Monthly Archives: August 2018

Week 1: National Preview and Gambling Picks


As I said earlier, it’s pretty tough to make predictions for Week 1. We just don’t know a lot. But I’ve made my SEC predictions (both outright and against the spread where applicable), and I’ll also be posting weekly previews of every Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchup. For what it’s worth, if a matchup was covered by the SEC Preview, I’ll be copying and pasting.

If you have the interest, I’m going to track all my SEC and Top 25 match-up picks with The Action App (which is also where I’m getting the lines). You can follow my action here.

Lastly, I will be using the AP Poll for rankings.

 

SATURDAY GAMES

3:30 p.m. #6 Washington vs. #9 Auburn (-2) (in Atlanta) (ABC)

I previewed this game at length with a blog post and a podcast from the perspective of a Washington fan. As I mentioned on the pod, however, my prediction came from my heart not my head. To be clear, I’ll be cheering for Washington in this game, attending with UW alums and even wearing my Washington Jacob Eason jersey. But I think Auburn is going to be too physical for this Washington team. I trust Jarrett Stidham more than I trust Jake Browning in isolation, but I also think Auburn’s front-four will disrupt a very experienced Husky offensive line.

Picks: Auburn straight-up and Auburn -2

 

7:30 p.m. #14 Michigan (-1) at #12 Notre Dame (NBC)

It’s a huge red flag if you’re a major college football program and I say, “I trust Brian Kelly more than I trust your head coach.” But somehow we’re there. I don’t trust Jim Harbaugh as far as I can throw him when it comes to big games. It’s baffling to me that the Wolverines are ranked 14th in the preseason poll despite having five games that seem like they should be losses:

  • At #12 Notre Dame
  • Vs. #4 Wisconsin
  • At #11 Michigan State
  • vs. #10 Penn State
  • At #5 Ohio State

I think there’s this assumption that all these Big Ten teams are about even, but Harbaugh has yet to lead the Wolverines to a finish of better than third in their own division. Further, he’s 1-7 against teams ranked 12th or better. That’s not a good thing for a dude who is about to play on the road against #12 Notre Dame. And I’m not real big on Shea Patterson.

My picks: Notre Dame straight-up and Notre Dame +1

 


SUNDAY GAME

7:30 p.m. #8 Miami vs. #25 LSU (+3.5) (in Dallas) (ABC)

This is a tough one for me. I don’t really trust Coach O and as a Georgia fan, I don’t have a whole lot of inherent confidence in Mark Richt heading into a big game. I think both teams will be fairly nasty on defense and I think this could be one of the worst quarterbacked games of the opening weekend. For some reason, though, I like Miami in an ugly game. Evil Richt is seemingly alive and well in south Florida, and he likes swampy games (even if they’re in Arlington, TX).

Picks: Miami straight-up and Miami -3.5

 


MONDAY GAME

8:00 P.M. #20 Virginia Tech at #19 Florida State (-6.5) (ESPN)

I’m pretty big on this Florida State team and I think Virginia Tech is going to take time to replace lost talent on defense. But 6.5 points is tough here. I think Cam Akers is ultimately the difference maker for Florida State, but this is a game with two teams with a lot to prove, and I’m not real comfortable with either pick (but I refuse to hedge!).

Picks: Florida State straight-up and Florida State -6.5

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

Georgia Has a Major Quarterback Problem on Its Hands


For all the alleged “quarterback controversy” conversations at Alabama, I think the general public knows better. Jalen Hurts is a nobody and Tua Tagaasdfasllivolia is a star. Seriously, I’m more likely to win the Heisman Trophy this year than Hurts, and yet Tua is on top of most Heisman boards.

But in Athens there’s a real problem brewing. There’s an old saying that you’ve probably never heard before, but it goes a little something like this: If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one. And according to Kirby Smart’s inability to name a starter, Georgia has two quarterbacks. This means Georgia doesn’t have one. Even worse, Georgia doesn’t have three quarterbacks either—there literally is not another scholarship quarterback on the roster other than sophomore Jake Fromm and freshman Justin Fields.

Things are dire in Athens; make no mistake about it. I don’t know what’s more alarming—the fact that Jake Fromm may actually be Georgia’s starting quarterback…again…or the fact that Justin Fields is a complete bust.

Fromm, you see, isn’t a real quarterback. He’s not even really a game manager. He’s more of a game participant. At the end of the day, nobody really trusts Fromm to win games—at least not with his arm. No one has confidence in Fromm. How bad was Fromm last year? Let’s look at history for some context.

In 1988 Georgia attributed only 34.3% of its offense to the passing game. That was literally the last time the Bulldogs got less from the passing game.

 

To Kirby’s credit—and I hate to give the guy credit for anything—he was at least wise enough to practically abandon the passing game altogether. Again, Georgia’s usage of the pass (as a portion of offensive plays run) was at its lowest level in 30 years.  Last year, Georgia dedicated just 31.13% of all plays to the pass. That was the lowest number since 24.70% in 1988.

So you can understand why I’m not thrilled to see Fromm potentially under center again. And you can understand my frustration regarding Fields.

Allegedly, Justin Fields is a good football player. And yet, he can’t even distinguish himself from a scrub like Jake Fromm. Something doesn’t add up here. Either Fields is a bust of catastrophic proportions or Kirby Smart is such an idiot that he literally doesn’t know the difference between a good player (Fields) and a player he doesn’t trust (Fromm). Is there a right answer at this juncture?  Not really. But if there is, I doubt we see it on Saturday against Austin Peay.

Until next time,

-The Kirby Smart Hater

The SEC Has the Weakest Schedules in the World!


My weekly preview of all Top 25 vs. Top 25 match-ups is coming out tomorrow. While doing some research, I noticed something interesting.

Here is a list of all the Top 25 vs. Top 25 games this week:

  • #6 Washington vs. #9 Auburn (in Atlanta, GA)
  • #14 Michigan at #12 Notre Dame
  • #8 Miami vs. #25 LSU (in Arlington, TX)
  • #20 Virginia Tech at #19 Florida State

You know what’s interesting here? The SEC is the only conference scheduling tough games against out-of-conference foes.

Obviously, Notre Dame doesn’t play a conference foe this week because they’re not even in a conference. Virginia Tech and Florida State have to play each other because they’re due in the conference rotation, but they didn’t really choose to do that.

But the SEC isn’t scared to play anybody, anywhere. Auburn is playing #6 Washington away from home. LSU is playing #8 Miami away from home.

Oh, but the SEC is just a cupcake conference. Right.

Man…the truth hurts.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

Week 1: SEC Preview and Gambling Picks


I’d like to think this will get better as the season goes on, but part of what I love about college football is that every team changes so much year-to-year. Sure, it matters if your squad returns starters and if there’s continuity in the coaching staff and with the playbook, but at the end of the day 18-22 year-old beasts change a lot in short periods of time. So I’d expect this to be my worst week of predictions. Nevertheless, let’s do this.

Every week I’ll preview every game featuring an SEC squad. I’ll make an outright prediction and a pick against the spread. The lines I’m using come from The Action Network, and I’ll be posting my picks there on a weekly basis. Honestly, the results should be pretty watered down because there’s no way I’d actually bet on every SEC line available every week (and every Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchup), but for the sake of accountability you can follow along here on the app (it’s FREE).

 

THURSDAY GAME

8:30 p.m. Northwestern State at Texas A&M (SEC Network)

Look, this is a football game. That’s about as intriguing as I can make it. Interestingly enough, you can get a ticket for this contest for only $4 from Vivid Seats but I’m not here to tell you what to do with your evening if you’re in College Station. I suppose the intriguing storyline here is that Jimbo Fisher is now in town and in theory that should be worth watching. But Northwestern is not a state and frankly I don’t even care to look up which state is home to Northwestern State. As Chad pointed out on this week’s DudeYouPodcast, Northwestern State doesn’t even have a team page on ESPN.com. Obviously, this game doesn’t have a line. So there’s not much to do here, but Texas A&M will win by an obnoxious margin.

Pick: Texas A&M straight-up


 

SATURDAY GAMES

12:00 p.m. Coastal Carolina at South Carolina (-29.5) (SEC Network)

For the past few seasons, South Carolina football has seemed, in a word, distracted. The 2015 team was so distracted that head coach Steve Spurrier decided to walk away from the team. The 2016 team showed signs of promise (sort of) with wins over divisional foes like then-ranked Tennessee, but looked abysmal in too-close victories over Western Carolina (44-31), UMass (34-28) and East Carolina (20-15). That squad didn’t really care to show up against Clemson either (a 56-7 loss). Last year’s team was discernibly better, but the Gamecocks still found a way to lose at home against Kentucky and on the road to a Texas A&M team that canned its coach. Further, last year’s squad barely squeaked by Louisiana Tech (17-16), a joke of a Tennessee team (15-9) and a miserable Florida squad (28-20). So as wild as it may sound, I actually think this game matters for South Carolina. The Gamecocks will surely win, but a South Carolina team that is going to compete with Georgia in the SEC East needs to quickly and completely destroy Coastal Carolina. This needs to be a 40-point win in order to shake off the reputation of being distracted. I don’t have reason to believe they’ll do that, but I do think they can cover the 29.5 point spread.

Pick: South Carolina straight-up and South Carolina -29.5

 

12:00 p.m. Ole Miss (+2.5) vs. Texas Tech (in Houston) {ESPN)

A few years ago this game was expected to feature two of the brightest names in coaching—Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze and Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury. Alas, Freeze’s tenure with the Rebels was cut short by a potent cocktail of recruiting violations and hookers and Kingsbury, while flashy, has failed to establish himself as a ready-for-primetime coach. I’m not a huge believer in Kingsbury (I don’t think many folks are) and I’m generally not a big fan of the interim-to-full-time head coach transition (which is what Ole Miss has done with Matt Luke). My gut says that this could be an ugly early-season matchup mired by turnovers, penalties and mishaps, but I do think Ole Miss will have a talent advantage and will be more physical. In a more tactical and cleanly-coached game, those advantages might be somewhat mitigated, but if this is ugly I think Ole Miss stands to benefit. I like the under on the projected 67 point total and I like Ole Miss to cover the 2.5 point spread and win outright.

Picks: Ole Miss straight-up and Ole Miss -2.5

 

3:30 p.m. Georgia vs. Austin Peay (ESPN)

I’ve previewed this as much as I’m going to preview it. There is no line. Georgia cruises. #DawgsOnTop

Pick: Georgia straight-up

 

3:30 p.m. Tennessee vs. West Virginia (-10)  (in Charlotte) (CBS)

Two words: Will. Grier.

He’s my Heisman pick and I can’t abandon him before the season starts.

Pick: West Virginia straight-up and West Virginia -10

 

3:30 p.m. Washington vs. Auburn (-2) (in Atlanta) (ABC)

I previewed this game at length with a blog post and a podcast from the perspective of a Washington fan. As I mentioned on the pod, however, my prediction came from my heart not my head. To be clear, I’ll be cheering for Washington in this game, attending with UW alums and even wearing my Washington Jacob Eason jersey. But I think Auburn is going to be too physical for this Washington team. I trust Jarrett Stidham more than I trust Jake Browning in isolation, but I also think Auburn’s front-four will disrupt a very experienced Husky offensive line.

Picks: Auburn straight-up and Auburn -2

 

3:30 p.m. Central Michigan at Kentucky (-17) ESPNU

Central Michigan is a pretty decent MAC team and ended the 2017 campaign winning five of its last six. The Chippewas also garnered a win over Power 5 Kansas. CMU has big-play potential on offense and they’ve got a pretty underrated running back in Jonathan Ward. I don’t love anything that Kentucky does in football (they recruit with seemingly no roster planning, they give coaches long-term extensions for nothing and they deliver an inconsistent product). So, I have a hard time ever betting on Kentucky.

Picks: Kentucky straight-up but Central Michigan +17

 

4:00 p.m. UT Martin at Missouri (SEC Network)

No spread here, but this will be the first glimpse at what Derek Dooley can do as OC. I stand by my assertion that Mizzou didn’t bring in an offensive coordinator who would destroy what Drew Lock has going on in the passing game. As a refresher, in two years as a full-time starter Lock has thrown for 7,363 yards and 67 TDs. Last year, he was 10th nationally in passing yards, 6th in yards per attempt, first in TD passes and 5th in passer rating. Had the Tigers not started the season so slow (they lost five games in a row from September 9 through October 14), he might have gotten some Heisman hype. So yeah, I just have a hard time believing Mizzou would waste his senior year on a bad OC hire. Dooley sucked as a head coach at Tennessee, but that was the Volunteer administration’s fault as much as anyone’s. When Lane Kiffin left, they went after the anti-Kiffin and they honestly got him. They found a head coach with little-to-no track record, with no charisma and no chance to succeed. But that was when Dooley was the head coach. He might actually be a decent OC.

Pick: Missouri straight-up

 

4:00 p.m. Eastern Illinois at Arkansas (SEC Network)

The Chad Morris experience begins for Arkansas, but you’re a degenerate if you watch this game.

Pick: Arkansas straight-up

 

7:30 p.m. Stephen F. Austin at Mississippi State (ESPNU)

I’m not a believer in this Mississippi State team, but gratification in that take will be delayed. Undoubtedly the Bulldogs will crush SFA in a game that has no spread.

Pick: Mississippi State straight-up

 

7:30 p.m. Charleston Southern at Florida (SEC Network)

Mississippi State’s old coach, Dan Mullen, will begin his tenure at the Swamp simultaneously. I’m really interested to see what he does with this Florida program and will get a bit of a better peak against Kentucky next week, but this won’t tell us much.

Pick: Florida straight-up

 

7:30 p.m. Middle Tennessee State at Vanderbilt (-3) (SEC Network)

Has anyone taken a surprisingly good thing and ruined it faster than Derek Mason? James Franklin won 24 games in three seasons coaching Vanderbilt. Mason has won six fewer games despite coaching one more season than Franklin. We don’t talk enough about that because we expect Vandy to be a bottom-feeder, but this team might need to look for another direction if it experiences another sub-.500 campaign in 2018. I do think this Vandy team has some potential in the passing game, and I’m oddly big on quarterback Kyle Shurmur. I think they’re going to get some big plays against the Blue Raiders.

Pick: Vanderbilt straight-up and Vanderbilt -3

 

8:00 p.m. Louisville vs. Alabama (-24) (in Orlando) (ABC)

Alabama is going to win this game convincingly. Make no mistake about it. But a 24-point margin seems large for an early-season game given that Alabama is restocking in the secondary and Bobby Petrino loves to score points. Note that I do think Bama is restocking as opposed to reloading in the secondary, because it’s going to take time (as in a few games). Jawon Pass, Louisville’s QB, is an all-time Great Name Guy and was offered by everyone and their mama coming out of Carver High School in Columbus, GA. As a back-up last year he connected on 70% of his 33 passes and threw for 2 TDs, 0 INTs and 238 yards. He’s got decent mobility too, but the sample size for that at the collegiate level is small (13 carries for 62 yards and a score last year). I think this will be closer than the spread.

Picks: Alabama straight-up but Louisville +24


SUNDAY GAME

7:30 p.m. Miami vs. LSU (+3.5) (in Dallas) (ABC)

This is a tough one for me. I don’t really trust Coach O and as a Georgia fan, I don’t have a whole lot of inherent confidence in Mark Richt heading into a big game. I think both teams will be fairly nasty on defense and I think this could be one of the worst quarterbacked games of the opening weekend. For some reason, though, I like Miami in an ugly game. Evil Richt is seemingly alive and well in south Florida, and he likes swampy games (even if they’re in Arlington, TX).

Picks: Miami straight-up and Miami -3.5

Washington Fans: Here’s What You Need to Troll Auburn Fans


I’ve been listening to the Soft Dicks Show (apparently a popular broadcast for Washington fans), because I’m a UW fan for the week. #PurpleReign baby!

In any event, I’ve been admittedly a little frustrated by Dave “Soft” Mahler and Dick “Dick” Fain. They’re pretty poor at talking smack. From what I can gather, most of their gripes about Auburn fans center upon a misunderstanding of how important college football is to the south and an exhausted “Southern People Are Stupid” stereotype.

I’ll address the latter shortcoming first. No, Auburn fans are not necessarily known for their brilliance. I can attest to that. For many in the south, the running joke is that most people go to Auburn as a backup school. More bluntly: Folks go to Auburn because they didn’t get into [insert school here]. As a Bulldog fan, I might quip that those who leave the Peach State for Auburn must not have been accepted to the University of Georgia. But be careful with that narrative, Huskies. You can’t quite own that. After all, I might just as easily assert that people go to the University of Washington because they can’t get into Georgia either.

You see, there is data that suggests students enrolled at the University of Georgia have, on average, higher high school GPAs, SATs and ACTs than students enrolled at Washington.

Washington Georgia Auburn
Average GPA 3.78 3.98 3.85
Average SAT 1841 1875 1727
Average ACT 28 29 27

 

You can’t spell “Dawgs On Top” without “SAT.”

 

But this isn’t an academic pissing contest — and that’s a good thing for Washington fans because trust me, the second urine gets involved…Auburn is winning. The broader point is this: You need to be smarter than just criticizing Auburn fans for being stupid.

You need to bring more to the table than that. And you need to abandon the notion that SEC fans just don’t appreciate college football outside of the south. That’s a losing argument, even if true. Honestly, why would SEC fans care about football from anywhere other than the south? Hell, why would anyone care? Nine of the past 12 national championships have been won by the SEC. Two more over that time period were won by clearly southern schools (Florida State and Clemson). Since 2006, 12 SEC teams have appeared in the 12 title games. So if Auburn fans (whose team won it all in 2010 and lost by 3 in the championship in 2014) only care about Southeastern Conference football, that might actually make sense.

But that’s not the case. I’m a Georgia homer and (in general) a fan of the SEC. Here are the things—in order—that bring me joy in college football:

  1. Georgia’s successes.
  2. The failures of Georgia’s rivals (Florida, Auburn and Tennessee in particular).
  3. The failures of prominent national programs.
  4. Scandals at holier-than-thou national programs.
  5. Poor performances by national powerhouses against the SEC.

Three of the five things that bring me the most joy involve non-SEC teams. I don’t think I’m on an island in that school of thought. So I think it’s safe to assume that most Auburn fans (maybe not Tammy from Auburn, the famed Finebaum guest who appeared on Soft Dicks earlier this week) have a general working knowledge of Chris Petersen, Big Game Jake and Myles Gaskin.

So, how should you go after Auburn fans? Frankly, there’s plenty of avenues, but here are some finer points I would bring up.

 

Hey Auburn fans, I hope we develop a real, longstanding rivalry with you all!

Why does this hurt? Well, Auburn doesn’t hold up all that well historically in rivalries. Alabama has won 56% of all Iron Bowl Games, and despite high-profile Auburn victories (think Mircale at Jordan-Hare and last year’s win) the Crimson Tide has rolled in seven of its last 10 meetings with the Tigers. Georgia also leads Auburn in what is considered the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, and the Bulldogs have won ten of the last 13 meetings. One could argue that the past decade has been the most successful 10-year run in the history of Auburn football (they won their first National Championship since 1957 in 2010, they played for another in 2014 and they’ve won the SEC West three times and the conference twice). It has to suck that even in this period of relative dominance, Auburn is a combined 6-15 against its two biggest rivals. So saying, “Oh, I want a rivalry with you all, you guys suck in rivalries,” is a nice start.

 

Man, [Player X] is on thin ice at UW for criminal reasons. Do you think there’s room for him at Auburn?

Nobody believes in second-chances for talented athletes quite like Auburn. Seriously, if you know of a player who might get kicked off a team soon, I bet Auburn’s ready to take a look. Cam Newton stole a laptop from a fellow student and was on the verge of being expelled from the University of Florida, but he found a home at Auburn. When Nick Marshall was dismissed from Georgia for stealing from his own teammates, he found a home at Auburn. When stud safety Tray Matthews was dismissed from Georgia, he found a home at Auburn.

Auburn prides itself on family-like culture. As you know well, a big part of family is saying, “This guy was doing unethical and illegal things while disrupting his own family down the street, but I think we might win the Thanksgiving two-hand-touch football game if he comes to play quarterback for us so let’s adopt him.”

I mentioned earlier that the past ten years have been glorious for Auburn football. It’s worth noting that the Tigers’ two best seasons (2010 and 2014) featured quarterbacks who were forced out of other SEC programs for behavioral issues. Cam Newton and Nick Marshall reached two National Championship Games thanks to Auburn.

 

Speaking of Cam Newton…it’s just crazy how underrated Cam Newton was as a college football player.

This might be my favorite, because the reality is that when people talk about Cam Newton at Auburn they never talk about what he did on the field. He might have been the most dominant player I’ve seen at the collegiate level in his lone season at Auburn. The Tigers began their 2010 campaign ranked 22nd after a lackluster 8-5 campaign in Gene Chizik’s first season. They were ranked tenth by the October 2nd poll and 5th three weeks later. They went 14-0 almost exclusively because of Cam Newton.

He put up Lamar Jackson-level stats while playing in the toughest division in college football (at the end of 2010, five of the nation’s Top 15 teams belonged to the SEC West).

Opponent Total Yards Total TDs
Arkansas State 357 5
Mississippi State 228 2
Clemson 271 2
South Carolina 334 5
Louisiana-Monroe 234 3
Kentucky 408 4
Arkansas 328 4
LSU 303 2
Ole Miss 274 3
UTC 341 5
Georgia 299 4
Alabama 255 4
South Carolina 408 6
Oregon 329 2

 

So why am I saying nice things about a former Auburn player? Because literally no one else does! Cam Newton put an entire offense on his back, won a Heisman Trophy, won a BCS National Championship, won 100% of his games and got drafted first overall. But do you know what people remember about his time at Auburn? Oh, that’s right. Auburn cheated to get him. Allegedly.  That’s all anyone remembers!

Oh boy, that must make Tiger fans so mad.

“No guys, you don’t get it. Cam was the greatest player in his generation.”

Yep. And you paid him to come play.

“No, they never proved that and we won a Natty because of him.”

Yeah, I hope you did. But he’s still just Scam Newton to us.

 

Yo Auburn, your mascots suck.

What are you? Tigers? War Eagles? What’s the deal? For starters, Auburn doesn’t even have a real, live Tiger on campus like LSU. Sad! As for the rallying cry, “War Eagle,” if you can find an Auburn fan that can effectively explain its origin and meaning then you’ve found the only one.

So what’s the deal with these glorious birds or whatever? Well, the first one flew into the air during Auburn’s first football game and literally crashed into the field and died. The second one disappeared. Some people say it went to a zoo, some say it was stuffed, some say it was stolen. Who knows? What reverence! War Eagle III was named “Tiger” because Auburn is incestuous like that, and he got shot the day of a glorious 3-0 Auburn win over Tennessee in 1964. War Eagle IV was also named Tiger because why the hell not? War Eagle IV died the day of the 1980 Iron Bowl. Fittingly, Auburn played dead in that game as a tribute. War Eagle V lived a pretty uneventful life until dying from a ruptured spleen at age 8. War Eagle VI was so well cared for that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service levied charges of improper care against the university. War Eagle VII, the current damn eagle, has been university president since 2006. This current edition of War Eagle has been prohibited from flying since last year, so a bald eagle substitute has been plugged in. That’s right, Auburn uses a fake body-double for its fake mascot.

About ten years ago, Fox Sports named the Auburn Eagle as America’s fourth-best mascot (behind Ralphie the Buffalo at Colorado, Uga the Bulldog at Georgia and Bevo the Longhorn at Texas). Of course, one of these things is not like the other, because the other three in the top four are actually their school’s mascot!

 

Gus Malzahn is a dweeb! And Auburn is stuck with him! Forever!

Image result for gus malzahn

 

Name a lamer-looking head coach. I’ll wait.

[Still waiting…]

Auburn fans are effectively stuck with a head coach they don’t want and they’re stuck with him for damn-near forever. How’d that happen?

Malzahn turned a 12-2 first-year campaign at Auburn into 8-5 in 2014, 7-6 in 2015 and 8-5 in 2016. During that ominous three-year stretch he went 11-13 in conference play, 0-3 against Alabama (outscored by 45 total points) and 0-3 against Georgia (outscored by 40 total points). He was on his way out and it looked like 2017 might be his last year at the helm after a 14-6 loss at Clemson and a loss to an occasionally-disastrous LSU squad in mid-October. Another 8-4 campaign with losses to Georgia and Alabama would have doomed the guy, and losing another game wasn’t out of the question.

But then somehow, the goofball above managed to decimate Georgia and win by a decisive margin against Alabama in November. You can’t fire a guy who’s 10-2 in the regular season and coming off wins against your two biggest rivals. You certainly can’t let that guy leave for another SEC West coaching vacancy at a lesser program (Arkansas). So what do you do? You give the guy money. How much money? All the money. Over how long? Over forever! Malzahn was slated to make a little more than $4.7 million per year through 2020. Now he’s extended through 2024 with an average annual salary of $7 million.

The details of that deal were hashed out during the week of the SEC Championship last December, because remember things were good. What happened next? Auburn lost to Georgia 28-7 for the conference title. The game was never in doubt. Georgia out-gained Auburn by 162 yards, held the ball for six minutes and four seconds longer, committed zero turnovers to the Tigers two and embarrassed Malzahn’s squad.

But there has to be redemption for the Forty Nine Million Dollar Man, right? Auburn screwed around and lost to UCF in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, thus giving the Knights a mythical national championship and securing four losses for the Tigers on the year. This might sound nit-picky, but Auburn fans have developed a real sense of entitlement. As an outsider, you might pay attention to trivial things like facts and recognize that Auburn isn’t even the best football program in the state of Alabama, much less the SEC West or the SEC. But if you’re an Auburn fan, you know you deserve nothing but the best.

Gene Chizik was fired after just four years at Auburn. During that period he lost a total of 19 games. But he also won a frickin’ National Championship. Malzahn has lost 20 games over the past four years and he’s slated to make damn-near $50 million over the next seven seasons. Auburn deserves better, just ask Auburn.

Want to really get under Auburn fans’ skin. Just ask how excited they are to have Malzahn locked up until 2024.

 

Look, at the end of the day Auburn is a good football team. That should make you us Washington fans nervous. But Auburn tends to underperform high expectations and outperform low expectations. So take solace in the fact that a preseason Top 10 ranking may someday soon be hilarious. Above all else, enjoy the game. And if you’d like to hear more of my thoughts on the Auburn/Washington matchup, here’s a podcast (also available on iTunes) I recorded with a UW alum.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

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