Winning ugly is still winning…

January 1st, 2007

2005.09.01-19.26.59/au-logo.jpgAt halftime of the Cotton Bowl, the mood here at Pine Gulch was one of disgusted relief: disgust at the poor play of both Auburn’s offense and defense, but relief at the fact that we were still in the game. If the defense and specials teams hadn’t come up with some might big plays, we easily could have been down by two or three touchdowns instead of tied at fourteen.

When Tuberville came out to start the second half and said that Auburn would play much better, I was skeptical, but he was right. The offensive line began to pick up the pass rush, Brandon Cox began to complete some passes, and the offense began to move the ball, Moreover, the defense began to consistently stop Nebraska and held them scoreless. The Auburn offense was only able to produce 3 points, but it was enough. By the end of the game, disgusted relief had been replaced by plain old relief. Despite a day of generally ugly play, we had prevailed 17-14.


* * *

The AP fact-checker on the ESPN article really screwed up today:

“Auburn (11-3) was the first Southeastern Conference team to win the Cotton Bowl in four years.”

Wrong. Alabama won the Cotton Bowl last year on the ugliest field goal in the history of the bowl. The AP also got Auburn’s record wrong. We finished at 11-2, not 11-3.

* * *

Early in the game, I asked “Where did this officiating crew come from?”

And Chris replied “Big 10″.

Later on in the game, the announcers confirmed what Chris had said.

So I asked “How did you know that?”

And Chris replied “Because they’re terrible.”

So they were. They cost us a touchdown in the third quarter, missed at least a half-dozen significant holding calls on the Nebraska line, and didn’t give us a break all day. The only break we got, a good spot on Kenny Irons’ last run, they took away from us on appeal. Pretty had to win when you’ve got to beat both the other team and the officiating crew.

* * *

So a decent season ends with an 11-2 record. Auburn generally underachieved this year, and yet still won 11 games. You know your school has really elevated its football program when it wins eleven games and yet you feel disappointed. Except for the opening game against Washington State, the whole season could be characterized as ugly. But beating Alabama always helps, as does winning the bowl game, so all in all I have to say I’m happy.

But I’m expecting much more next year and in years to come. (I don’t care who Alabama hires. Get Saban. Bring it on. We can compete with anybody.)

Now we have recruiting season to look forward to, and Auburn’s 2007 class is already shaping up as a top-ten class, maybe even a top-five class if a few last-minute recruits choose to go to the Plains. Then there’s Spring ball, Summer camp, and eventually another season. I’m looking forward to it.

* * *

Update: has an excellent analysis of today’s win.

Update: Will Collier, my favorite Auburn blogger, has a nice summary of the game. Oh boy does he hit the nail on the head about the Fox Sports coverage of the game: simply awful. I didn’t find Pat Summerall to be too bad, although he confused Auburn with Nebraska on a couple of occasions, and didn’t seem to be awake most of the time. The Fox producer did a terrible job. He was slow to go to replays, when he showed them at all. In the time it took Fox to show one lousy replay, ESPN would have had three from different camera angles. On one important replay, the important action was offscreen as the cameraman was sleep to react to the action, then overshot. We got several good looks at someone’s pizza or the ground as the producer switched to the wrong camera. Oh, and why was Fox so slow to update its onscreen display with down and distance? Even on incomplete passes (you just increment the down) the operator was so slow that the display didn’t update until the next play was about to start. Don’t they have a spotter helping out? Please don’t let us ever play on Fox Sports again; I think I’d rather listen to the radio broadcast (we tried, but for some reason it wasn’t available on the Internet).

One Response to “Winning ugly is still winning…”

  1. Joyce (Your cousin) Says:

    WAR EAGLE!!!!!