During the 2019 football season, The Villager will run comments from a focus group on results of the previous Auburn University game and a prognostication for the upcoming game. We’ve collectively labeled the group, Panel of Wanna-Be Experts, or POWE! for short.
Here are the panel's comments on the Tigers as they enter a bye-week before next Saturday's pivotal matchup against Georgia :
Nine down and three to go. With 3/4 of the season behind us, Auburn has a 7-2 record, is ranked No. 12 in the country and still has not faced its two major rivals, Georgia and Alabama. While the two losses will likely keep us out of the playoffs, our team still has a lot to play for, and I’m hoping that they will execute their best games of the season before the end of November.
While a team always sets the preseason goal of having a perfect record, I don’t think Auburn fans should be too dismayed that we lost games on the road to No. 1 ranked LSU and No. 10 ranked Florida, playing the Gators on their Homecoming. It’s easy to forget that we do have a true freshman quarterback, a guy who one year ago was preparing for the high school playoffs. Playing in the SEC is different indeed!
Many of us felt that our most recent game, a win against Ole Miss last Saturday night, was a disappointment. We were expecting a blowout, similar to the games against Mississippi State and Arkansas, and we didn’t get it. However, despite the fact that we were missing Davidson and Dinson on defense and Whitlow on offense, we did not fold our tent as we did last year against Tennessee and actually had over 500 yards of offense, with 340 of them through the air. Nix completed 30 of 44 passes for nearly a 70 percent average. Williams and Schwartz both had good games on offense as well.
However, when the game ended, our players headed to the locker room with their heads hanging down as if they had lost. Maybe hearing some boos as they made their exit at halftime and seeing scores of fans leaving before the end of the game dampened their spirits. We didn’t put the ball in the end zone as often as we might have liked but we did get an SEC win, and that’s certainly reason for celebration.
We know that No. 6 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama will be highly motivated when they come to Jordan-Hare later this month. Both of them are still in the mix for the playoffs. Our defense will likely be the toughest they face all season. If our offense plays its best, we have the opportunity to finish the regular season at 10-2. We know that it won’t be easy, that we will likely be underdogs in both games, but we remember two years ago when we did send them both home with their heads hanging low. Here’s hoping we can do that again. WDE!
Betty Burgess, retired English teacher, Auburn grad and lifelong Auburn fan
It seems like I predicted that Auburn would beat Ole Miss 37 to 21 without even knowing the line on the game.
I looked Saturday morning and saw we were favored by 17 or 18 points. And we hung on to barely win 20 to 14.
And how many field goals did we miss? Three. Whether you say "overconfident," "unprepared" or just plain "flat," Auburn did not look excited or prepared to play. And at times they looked confused.
But at least we have two weeks to get ready to play Georgia, and have a breather with Samford. Then Alabama.
The defense again kept us from getting beat. We have two weeks to rest and prepare for Georgia.
What can we work on during that time? Punt coverage, as we gave up 125 or so yards to Ole Miss, and our passing game. And resting our defense, as those big guys played a lot and hustled the entire time. Can we improve? Sure we can, as Auburn has talented guys as good or better than anyone in the SEC, even Alabama.
And the coaches need to know and show all of Georgia’s tendencies and probable formations on both their offense and defense. The other local paper was pretty harsh in the Sunday paper, giving Auburn a "F" on special teams and a "D+" on offense. I think it was more like "C" for each of the four areas graded. But a "C" average simply doesn’t cut it in the SEC. It puts you in the group at the bottom.
James Sprayberry, local attorney and longtime Auburn season ticket holder
It was a cool evening at the house as our guys welcomed our friends from Oxford to town for an evening contest. Thank goodness the good guys prevailed in what ended up being a closer-than-expected tilt on the Tiger turf.
Despite a gracious plenty 500 yards-plus effort by the offense, we managed to come out only six ahead in the point business. It appeared that the two-week preparation time for Ole Miss was put to good use as they looked fresh while we looked a bit tuckered out at times.
Nevertheless, it goes down as a “W” and we are sitting at 7-2 with three to go.
I bet there are a bunch of teams out there that would like to have a record like ours. No matter where you stand on the opinion board, you ought to agree that we could have fared worse given what is arguably the toughest schedule out there. Our guys are trying hard to win every time out and deserve our support. Especially down the stretch.
This week provides another chance to recharge the batteries and get ready for serious football business with some dogs and elephant people.
I just know all the Auburn folks will be out in force when we get started on the 16th with the woofers. Sure would be good to provide them a noisy visit and generate a little confusion for the Athens-Clarke county faithful. Y’all come!
Check back next week to see the panel's take on Auburn's showdown against rival Georgia in Jordan-Hare Stadium.