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Auburn: The Australia of College Football? Penal Colonies and More.


Programming note: The DudeYouPodcast preview of the Auburn Tigers is now live.  Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or Spreaker.  Now, Here’s Chad…

 

After moving further into the harbour, on 26 January 1788 Phillip raised the British flag at Sydney Cove. 751 convicts and their children disembarked, along with 252 marines and their families.

Two more convict fleets arrived in 1790 and 1791, and the first free settlers arrived in 1793. From 1788 to 1823, the Colony of New South Wales was officially a penal colony comprised mainly of convicts, soldiers and the wives of soldiers.

 

There are many metaphorical examples of why Auburn is the safe haven of college football. Although their athletic teams are called the Tigers, their official mascot is an eagle, an animal best known for symbolizing freedom from things such as colonization and The Intolerable Acts.

From Cam Newton to Nick Marshall to Tray Matthews, Auburn is a safe haven for those who act a fool at other schools. And, by God, does it work out for their football team.

Last year, Auburn had a season that Disney will totally buy the rights to within 20 years, if they haven’t already done so (not quite sure how that plays out in the SEC’s ESPN contract). Both Andrew and I were very high on War Eagle Kool-Aid when we picked Auburn to finish second in the SEC, mainly because we didn’t want to be blindsided by them (and you can find half of their season on my DVR from ESPN’s top 25 games of 2013). Did they catch the SEC off-guard this year, or is Gus Malzahn’s spread triple option set to be a problem until he leaves the Plains for the Dallas Cowboys next year?

As Hall pointed out, the scheduling the gods did Auburn no favors in scheduling. Road games against Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Kansas State pit them against four teams ranked in the preseason polls. With South Carolina as the rotating crossover opponent, well, there are seven loseable games on this schedule.

Not to say they can’t exceed our expectations. They’ve done it before, but they tend to overachieve when slept upon and then fall back into the pack when highly-ranked. Like Australia: you see the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne, and crystal clear beaches. Then you realize its about 0.0001% of Australia’s land mass. The rest is dry, uninhabitable wasteland with the world’s deadliest animals waiting to eat you.

Five Players to Watch

*Excluding Nick Marshall, because obviously he’s important.

  1. Gabe Wright, DT: He stood out to me in multiple games I’ve reviewed, most importantly the BCS Championship. While he only had 31 tackles, 8.5 were for losses, and he is a solid anchor for a stout defensive line.
  2. Cameron Artis-Payne, RB: I heard in an interview with OL Reese Dismukes (love Sirius XM radio) that Artis-Payne would be the man at tailback this year. Although he was considered the thumper in the backfield last year, he averaged a full yard per carry more than Tre Mason.
  3. Shon Coleman, LT: Coleman is not a household name by any means, but he replaces one in Greg Robinson. Auburn returns the rest of their superb OL from last year, but it’ll be interesting to see how Coleman holds up replacing a superstar.
  4. Kris Frost/Cassanova McKinzy/Robenson Therezie, LB’s: Although their DB’s were beaten deep a fair bit last year, I feel like Auburn had a good bit of difficulty defending underneath. With a stout D-line, these guys should have ample opportunities to be difference-makers.
  5. D’Haquille Williams, WR: Everything I hear about this JuCo (SHOCKER!) transfer is that he is a Cordarrelle Patterson clone (he has the unique name and JC pedigree, for starters). Just another potential weapon in an offense that only lost one.

 

Random Betting Tidbit

Perhaps another factor of Vegas being slow to adjust their spreads (Georgia after the exploding ACL’s game was another example last year), but Auburn was 12-2 ATS in 2013, only failing to cover against Washington St. and Mississippi St. in the first 3 games of the season. Watch closely in August/September to see if Vegas overcorrects for last year or if the Tigers hit their stride and are an unstoppable force, even against Vegas odds.

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