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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What Must Auburn Do: Kentucky

Artist unknown

Yes, I know I skipped over San Jose State. I wrote about them last season, and don't think this year will be any different.It will be a fun way to open the month of October, and enjoy the cooler weather.

Now it's time to look at traveling to Lexington, KY and taking the tail off of the Wildcats. Lets do this.

October 15, 2015
Thursday night on ESPNU.

This trip to play the Kentucky Wildcats will be much different than our last visit to Commonwealth Stadium. In 2010 Kentucky had Auburn on the ropes, and only a heroic drive by the Tiger offense kept that game from being a road loss.

Under head coach Mark Stoops, Kentucky's offense has looked to improve each season. From 2012 when the Wildcats averaged just 17.9 points per game, they have steadily increased that average to 20.5 in 2013, and 29.2 last season. 

Predicted by many to be middle of the pack in the SEC East, this Kentucky squad has an explosive Sophomore RB named Stanley "Boom" Williams who has been named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list. The P.H.A. is for college footballs most versatile player.

Auburn's visit to Kentucky will be a big time event. Thursday night with a national audience, and the brand new Commonwealth Stadium will be on full display. Here's a video showing the new amenities:

During a recent function Coach Stoops was asked how much better his team would be this season vs. last season. Stoops answered: "Significantly better. As you should be when you enter the 3rd year of your program, you expect it to be better." Here is a LINK to that video.

The Wildcats will return their starting QB, Patrick Towels, and all but one offensive lineman. They have a strongish set of receivers, with a true stud Freshman at Tight End. The potential to reach Bowl eligibility is certainly there. The ability to go toe to toe with the elite of the SEC is not, however.

If our Tigers can play up to their potential, this game should be close for 3 quarters, as Auburn pulls away in the 4th.

Lets call it Auburn 38 Kentucky 27

WAR EAGLE!


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Auburn's Wednesday Takeover of SEC Network


 Auburn's SEC Network Takeover (July 1)
Time (ET)
Programming
Midnight
2006 Auburn vs. Florida (Football)
2 a.m.
2014 Auburn vs. Alabama (Soccer)
3:30 a.m.
1999 Auburn vs. Ole Miss (Basketball)
5:30 a.m.
2015 Auburn vs. Alabama (Softball)
7:30 a.m.
You Don't Know Bo
9 a.m.
1982 Auburn vs. Alabama (Football)
11 a.m.
2015 Auburn vs. Tennessee (Softball)
1 p.m.
2003 Auburn vs. Alabama (Football)
3 p.m.
2011 BCS National Championship
5 p.m.
2015 Auburn vs. LSU (Men's Basketball)
7 p.m.
This is Auburn
8 p.m.
2013 Auburn vs. Alabama
10 p.m.
This is Auburn (re-air)
11 p.m.
Bo, Barkley, & The Big Hurt

War Eagle Wednesday on #SECNTakeover

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Auburn & Media Expectations

original photo courtesy of Auburn University. editing by the author

It's no secret, Auburn football teams have had muddled success in the past with these highly ranked preseason media expectations.

Here is Phillip Marshall's chart from 247Sports/ Auburn Undercover:

OVERACHIEVERS ( edited: only since the Pat Dye era )
Teams that finished ranked at least three spots higher in the final Associated Press poll than in the preseason poll:

1982: NR, No. 14
1986: No. 14, No. 6
1993: NR, No. 4
1997: No. 16, No. 11
2000: NR, No. 18
2002: NR, No. 14
2004: No. 17, No. 2
2007: No. 18, No. 15
2010: No. 22, No. 1 

UNDERACHIEVERS ( edited: only since the Pat Dye era )
Teams that finished at least three spots lower in the final poll than in the preseason poll.

1984: No. 1, No. 14
1985: No. 2, NR
1990: No. 3, No. 19
1991: No. 18, NR
1995: No. 6, No. 22
1996: No. 16, No. 24
1998: No. 25, NR
2003: No. 6, NR
2006: No. 4, No. 9
2008: No. 10, NR

Many Auburn fans believe the Tigers do better when not burdened with high expectations. This may be.

It is my opinion that the coaching staffs have failed to bring to the minds of our players "Championships are what we expect at Auburn." The players must believe this can be achieved through hard work and dedication to the team. This is called having a "championship mentality."

This simple goal, if you will, is something that we as fans have to embrace as being a legitimate expectation every season. 

We as Auburn fans also realize the fine line between expecting to compete for championships, and this being our birthright.

The biggest letdown that has to be avoided. It is imperative the "never to yield" attitude must be maintained, even when championships become out of reach. Having 5 of 6 losses to end your season, is where that history mentioned above has it's teeth. That falls on the coaches.

However, we as fans must also embrace this simple fact: If Auburn does contend for championships every season, then we must come to expect these highly ranked preseason expectations. Only then will we start achieve that "Championship mentality."

The big question now though is: Can this 2015 Auburn team handle the lofty preseason rankings, and projected playoff spots that are being published by the national sports media? 

With the combined coaching experience of both Gus Malzahn, and Will Muschamp, both having been a part of National Championship teams, the answer is a resounding yes. 

The 2015 Auburn Tigers can and will be as good as expected.

WAR EAGLE!

Monday, June 22, 2015

What Must Auburn Do: Mississippi State

 2015 Auburn Football Schedule
Date Game Location Time

09/05/15 vs. Louisville TV Atlanta TBA
09/12/15 vs. Jacksonville State TV Auburn TBA
09/19/15 at LSU TV Baton Rouge TBA
09/26/15 vs. Mississippi State TV Auburn TBA
10/03/15 vs. San Jose State (HC) TV Auburn TBA
10/15/15 at Kentucky TV Lexington TBA
10/24/15 at Arkansas TV Fayetteville TBA
10/31/15 vs. Ole Miss TV Auburn TBA
11/07/15 at Texas A&M TV College Station TBA
11/14/15 vs. Georgia TV Auburn TBA
11/21/15 vs. Idaho TV Auburn TBA
11/28/15 vs. Alabama TV Auburn TBA
SEC Championship

We have looked in depth at what these Tigers must accomplish to be a better football team. First we looked at the defense, then the offense.

It's the time of year when the players are working with their strength and conditioning coaches, and participating in voluntary workouts. This is where team chemistry, and trust, the two essential building blocks of any successful team are built. 

We are looking at each opponent on our schedule with the eye of a Tiger. Next up: Mississippi State Bulldogs.

I totally dislike Dan Mullen. As a fan of college football, you watch all these different coaches go about their business of coaching their respective teams, and I can not like Dan Mullen. Don't personally know the guy, just don't like him. 

Dak Prescott. Now, him I like. Prescott is a straight baller. Takes his team on his back and changes the outcome with his effort. 

Good to better arm strength, and wonderful mobility. This will cause Auburn some problems. It has in the past, so I feel comfortable saying it here. Prescott is a wild card when trying to figure this game out.

State has experience at the Wide Out positions as well, and maybe the 2nd best receiver in the SEC West in DeRunnya Wilson. 

Where things get iffy for the Maroon Squad is along the line. Losses to graduation have depleted the interior of the "O" line. As any coach will tell you, the war in this conference is won in the trenches.

State will have played a lesser opponent the week prior to traveling to Auburn, and our Tigers will be coming home from an always physical trip to Baton Rouge. That "D" line depth will come in handy against the Dawgs of Starkville, and it may just be the difference in this game.

Mississippi State was not the best team defensively last season, and lost most of the experience it had to graduation. 3 starters along the defensive front, and 3 starters in the defensive backfield will have to be replaced. 

Looking at all the facts, this version of the Maroon and White will have to outscore opponents to win their games. That will be a big problem when it comes to Auburn. 

Look for the Tiger rushing attack to run rampant, and enough big pass plays to unfold making this look easy.

Calling it AU 47 MSU 20 

WAR EAGLE!

What Must Auburn Do: LSU

 2015 Auburn Football Schedule
Date Game Location Time

09/05/15 vs. Louisville TV Atlanta TBA
09/12/15 vs. Jacksonville State TV Auburn TBA
09/19/15 at LSU TV Baton Rouge TBA
09/26/15 vs. Mississippi State TV Auburn TBA
10/03/15 vs. San Jose State (HC) TV Auburn TBA
10/15/15 at Kentucky TV Lexington TBA
10/24/15 at Arkansas TV Fayetteville TBA
10/31/15 vs. Ole Miss TV Auburn TBA
11/07/15 at Texas A&M TV College Station TBA
11/14/15 vs. Georgia TV Auburn TBA
11/21/15 vs. Idaho TV Auburn TBA
11/28/15 vs. Alabama TV Auburn TBA
SEC Championship

We have looked in depth at what these Tigers must accomplish to be a better football team. First we looked at the defense, then the offense.

It's the time of year when the players are working with their strength and conditioning coaches, and participating in voluntary workouts. This is where team chemistry, and trust, the two essential building blocks of any successful team are built. 

We are looking at each opponent on our schedule with the eye of a Tiger. Next up: Louisiana State University
They're big, they're fast, they're LSU. What else is new? I mean, really. The Bengal cats have been extremely good under Les Miles the entire time he has been the head coach at LSU. 

Since taking the helm of the Bayou Party Barge in January of 2005,  Miles has averaged over 10 wins per season, totaling 103 victories. LSU leads the series vs. Auburn 27-21-1

The defense will be led by Kevin Steele after the defection of long time DC John Chavis to Texas A&M

So, what must Auburn do to win this big conference match up? Our Tigers must perform the way they did last season in this match up. In 2014 Auburn played its best and most complete game against LSU.

It's expected that Jeremy Johnson, Auburn's starting QB will be more of a passer than Nick Marshall who led the Auburn attack the previous 2 seasons. Against this LSU secondary, Johnson will need to be near perfect. Auburn's receivers will need to catch every ball that comes near them.

Mixing the run and the pass will be key. Sustaining long drives, keeping the ball away from LSU's offense, and scoring every possession is a must on the road. It will take all of the effort Auburn can muster to win in Baton Rouge. 

Defensively, our Tigers will have to stop Leonard Fournette, and keep the running game below their potential average. Make the Bengal Tigers play 2nd and 3rd downs with long yardage. 

Auburn's defense must make the LSU offensive line try and hold the AU defensive line back, when they will keyed on the passer. With the rotation the Auburn coaches use, this will be one key area to watch. 

Auburn's secondary must not let LSU make big plays offensively. Sure open field tackling will be required, and our best pass defense of the season to this point will be a must.

Most importantly, when on the road in conference play Auburn must not allow their opponents to stay in the game by having stupid penalties. Keep the penalties to a minimum, and we can win this game. I think we do just that.

Call it Auburn 38 LSU 27

              

Friday, June 12, 2015

Recruiting: Double Whammy

photo by Keith Niebuhr


The addition of 4 star JUCO DB Jamarcus King out of Coffeyville, (KS) Community College was the pleasant surprise of the day.

During King's visit Thursday he pulled the trigger. "I just felt like it was the right move," King told AuburnUndercover. 

King attended Blount High School in Mobile, AL where coincidentally Auburn WR's coach Dameyune Craig played.

The decision by Malik Miller to commit to Auburn was not a big surprise. Many in the recruiting media had predicted as much.






Auburn now has eight commitments for the 2016 class.
WAR EAGLE!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Auburn Softball Rises to #3


A quick post to congratulate the Auburn Softball team on finishing their season as the 3rd best team in the country. 

The South Eastern Conference ended the season with 5 teams in the Top 10, including the Florida Gators who won the Women's College World Series.

Thanks to Coach Clint Myers and his staff for helping these ladies reach their goal of becoming a powerhouse. The future is indeed bright for the program.

Rank Team Record Points Previous
1 Florida (32) 60-7 800 2
2 Michigan 60-8 768 3
3 Auburn 56-11 723 4
4 LSU 52-14 712 8
5 UCLA 51-12 661 7
6 Alabama 48-15 644 5
7 Oregon 51-8 614 1
8 Tennessee 47-17 579 10
9 Oklahoma 49-9 533 6
10 Florida State 49-14 499 9
11 Louisiana-Lafayette 42-12 464 11
12 Georgia 44-17 428 14
13 Arizona 41-20 407 16
14 Missouri 42-16 393 12
15 Minnesota 49-11 313 15
16 UCF 50-9 285 13
17 Kentucky 32-26 254
18 Baylor 41-17 242 18
19 North Carolina State 38-22 215
20 Arizona State 36-22 165 23
21 Washington 42-17 145 20
22 James Madison 48-10 116 17
23 South Alabama 40-13 78 22

California 39-18 78 19
25 Notre Dame 42-15 71 21

North Dakota State 45-11 71 25

Others receiving votes:

Texas A&M (56), Western Kentucky (20), Florida Atlantic (13), Utah (13), Hofstra (12), Pittsburgh (11), USC Upstate (6), Kansas (6), North Carolina (3), Mississippi State (1).