Season Preview Game One: Roadtripping the possible impossibility of losing to La-Monroe

Monroe, LA – It was an impromptu reconnaissance mission. It turned into a thought experiment.

It was too dark to stop in Monroe on my way out to Lubbock (I went to find a place to live). Left at 2:30 in the afternoon and drove the 16 hours straight, pulled in at dawn. While there I checked out Texas Tech’s tiny stadium (it looked like the Hoover Met from the interstate, I swear), I queried their fan base (the pre-season attention has them confused, even frightened), I even happened to cruise past someone named Michael Crabtree (Tech’s star receiver, I’m told), on Buddy Holly Ave (my tour guide told me he’d “lost what the game was about” – Crabtree, not Holly). After all, we’ve been picked to meet the Red Raiders in the Sugar Bowl, and we (7th) are making out with them (8th) in the latest Sports Illustrated preview. So gettin’ the scoop on what I guess protocol demands to be my second favorite team, at least temporarily, seemed wise.

But I really wanted to take the opportunity of this gasser of a trip to get a feel for Monroe, for ULM, some scouting, some sleeping with the enemy, really take some notes… which is what I did on the way home. No, I’m lying. There was no scouting. I was there for The Billboard. And you’d better believe that it’s still up, oh it’s up.

The kitchen and wait staff at the Copeland’s at Pecanland Mall Dr. were more than glad to help get me there. They noticed the Auburn hat right off. Even though we’re locking horns in three weeks, it was still very ‘the-enemy-of-my-enemy’ up in there, smiles all around, refills without even asking. It made me think of Chris Shelling Jr.’s preview:

LaMonroe Prediction=sweltering heat, short skirts, auburn wins. Expect some funny t-shirts and possible standing-O for the visitors.

“Just go out this way, take your first right…”

There are actually two of them. I just went to one, the closest one. The sunset was incredible. It was almost too dark to find it. But then. There. It. Was.

Wait! No, that’s not it! Oh hot damn, please tell me that’s Alabama, oh it is, it totally is! They’ve not only gloated over the win a la billboard for almost a whole year, they’re actually using the victory in their promotional campaign for ’08, “Hey Monroe, come out and support youurrrrrr Saban Slayers, first 10,000 kids get a koozie.” Oh man, beautiful.

OK, well hmmm, where is it… wait, there it is, yeah, yeah, pull over.

Ahh. Man, it’s even sexier in person. Here… take one with me, make sure the hat’s in it.

There you have it. Yeah, there was no reconnaissance, would have been fun, but I’m a busy man. But now let’s talk that thought experiment. Alright, now, I promise this is not arrogance, not cockiness… I am no foolhardy braggart… but I just want to ask: recent Iron Bowls excluded, has Auburn ever had (in theory) less of a chance to lose a game than this year’s opener against Monroe?

No. 1) … it’s the first game, the boys are fighting themselves, beating each other up, salivating, throw them some meat, we’re going to be ready.

No. 2) … after nine months in the oven, it’s the first real debut of Spread Eagle, which in just nine days time was effective enough to beat Clemson, the team this year picked to win the ACC (aren’t they?)…

No. 3) and most importantly … we’re going up in this first game with all of Tony’s Toys against a dinky-ish team that not only famously embarrassed Alabama on the field but a team who’s fan base will pay thousands to hoist their schadenfreude high over interstates and thoroughfares and will potentially use photos of their players scoring on faltering Auburn defenders to advertise War Hawk Football ’09. The coaches will surely beat these facts into the players.

So again I ask you: have we ever had more incentive to be up for a cupcake? Discuss.

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4 Comments

Filed under General, Pre-game Notes

4 responses to “Season Preview Game One: Roadtripping the possible impossibility of losing to La-Monroe

  1. sot1977

    Actually, you’re right. Auburn needs to be up for this game against a “cupcake”….probably the first time in a long time that they’ve REALLY had to. As a Warhawk fan, I know the realities of this game. If anything, Auburn will try to put the hurt on ULM early to crush any attempt at a comeback. Auburn will go big in the first quarter while ULM will play a normal game.

    Be aware that ULM knows what this game means to Auburn.

    Be aware that ULM has faced the “spread eagle” offense before. Troy did it with a QB and receivers far better than what Auburn has now, and they never really dominated the Warhawks in those games (despite the score). Tony Franklin is also familiar with ULM, so it should be interesting to see what he pulls up. Be aware that Auburn will not show everything the spread can do because he does not want to tip off the rest of the SEC and give them several weeks of lead time to counter that offense.

    I predict that should Auburn win (and they should), it will be because of their defense and NOT their offense. If ULM is tied or within seven at halftime (and that’s possible), look for a wild second half. Two years ago we played Kentucky and Kansas with those wide-open offenses and we nearly won those games, losing both by only two points mostly due to our mistakes.

    BTW, I expect that standing “O” from the War Eagle fans when ULM takes the field. We’d appreciate it!

  2. Very good read, funny stuff.

  3. So I guess the trip to Monroe has become a pilgramage. LOL. By the way, don’t know if you know this, but the ULM- 21 Bama- 14 billboard was moved to I-20 so the Gumps had to pass it on their way to their bowl game in Shreveport. It was then moved back to its current location on US 165. As for the game this year, look for the best team ULM has put on the field since moving to 1-A and don’t look for them to be intimidated coming to the Plains. The Warhawks will come in expecting to be in the game in the 4th quarter with a chance to win. I personally think we have a much better shot at Arkansas and Ole Miss, but I think all Warhawk fans expect to knock off at least one SEC team this year. On another subject, how well do you think I could do selling the ULM -21 Bama-14 t-shirts at the game? 😉 See you soon and I loved the article.

  4. If you are moving to Lubbock PM me. I have been here since graduation in 81, I might be able to help you out.

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