Auburn Football 2010: A Few Thoughts After the LSU Game

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Auburn Football 2010: A Few Thoughts After the LSU Game
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After analyzing and grading the Auburn v LSU game, there was time to read and really take in what was being said about the Auburn Tigers. That brought a whole list of thought to mind; some of them are listed in this article.

The media has crowned the Auburn defense as one of the worst in the nation. Is this fair, or are they being caught by surprise and simply wrong? 

Let’s look at some common opponents and what Auburn has done when compared with what is being pushed as the best defense in the SEC at Alabama, although there is nothing to base that assumption on.

Statistic and Team

Auburn 

Alabama 

Arkansas

 

 

Passing Defense

428 yards

357 yards

Yards Allowed Per Attempt

8.73 yards

9.39 yards

Rushing Defense

138 yards

64 yards

Yards Allowed Per Carry

4.57 yards

3.2 yards per carry

Total Yards Allowed

566 yards

421 yards

Per Play

7.35 yards

7.79 yards

South Carolina

 

 

Passing Defense

305 yards

201 yards

Yards Allowed Per Attempt

10.51 yards

10.05 yards

Rushing Defense

79 yards

110 yards

Yards Allowed Per Carry

2.82 yards

2.97 yards

Total Yards Allowed

384 yards

311 yards

Per Play

6.73 yards

5.36 yards

Arkansas and South Carolina run two of the most sophisticated passing offenses in the nation. While both South Carolina and Arkansas ran more plays against Auburn, the yards given up to passing per play were really similar.

While there is little doubt that the Auburn secondary has only been serviceable, against the best competition, they have held their own when compared to media darling Alabama. The Auburn secondary is very good against the rushing attack and serviceable against the passing attack.

There is little doubt that a great passing team can put up yards against the Auburn defense. There is also little doubt that the Auburn passing offense can put up yards on any defense. The difference is that Auburn’s rushing offense can put up yards against any defense in the nation as well.

The LSU game showed exactly how much difference a great special teams unit can make. Hopefully Auburn can put some performances similar to LSU’s together in the future.

Chris Davis is certainly part of the future in the defensive backfield. His athletic ability, speed and talent are quite obvious when he plays. The exposure he is getting now will help Auburn in future games.

It is quite funny that the hype masters are currently pointing out that Auburn does not have a signature win on the road. I do not remember hearing that in 2009 where the biggest win Alabama had was over a mediocre Virginia Tech team at a neutral site, until the last game of the season.

The local and national media are already hyping the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa this year. It seems they are taking for granted that Alabama will beat the very good LSU team Auburn played this weekend. That is likely a mistake; the next big game in the SEC will be at Baton Rouge, where we will see if Alabama can still contend for the SEC. If they do not win that game, it is over for them.

Auburn travels to Oxford, Mississippi this week to play a very desperate team with nothing to lose. Beating Auburn just became a possible signature win for them. This week’s game will be their bowl game.

Auburn is getting better with Cam Newton at the helm. His ball distribution and defense reading skills are improving every week. The offense is now likely running at 75 to 80 percent of what it is capable of. There is little chance that they will peak during the regular season.

The Auburn defense is stepping in the right direction. Assignments are becoming second nature, and this is leading to more proficient play. Auburn fans can look for vast improvement over the next three weeks.

Auburn is currently number one in the BCS ratings. Do they deserve this rating? In short, yes they do. Oregon has only managed the number 30 ranked defense while playing a schedule of cupcakes. This could well be their last week at the top of the AP and Coaches poll win or lose.

Boise State brings mixed emotion, but their defensive performance against Oregon State and Virginia Tech say they are a top 25 defense, and their offense would likely be in that range if they played a decent schedule.

Boise will likely go undefeated this year, but a quick look at how they did against major competition does not indicate they are a top 10 team.

With these being the two teams immediately below Auburn, it is likely Auburn could persevere if they played. There is very little chance of Oregon being undefeated come the end of November though.

If the BCS Championship were tomorrow, it would match Oregon with Auburn. Oregon was a media darling last season right up and until they were embarrassed by Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. That team was ranked in the mid thirties on offense and defense and played a very respectable schedule.

This year’s Oregon team is not as good as that one, even though they have a number one ranking in total offense and 30 on defense. Their schedule has been pathetic with their average opponent being worse in most statistical categories than Louisiana Monroe, including wins and loses.

I would suggest that Auburn fans watch the Oregon v Southern California game next week. While Southern California is not good this year, the games Oregon plays against them and Washington will tell us more about where the Ducks belong.

With Southern California facing years of punishment from the NCAA, it is very likely that Oregon is being hyped well beyond their capabilities to keep the attention of the west coast media base. There simply aren't that many decent teams on the west coast right now, and Oregon appears to be the best. 

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