Some things have clarified this weekend that deserve discussion: It has become crystal clear that the Auburn compliance office was well prepared for the recent media smear campaign.
In fact, it was one of the quickest backfires ever witnessed in the modern day media bungles.
When scuttlebutt of this started to percolate weeks ago, it seemed that Auburn was destined for a return to the exact scenario of 2004. In this case, the brilliant vetting work of the Auburn compliance office turned the scheme on its head.
There was never any doubt that there was nothing to the story that tied in with either Auburn or the Newton family. This is why the SEC chose to not pursue the matter in the beginning. They did so in July only after the issue was being pushed again by some party in the conference.
While the NCAA probe could have taken quite a while, the information that came out on John Bond and Kenny Rogers will certainly help move the investigation along quicker.
What was more reassuring is that Auburn had already conducted their own investigation into any connection with the sordid story and found no ties.
Auburn fans should be grateful for the diligence of the compliance office in this matter. This would have been very damaging if not for their work.
As it stands, this appears to have strengthened both Auburn’s position in the polls and Cameron Newton’s position as the front runner for the Heisman.
Auburn is now rock solid in the polls, TCU has only San Diego State and New Mexico left to play this season. Neither are teams that will give any boost in the polls.
Boise State only has Nevada left on the schedule, which might provide a small boost. Neither has any chance of overtaking Auburn if they simply continue to win.
While Oregon seems solid in the human polls, Auburn will overtake them for the No. 1 position if they win out.
This could easily happen next week, as Oregon is showing signs of wearing down and was not sharp this week. California, its opponent next week, is not good but they do play well at home sometimes.
To overtake Oregon, the Tigers must stay focused on the Georgia game and come out and execute well. The offensive line will have to play flawless. This will be a very physical contest, as this is the only way Georgia can come out on top.
Auburn will go after Aaron Murray in the backfield. This will be a game where Auburn fans will begin to see what to expect in the Iron Bowl.
He can be gotten to and he can be disrupted. Aaron Murray has run for 306 yards this season and lost 129 yards to sacks.
This is not the type of offensive team Auburn has faced lately. Murray is not as mobile or elusive as Jeremiah Masoli or Jordon Jefferson. This is not a dink-n-dunk passing attack. Georgia throws the ball down field and its receivers will find openings if given time to do so.
This Georgia defense gave up 231 yards of rushing to a Florida team that was attempting to run an offense similar to Auburn’s on one week of preparation. This caught them by surprise and they will be more prepared this week.
Auburn can run and pass successfully on this Georgia team. Auburn fans can expect a little more misdirection and subterfuge this week. There is not a Georgia player that is really experienced in the new defensive scheme just yet.
Georgia will have a tough time running the ball on Auburn and will come out throwing. They would like to be balanced in their attack, but they will be unable to do so. Georgia will need to score regularly in this game to stay in it.
Georgia will try to blitz Auburn. It is their only choice, as they can not simply defend Auburn straight-up. This is actually an asset to the Auburn offense and Gus Malzahn will have them ready.
This week, Auburn fans will find out if the freshmen experience picked up over the last few weeks has accomplished its goal. Georgia will test the Auburn defensive backfield.
It will be up to the Auburn defensive ends to contain Murray and the Auburn defensive tackles to mop up.
If Murray is allowed time to operate, Georgia can and likely will make a game of it.