March 9, 2016
I like when Auburn beats Arkansas. The Hogs learned a simple college football lesson: look like Rutgers, play like Rutgers. Here’s to hoping the Aggies wear all smokey gray or black on Saturday. They won’t call it that, they’ll call it “Anthracite” or “Texas Smoke” or some other made-up nonsense a person got paid money to come up with instead of saying “we’re all gonna wear gray shirts.” As for the bye week, wasn’t that when Auburn was supposed to get healthy? With Pettway injured, my confidence level going forward is waning. Auburn has shown it plays best when it utilizes at least two healthy runners. Luckily we have a stable of running backs who have fresh legs due to a nonsensical lack of touches. Maybe this is what ole Gustav has been planning for all along?
Can’t get my running backs injured if I never play them!
Looking at my stats computer in the laboratory, I am hoping to find some sort of reassurance that this Auburn team is really the 14th best team in America and not a 7-5 bastion of mediocrity. This game will tell us a lot about how the rest of the season will go, and I want to know Auburn is going to win.
If you’ve been reading these articles you know that I am the preeminent Auburn football statistician in the Auburn Family (#blessed) and the computer never lies. Even the two times it has seemed to have predicted a win and Auburn lost, it was really only a test of your faith. When you look back, the footprints you will see will be the computer’s. It has feet.
Carry us calmly into calamity, crest the waves of conflict with your microprocessors microprocessing our most longed-for goals, computer guide.
Auburn has played twice in College Station, Texas, and has never lost there. In fact, Auburn hasn’t lost a game in the state of Texas since January 1, 1986. I was less than a month old! The Tigers are riding a Texas-sized 30-year winning streak into Saturday’s game. Auburn this season is 2-1 when playing west of the Mississippi, and 2-0 if you don’t count the miserable second half against LSU. In games west of the Mississippi, Auburn has outrushed it’s opponents 797 yards to 452, rushing for an average of 266 yards per game and allowing only 150. Auburn has allowed its opponents west of the Mississippi to convert on only 32% of all third downs and have only allowed a total of 54 first downs in those three games. This Auburn defense is really dominant and has traveled well. The offense has also been better than we think, outgaining its opponents by nearly 200 total yards per game west of Mississippi and holding the ball for an average of four more minutes than its opponents.
When Auburn plays west of Old Man River this season, it plays extremely well.
Computer, what else?
In Bill Connelly’s excellent S&P+ rankings system, Auburn is ranked 10th. Texas A&M is ranked 72nd. Auburn has played 4 other teams ranked 50 or worse this season and is 4-0 against them. Missouri and Ole Miss both ranked ahead of the Aggies, and Auburn dispatched with both of them with relative ease. Mississippi State, whom Auburn delivered a beat-down, is one of top 20 teams in America according to S&P+. That Mississippi State team straight-up worked the Aggies last weekend, by the way. The Aggies have yet to beat a team ranked in the top 25 of S&P+, and their Division I-A wins are against teams ranked 110, 99, 65, and 90 respectively. Why are we even worried about this game?
Since 1961, Auburn is 6-1 on November 4. It has beaten its last three opponents on that date, and has won two straight against schools who wear a shade of red in their uniforms. Texas A&M is toast.
The last time the Aggies hosted a conference game in College Station on November 4 was back in 2006. They got beaten by Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s receiving coach for that game: Kevin Sumlin. Follow the math, people. The Aggies have never won on November 4 when Kevin Sumlin is in the building. Never. It won’t happen this year either. I see Auburn’s defense allowing a couple of big plays but not enough to make Tiger fans worried. The stats show Auburn’s offense having its way against Texas A&M and the Tigers rolling up yards on their way to a comfortable road win.