Bye Week Number Two.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Bye Week Number Two.

The stadium is empty this week, but Amen Corner is dead ahead
(Photo by Acid Reign.)

    War Eagle, everybody! We are three quarters of the way through the 2019 college football regular season, and Auburn this week takes time off to prepare to host Georgia, Samford and Alabama in the last 3 regular season games at home. I’m glad for the team to get a chance to heal, and polish plans for Auburn’s biggest rivals of each season.

     I was wondering how long till until we started seeing public complaints from reporters covering about, about the new press box Auburn built a couple of springs ago. I remarked at the time that it was quite possibly the worst location in the stadium for such a thing, without even a view of the jumbotron. In a piece out this morning on Auburn Undercover, esteemed writer Phillip Marshall calls it an embarrassment. Here is a link to the article, but it is behind the paywall. I had noticed the past couple of seasons that announcers both on the Auburn Radio Network and television were having a really difficult time with spotting the ball and what yard line it was on. Now we know why.

     There is much hand wringing going on about this Auburn season, and I’m not really sure I get it. Before the season started most experts had Auburn losing to Oregon, a pick ’em at Texas A&M, losers at Florida and LSU, and losers at home to Georgia and Alabama. Ergo, a 6-6 or at best 7-5 season. Instead, Auburn is 7-2, and has a chance to wreck seasons of UGA and Alabama in Auburn, where the Tigers have been tough under the current coaching staff. Auburn has accomplished this with a true freshman quarterback and the team’s best running back out with an injury in the two losses.

     Visiting Auburn’s opponents this season and their results, foes have compiled a 45-26 record outside of their games against Auburn. Folks, that’s a pretty tough schedule that will only get tougher when Georgia and Alabama visit. I’ll be disappointed if Auburn drops both games. I’ll be pleased with a victory against either, and I will be jumping for joy if Auburn can wreck both Bulldog and Tide seasons!

     It is Auburn’s bye week, but there are some interesting SEC matchups to look at, this Saturday. I’ll also take a look at each team’s record, and post-season prospects.

Saturday in the SEC, after the jump!

     Opening the action at 11:00 AM is Vanderbilt visiting Florida. I know Florida is disappointed after the loss last week to Georgia, but I just don’t see Vanderbilt having much chance in the Swamp. Florida’s division hopes are probably shot, but they can stay mathematically alive by beating Vandy, and winning at Missouri next week. For Florida to surpass Georgia, they would also need the Dawgs to lose 2 out of 3 SEC games against Missouri, at Auburn or Texas A&M. Vanderbilt will likely pick up their 7th loss in this game, and be out of bowl contention.

     In other early action, Arkansas hosts Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are 5-4 and fighting for bowl eligibility. Arkansas is already out of contention at 2-7, and have been in disarray in recent weeks.

     The much-vaunted “game of the century” in Tuscaloosa kicks off at 2:30 PM between number one ranked LSU and Alabama. The winner gets the inside track on the SEC West title, and the loser might well run the table and still get into the playoff. Both teams are currently undefeated.

     Ole Miss hosts New Mexico State at 3:00 PM. The Aggies are 0-8 this season, and might be the worst team in the FBS. They have been blown out by 21 or more points in half of those losses. Ole Miss is currently 3-6, and should stay in the bowl race another week. Bowl hopes will likely come crashing down when LSU comes to town next week, followed by the Egg Bowl as the season finale.

     At 6:00 PM, Missouri visits Georgia. At one point this season, we were talking about Missouri as a dark horse candidate to win the SEC East. That was before a loss to Vanderbilt, and much struggling. However, the Tigers still control their own destiny. If they win at Georgia, and next week hosting Florida, they control the division, but still need to beat Tennessee and Arkansas as well. Missouri is currently 5-3. If they can win just 1 more game, they go bowling. Georgia is going bowling, with already a 7-1 record. The Bulldogs are in the drivers seat in the SEC East, but need to with this game as well as either win at Auburn or against Texas A&M.

     Also at 6:00 PM, Appalachian State visits South Carolina. The Mountaineers suffered their first loss of the season last week against Georgia Southern, and fell out of the Top 25. I expect that they will visit Columbia with hurt feelings and a big chip on their shoulder. South Carolina currently stands at 4-5, and is in danger of missing a bowl trip this year. They have Appy State, then at Texas A&M. Clemson finishes off the season in Columbia. South Carolina has to win 2 of 3 of that remaining slate or stay home for the holidays.

     Tennessee visits Kentucky, in another battle for bowl eligibility. Neither team will clinch a bowl trip with a win, nor be eliminated with a loss. Still, losing this game will make it really tough for one or the other. Tennessee currently stands at 4-5, with remaining games at Kentucky, at Missouri, and home against Vanderbilt. Winning 2 of 3 might be attainable by this squad, which has played improved ball in recent weeks. Kentucky has a 4-4 record. Their remaining games are Tennessee at home, at Vanderbilt, UT Martin and Louisville at home. The Wildcats need to win 2 of those 4 to go bowling. I think they will.

     Texas A&M has a bye week, and currently stands at 6-3. The Aggies host South Carolina next weekend, then travel to Georgia then LSU to finish out the season. The Aggies are already bowl eligible.

     Mississippi State is also off this week. They are in a tough situation at 4-5. They host Alabama next week, then Abilene Christian, then Ole Miss. The Egg Bowl likely will decide whether the Bulldogs go bowling or not.

     Auburn has a bye week, getting ready for Georgia. Auburn stands at 7-2, with a slim mathematical possibility of winning the western division, but most likely will not, even if they win out against their remaining opponents. It would take collapses down the stretch by both Alabama and LSU. Auburn is fighting for pride, and to move up in the bowl mix.

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