having lost games earlier in the season to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The record stood at 6-4 and the Dawgs were underdogs to an Auburn team that was in the national title race. The #5 ranked Tigers were 9-1 and were looking to reach the SEC Championship game for the second time in four years. What followed was an absolute destruction of the Auburn Tigers. The final score was 37-15 and the game became known as the Massacre on the Plains.

There were many heroes in game, from defensive lineman Ray Gant to quarterback Matthew Stafford. But if there was an MVP award for this effort, there is little doubt that award would not have gone to senior safety Tra Battle. From Mary Parsons High School in Forsyth, Georgia, Battle earned his spot at Georgia the hard way: as a walk-on. During his junior season, he became a starter and was put on full scholarship. The game against Auburn was Battle’s signature moment at Georgia, intercepting three passes from Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox including one for a touchdown. Here’s a look back at his performance:

Following the 2006 season, in which he totaled 58 tackles, Battle was named to the All-SEC first team. Soon after, he was also named a third-team All-American. Despite these awards, he went undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft. But just like walking on at Georgia, Tra was determined to continue his playing career at the next level. He eventually signed with the San Diego Chargers and made his NFL debut in 2008. After being cut from the Chargers, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys where he spent the remainder of the 2008 season. In 2009, he practiced with the Detroit Lions and later the Cleveland Browns. For his NFL career, he has totaled 15 tackles.

Once again, Tra refused to give up on his dream of playing football. He signed with the Hartford Colonials of the UFL where he recorded 18 tackles in six games during the 2009 season. While his playing career continues, Battle also focuses much of his attention on charity work. Tra’s Battle for Success Foundation, a division of the Athletes for Education Foundation, focuses on children’s education programs in the San Diego area. For the last two years, Tra has hosted “Camp Battle” in Tijuana, Mexico, which focuses on events for children ages 4-16 with mild to severe autism.

Tra Battle: Damn Good Dawg.

For more information:

Tra’s Battle for Success Foundation

UFL Player Spotlight: Tra Battle

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Everything but the Game

You know what seems to ruin a good rivalry? Scandal.

The Dawgs travel to the Plains on Saturday and the story should be about how one of the worst Georgia teams in recent memory is trying to knock off a team headed towards a national title. Throw in the fact that Georgia has won 4 games in a row against the Tigers and a victory would even the series at 53 wins a piece and there should be plenty of stories to talk about. But instead of the game, almost all of the talk this week has been about the potential illegal recruitment of Heisman front runner Cam Newton. Yes, I agree that this is a huge story that needs to be covered, I am just sad to see it happen this week.

By the time 3:30 rolls around on Saturday, Auburn will most likely have taken the field with Cam Newton as the starting quarterback. The game will play out and by Saturday night, Auburn will either still be undefeated or Georgia will be bowl eligible. Cam Newton's eligibility will not have an effect on the game and even if he (and Auburn) is found guilty of wrong doing, it won't change what took place on the field.

Great rivalries don't just happen over night. Georgia's traditional rivalries with Florida and Georgia Tech have both become lopsided affairs in recent years. But the rivalry with Auburn (despite the 4 straight victories) has always been close. For a game that means this much to two programs' seasons, it is a shame to see this cloud hanging over head. The NCAA has known about this situation for months and its failure to make a decision is now taking away from what should be the focus of sports: the play on the field.

As a Georgia fan, I will take a victory any way we can get it. But if Cam Newton doesn't play and Georgia wins, have we really upset a top 5 team?


Monday, November 8, 2010

Spoiler Alert

In recent years, the Georgia Bulldogs have rarely been in the position they are this week. They have a chance to play #2 Auburn with a spot in the SEC Championship game on the line, but not for them. We all remember 2002, when Georgia had a chance to clinch its first trip to the SEC Championship game. The #24 Tigers lead the #7 Dawgs until late in the fourth quarter when David Greene found Michael Johnson in the corner of the end zone for the game winning score. Just like Mark Richt in 2002, Gene Chizik is in his second year as head coach in the SEC and seeking his first trip to Atlanta.

When the Tigers traveled to Athens to take on the Dawgs last year, the story was a similar one that we find this weekend. Georgia was 5-4 and had yet to become bowl eligible while Auburn was 7-3 and looking to create momentum before their showdown with Alabama. Georgia was able to earn a shootout victory thanks in large part to a touchdown saving play by Bacarri Rambo on what would have been the game tying touchdown. The Dawgs would drop their next contest to Kentucky before upsetting Georgia Tech while Auburn would fall to Alabama. Both teams finished the season with a record of 7-5. A Georgia victory would provide a lot of momentum for the Bulldogs heading into the annual match up with Georgia Tech. A victory in both games would mean a 7-5 record for the second straight year.

On The Plains this weekend, the Georgia Bulldogs will have the chance to throw a wrench in Auburn’s national championship dreams. A Georgia victory on Saturday coupled with a loss to Alabama in two weeks could potentially propel LSU into the SEC Championship (provided they win their remaining conference games). The Dawgs helped keep Auburn out of the SEC Championship game back in 2006 when a 5-4 Georgia squad took down the #5 Tigers 37-15. While I would definitely love for the Dawgs to be the ones playing for a shot in Atlanta, an upset victory would be even sweeter this season

Sunday, November 7, 2010

An Animal is Most Dangerous When Cornered and Wounded

Going into this season, I had my doubts on what I would see at this point in the year. From all the projections, prognosticators and predictions, Alabama would still be #1 and undefeated in the SEC West and LSU would be challenging Bama for the title. Auburn would be managing a respectable season with a new quarterback and questionable defense and the SEC East would be a three-way race with Florida, UGA and SUC, while the rest of the division made due on scraps. At the beginning of August, it looked like it would be another typical season in the SEC with the same players fighting their way to the top.


Through the end of week 10, Auburn sits atop the the conference and SEC West, with Bama having lost to LSU, while the rest of the West now all bowl eligible. In the East however, things are a wreck. SUC is top dog with a 4-3/6-3 record tied with Florida, UGA is 3-4/5-5, and Vandy 1-5/2-7. Only SUC & Florida are bowl eligible with their showdown next week to determine the SEC East winner. Despite the East's dismal record, they've proven  they're able to make an upset when the opportunity presents itself: SUC upset Bama, UK upset SUC, and Tennessee technically should have upset LSU. With all the talk of the Iron Bowl and a possible National Title run, the game that worries me most at the moment is coming in two weeks. With UGA's 3 game win streak ended in Jacksonville, and this weekend's win putting the team at .500, the likelihood of missing a bowl game becoming more real in Athens, the Dawgs are a cornered and wounded animal, and there is nothing more dangerous in the wild.

Let's take a look at what's at stake next weekend now the Tigers and Dawgs have beat their respective FCS opponents. For Georgia, the biggest piece of the pie is the 'W' making the team bowl eligible for a possible berth in the Birmingham Bowl or the Music City Bowl. With the season the way it has been, Streit is right, its a 'Lose, lose' situation overall. Winning at Auburn and becoming bowl eligible will help ease the sting of a mediocre season for the Dawgs knowing they have a New Year's game on the horizon heading into the game with Tech. The added bonus will be beating a top-ranked Auburn team for a 5th consecutive year, and giving the team a signature win. A loss on the Plains will all but seal the fate of the Dawgs for the season, and send Georgia home to Athens to face Buzz in a last-ditch effort to become bowl eligible and finish what would be arguably be the worst season under Richt. UGA has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Auburn will come into this meeting ranked #2 in the country, 10-0 and 1st in the SEC overall. The Tigers lead this series all time 53-52-8. However, we have lost the past 4 meetings to the Dawgs, and a 5th will even the win column for UGA. But the bigger issue is what the loss will do to the Tiger's hopes of a shot at the SEC Championship and a potential National Title game appearance. Should the Tigers lose, we will have one week to recover, not just in preparation for the Iron Bowl with a two-loss Bama, but also in the polls. The voters are already overlooking this game, and losing to UGA would be viewed as a loss to a much weaker opponent, which would most likely send Auburn out of the top 5 or even top 10. Even if Auburn were to beat a ranked Bama at that point, we'd still lose out on reaching the title game to a Oregon, Boise or TCU who would leap frog us during our bye week.

I'm not looking past UGA. Despite the play of the Dawgs so far this season, they've shown absolute flashes of brilliance. AJ Green's first game back showed their is potential for the offense as long as the play makers are given the chance to work their magic, something forgotten in the Florida game. AJ is 3rd on the team for receiving yards, but 1st for receiving touchdowns. Simply put, if he is in the end zone, toss the ball up and let AJ climb the ladder to score. Aaron Murray has shown his freshman inexperience several times, however, he has demonstrated an athletic ability to escape a bad situation by using his legs, even scoring touchdowns in the process. He has over 2000 yards of passing with 15 TDs to show, not to mention 4 rushing TDs. Aaron has 3 receivers with over 1200 receiving yards combined to use against a very weak secondary. Georgia has to be creative in this game offensively get the ball to the play makers in order to have a shot at putting up points to counter the #2 ranked offense.

Auburn has to look for ways to protect Cam Newton, Ontario McCalebb, and Mike Dyer from UGA's improving defense. Averaging 200 passing and 300 yards rushing per game, Auburn's Gus Malzahn has consistently found ways to counter defenses and rushes to keep Auburn in the fight with a balanced attack. The offensive line is fast and physical, allowing only 12 sacks. They key to this game for Auburn, as it has been all season, is play count. In Gus Malzahn's offensive scheme, the team must execute at least 86 plays for a win. I'm not going to put it past Georgia to pull an upset, especially with the history behind the meetings of these two teams. So long as Cam can keep the ball moving down field, and continue to make plays while using his weapons in Michael Dyer, Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachary, Auburn may walk away from this dangerous fight.

This annual grudge match is slated to kick-off at 3:30 eastern and air on CBS. UGA should prepare for this game as thought it will be their bowl game, because the atmosphere at Jordan-Hare will the most intense they've faced all season. It might also be the closest thing they get to a bowl game atmosphere should they lose. Auburn fans will be amped up to see if their Heisman contending QB, Cam Newton, will be able to keep the dream alive and send Auburn into the Iron Bowl as the undefeated leader of the SEC in addition to being the SEC West champion. This game holds everything for both teams; a bowl eligible win for UGA and saving grace for Richt, and for the Tigers a chance at continued perfection keeping the dream season alive in hopes of an SEC championship and National Title. This is my favorite game of the season every year. Whichever way the game goes, I plan to be there to see it all.

I will be back later this week to recap the BnE Pick 'Em after my bye week from reporting.