Tag Archives: Vanderbilt

Thoughts from the West Texas observatory (and Shreveport)- Vandy

It was the first I’d actually watch watched with my Dad in a long time and it was in the lobby of the Shreveport Holiday Inn Express. I didn’t make it in time for the first quarter. Dad went Jim Fyffe for me on the phone. The opening drive, it was glorious. And fun. And powerfully Auburn. Dad was having fun, I was having fun letting him have fun, I was playing Stan White, color-commentating off Dad’s reports, I do good impressions. My wife rolled her eyes, but she was having fun. The glorious kid was having fun. I stepped on the gas. We were back in the technically south, just crossed into Louisiana, humidity, pine trees, hallelujah. Let’s get some food and enjoy this last night together, War Eagle, baby. Then my ear went wet with bile – they stopped us on the one. Wetter still when Foot Lauderdale broke up with me after the Fannin TD. Ominous. Gloominous. We stopped them on the one on their last drive in ’93? They stopped us on the one on our first drive 15 years later? 13 to nothing? Friends, I knew we were in trouble.

You will never find a more optimistic Auburn fan than the me that I am. The glass is half-full when there is no damn glass. The glass has been shattered by my Jericholoosa-tuned trumpet. On my faith alone, the Auburn Guard marcheth into the orgasm of hail-mary immortality.

And so it was with fear that I diagrammed the new feeling that logged into me as Vandy’s final punt was downed on the whatever. And it was with loathing that I named it “doubt.”

I mean, I pushed. I strained. I wanted it. I wanted to believe. But I looked into my Dad’s eyes and they said no. They said ‘are you kidding?’ They said, ‘backed up on our goal line? This team? It’s over.’

He was right. And it seemed, please Lord, help me understand, fated. The mugshot of their backup? He looked like a decent person – the perfect anti-example to Hattiesburg Macaulay, who I knew we’d beat – and I hate playing against decent people.

Before the game, I tried hard to ignore the potential irony of watching it in Shreveport. Knock on wood. Afterward, I was overwhelmed by the irony of my thinking that watching it in Shreveport was ever ironic. Because not even the Petro-Sun would want a team so tragic.

Given the context, the loss – the disease – we saw Saturday night was possibly the most debilitating in recent Auburn history. It was shockingly upsetting. Even in our palsied unsubstantiality, we, Auburn, the eternal Davids of the echoing green, were cast by ESPN as a greedy, corporate Goliath coming to rape and pollute the recovery of poor, populist, once-comatose Vandy. And per Bristol talking points, the Commodores went green on our ass – to the tune of a single extra-point off the uprights. Everyone clapped and signed the petition and felt good about themselves at our expense.

My post-loss habits typically involve a deep breath, a shake of the head, another deep breath, a stretch, and a moving on. Upon the interception, it was head to hands, face down, glasses off. I didn’t feel a lump in my throat but I thought, for the splittest second, I might. It wasn’t because it was a loss. It wasn’t because it was to a lesser team. It wasn’t because it was to Vandy, Saturday night’s bizarro-Auburn… (I mean they threw, they ran, the black quarterback takes himself out of the game for the white hero hurdler to come in and save the day. Freaky)…

It was because, like you, I’d never seen us look so bad.

You can tell I’m struggling here. It’s taken till Wednesday to get around to this. And it’s not very good. I think I could have taken the entire week off, actually. There’s the pain, but there’s also the endless maze of theories and attitudes to process, to approve, and I just don’t have the time. (Chris Shelling Jr.’s is drugs – drugs and Franklin. “He’s just disheveled. Have you seen that hair?” No, I said, he’s just laid back, such a nice guy, I mean, that one time I met him in practice, he so took his time with me, you know? He would have gone to Mellow Mushroom with me or something, you know? Spent the whole day with me. “Yeah, and that day probably would have ended in Meth.”)

Personally, I think that for whatever sad, unintended reasons, it has something very much to do with the scenario divined by the refreshingly unpretentious brain trust behind Smart Football, one already linked into orbit by better and more diligent bloggers than me … (superb, Jerry…)

At least the fallout has dampened the kindling of our quarterback fire – noticeably absent in The Wake, at least to me, at least in the blAUgosphere, is the premature apotheosis of Burns and the Todd-aimed bitching – but our coaches seem to be tapping dysfunction straight from the vein.

Despite Tuberville’s makes-sense insistence that the spread could beat back the pimps of Sabanism come signing day, the offensive woes of 2008 seem almost karmic, a seek-ye-first punishment for what we all (not so) secretly feared to be a season-too-soon bailing on Borges. Meanwhile, nice guy Al roams our nostalgia in Auburn pajamas, probably just as crushed as we are.

My one comfort since the drive back through the martian crags of West Texas has been to isolate and objectiy the pain, philosophic like, for what it is. Doing so brings visions: six points to LSU, one point to Vandy. A touchdown… we’re a touchdown away from 6-0… a touchdown away from 6-0 playing like this. And yet we’re in a new strain of apocalypse… it’s fascinating… it’s 2004.

I’ve got to wind things down.

The Arkansas game promises to be epic in the narrative of the Auburn Oh-Thousands. I hope we destroy them, leave none alive.

May the ravens that feed us in this time of crisis unveil a 7th bloated corpse on the 29th of Novemeber.

2nd Corinthians 12:10.

God be with you. War Eagle. Believe.

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4-0 Vandy Looks Forward To Playing Auburn?

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VanderQuilt

By J. Henderson

The morning game jinx passed away yesterday, by a lethal injection of stifling defense and precision play-calling. 82,656 joined me in witnessing the execution. We spit on its grave and digested our peanuts with ease.

T’was a welcome reward for last week’s strapping victory in the Swamp to again, and for the first time this year, enjoy a Lazy-Boy game in Jordan-Hare, as I knew it would be. 20 points, at least, said I. The Tigers hung 35 on them, 28 in the first half. (Auburn is now 42-0 under Tuberville when scoring at least 30 points in a game — that’s amazing). I took those points and kicked back in borrowed seats in Sec. 13. It was great. That is the sort of game I most enjoy, the games after which you walk home depressed for losing the shut-out, even with third stringers.

Of course a shut-out would have been a more fitting tribute to the 1957 Auburn Tigers than even the throwback helmets (which I kinda dug) and the white jerseys (in which we always seem to bring it); that defensively dominating squad of national champions, who themselves delivered 6 shut-outs (out of 10 games), was honored at half-time (kids and grandkids stood in for deceased members – I nearly teared up when his Dad’s name was announced and Ralph Jordan, Jr. went all black-power at all the extra applause). Still, I am not complaining.

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[I love this man – congratulations on 100 wins, Coach!]

However, at the end of yet another revolutionary Saturday in the realm of college football, there are pangs of regret in the Auburn spine, for consider what might have been had the powerful, multi-dimensional Auburn team we expected in August not been so tardy in arriving — had we not played hot potato with the football for three games, had our kick coverage held just a few yards tougher…

The new polls were just released and Auburn is rightfully back in the Top-25 at #22. But does anyone doubt that with the team of the last two weeks we could easily handle Hawaii (has Hawaii ever been ranked ahead of us?), Kentucky (!), Illinois, Kansas, Florida State, Cincinnati, California, Boston College, and almost every other team ranked ahead of us?

In the darkest patch of the deepest valley in which we squinted heavenward after the Mississippi State debacle, I looked forward to an Autumn of gut-wrenching, esophageal cancer, of bleeding my fan-soul for the 4th down conversion that would secure us a victory over Tennessee Tech if it came to it. Though I then knew we would beat Florida, I quote myself when I say that, at 3pm on September 15th, the future of this season manifest as a “grand canyon of sheer terror.”

Within minutes of Auburn stepping onto the field yesterday- that is, within mere seconds of assurance that last week was not a fluke, that despite recent history of morning sickness, teams who have lost to Mississippi State have already had their let-down game – the memory of that vision all but disappeared. In it’s stead was a groping, analytical lust for a two-game do-over and a quickly spreading 2008-hungry smile on my face. Where would we be at this point in the season of the bizarre had we simply played to our potential? Somewhere around #2, I’d say.

Watch us win out and land there anyway.

War Eagle.

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Another Auburn Saturday Mourning?

By J.M. Comer

Are Tubby’s Tigers on Saturday pre-noon games like office secretaries rolling into work on Monday mornings?

Is this poster hanging in the locker room?

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“Some” say, (HT to Paul Finebaum’s repeated sources “Mr. Some” and “Ms. Many Boosters”) that Coach Tommy Tuberville’s coffee mug looks like this:

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As Tiger fans, I, you, we fear mornings. We hate mornings. Bad things happen. This week’s game against Vandy is a *GASP* morning game. Oh no!

Dude, bennies with the bacon? Side of hemlock with that Hardee’s ham biscuit? Demerol and doughnuts with that coffee, sir?

Are we really that bad on Saturday mornings? What is the actual pattern? Is the whole “I Hate Mornings” thing overblown?

Wipe the sleep from your eyes and see below:

2007 Miss. St., 11:30 CT, LOSS 19-14 (Lincoln Financial)

2007 (bowl game) Nebraska, 10:30 CT, WIN 17-14 (FOX)

2006 Georgia, 11:30 CT, LOSS 37-15 (Lincoln Financial)

2006 (away game) Ole Miss, 11:30 CT, WIN 23-17 (Lincoln Financial)

2006 Arkansas, 11:00 CT, LOSS 27-10 (CBS)

2006 (away game) Mississippi St., 11:30 CT, WIN 34-0 (Lincoln Financial)

2005 Ole Miss, 11:30 CT, WIN 27-3 (Jefferson Pilot)

2005 Mississippi St., 11:30 CT, WIN 28-0 (Jefferson Pilot)

2004 (away game) Mississippi St., 11:30 CT, WIN 43-14 (Jefferson Pilot)

2004 (bowl game) Wisconsin, 11:00 CT, WIN 28-14 (ESPN)

2003 (away game) Arkansas, 11:30 CT, WIN 10-3 (Jefferson Pilot)

2003 (away game) Vanderbilt, 11:30 CT, WIN 45-7 (Jefferson Pilot)

2002 (away game) Ole Miss, 11:30 CT, WIN 31-4 (Jefferson Pilot)

2002 LSU, 11:30 CT, WIN 31-7 (Jefferson Pilot)

2002 Arkansas, 11:30 CT, LOSS 38-17 (Jefferson Pilot)

2002 Vanderbilt, 11:30 CT, WIN 31-6 (Jefferson Pilot)

My information source was ESPN on these times. I hope like hell they are right. I don’t remember the Georgia game being a morning game last year, but that’s what the Web site says, so I’ll go with it. I assumed that if the game had a 11:30 a.m. start time that it was almost always for a Lincoln Financial or Jefferson Pilot TV broadcast.

Wake up Tigers!

So we have 5 1/3 seasons worth of morning information above and the pre-noon record during those 16 games is 12-4. I don’t see anything to fear really. The past two times we played Vandy it was a morning game and we showed up. No, the thing we should fear about Vanderbilt this year is they have a 3-1 record and are much improved than those Commodore teams with 1-2 records we faced in 2002 and 2003.

Also, our enemy for the last two morning games was … turnovers! We lost the turnover battle BIG TIME in our game against Mississippi State. And there were a *ahem* few interceptions in that Georgia game last year. Let us never speak of it again.

I think all this fear of mornings stems from our game against Arkansas last year. Ranked No. 2 in the nation and expected to win by 15, Auburn just did not show up for that game. Arkansas dominated on the ground with a total of 42 rushing attempts.

We’ll win the game tomorrow against the Vanderbilt Commodores, but the Saturday morning hangover will come from beating Florida last week and not a Friday-night bender.

Auburn 27 Vanderbilt 17

War Eagle!

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