A Vicious Bird Fight this Week.

Friday, October 16, 2020

A Vicious Bird Fight this Week.

Auburn has not lost in Columbia, South Carolina.

     War Eagle, everybody! Saturday morning, the Auburn Tigers will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks at Bryce Williams Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. The Tigers are coming off a narrow victory in tropical storm rains over the Arkansas Razorbacks at home at Auburn. South Carolina posted their first victory of the year last week, pounding Vanderbilt in Nashville 41-7. As it turned out, Vanderbilt was down to just 55 scholarship players for that game, due to COVID holdouts. It remains to be seen how short-handed the Gamecocks will be this week.

     Auburn should be at full strength, with no positive COVID tests as I write this. The Tigers also hope to get some of their walking wounded back for this game. Star middle linebacker KJ Britt will miss the game, as he’ll be out for several more weeks following thumb surgery. Auburn hopes to have several defenders back, as well as Shaun Shivers and Eli Stove on offense.

     South Carolina has been strong against the run, but is prone to giving up a lot of completions in the passing game. Auburn will have to take advantage of this, and not just throw only to two guys. On offense, Carolina is certainly capable of pounding the ball on the ground, if Auburn reverts back to the form of the first couple of weeks of the season. The Gamecocks hired former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to run the South Carolina offense this year. Bobo had quite the history with Georgia, lighting up otherwise solid Auburn defenses for lots of yards and points. I’m particularly remembering a 45-20 beatdown in Athens in 2007, as well as a 45-7 thrashing that I attended in 2011. If Auburn can’t cover slot receivers and backs out of the backfield this week, expect South Carolina to eat that up.

     Weather should not be an issue in this game. Temperate conditions in the 60s should prevail, and it will be a nice day for football.

     Looking to the rest of the SEC this weekend, we’ve had some cancellations due to COVID this week. After Florida head coach Dan Mullen popped off at the mouth demanding that the Gators be allowed to pack the stadium, Florida has had to postpone the game against LSU due to COVID spread in the athletic department, and suspend athletic operations. Also Vanderbilt at Missouri has been postponed, due to the aforementioned issues at Vanderbilt.

     Auburn and South Carolina kick off the early action, as well as Kentucky at Tennessee. Kentucky hopes to get back into the eastern division race, while Tennessee must rebound after an ugly loss to Georgia. Tennessee fought valiantly for a half, then got snowed under by an even worse score than Auburn did.

     The CBS Game of the Week has fallen a long way, featuring Ole Miss at Arkansas this week, a pair of 1-2 teams. This contest will be won by the team that can finally slow the other down.

     Texas A&M travels to Starkville Mississippi at 3:00 PM, to take on Mississippi State. Texas A&M fought their way to a big win over Florida last weekend, while MSU continued to lose their way. A record-setting airraid offense has devolved into an interception-throwing machine in the last couple of weeks, with zero red-zone production at Kentucky.

     There is just one 7:00 PM game this week, a CBS double-header featuring unbeaten Georgia at Alabama. A prolific Alabama offense takes on a strangling Georgia defense, in a battle of the 2 remaining SEC unbeatens.

     The Auburn South Carolina game will be televised on ESPN this week. We will have our usual Open Thread up and running. I’ll offer comments on various SEC games, and will have the play-by-play this week. War Eagle, and let’s rebound against the Razorbacks!

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