Thursday, 15 September 2011

Clemson Preview: Time To Show Some Consistency

Can you believe we are half-way through September? Feels like just yesterday we were getting excited for the opener, gearing up for the Aggies. Time flies doesn't it? Well, its still only the third game of the season, and this weeks Clemson game is one of the very few Auburn games which will show up on my TV, hooray! Will feel good to watch Auburn in the crisp setting of a HD television, the way the Auburn Tigers should be seen on.

This Saturday Auburn plays their first road game against Clemson, a team that has been struggling mightily the last few weeks against teams like Wofford. They barely beat them last week and are favoured by Vegas over Auburn by -3.5, I'm not surprised by this, even through Clemson's struggles and Auburn's will to win the Tigers (the blue kind) are still a young team that is yet to play their first road game together. No one knows how the players will fare in a hostile environment they can't call Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Even though Dabo and the Tigers have been struggling as of late, there is no reason to think they don't have a chance. Sure, we have been playing better football but we are going into their house and playing against a team with some viable weapons. Ellington is a fast, elusive runningback that can break off a play whenever he finds space and momentum, as well as a few big receivers in Martavis Bryant (6'5) and not to mention true freshman Sammy Watkins, who is just filthy. You would be silly to think we won't give up quite a few points to this team, who are still a threat to anyone.

I'd love to put out a great defensive performance but until I do I won't expect one. Getting run up the gut is what Utah State and MSU did against us so well, so expect to see similar plays from Clemson against this defense. Offensively it will be like it was last week, Dyer making the odd play, McCalebb scooting around and Trotter making the adequate throws. If we could create a deep threat at wide receiver that would be splendid. The probable man for this is Benton, who we have yet to see catch a ball this season. Emory Blake has become a huge play-maker at wide receiver so thats another positive.

As for Auburn, this is a time to show some consistency with our play. We played a much more hard and physical game last week against MSU, we must keep it up this week on the road. Clemson want some revenge and I feel like we need to start out hot like we did last week. Get a few quick stops on defense and capitalise off of them, that way the confidence can build and we can keep on scoring throughout the game.

The only thing I worry about in this scenario is Gus Malzahn, because whenever we seem to get up by a lead the play-calling seems to become much more cute and ineffective. Setting a receiver screen on 3rd and 10 isn't exactly a solid call unless you are throwing it to Calvin Johnson. It becomes what some like to call "Tubershelling". It's as if you were sitting on a certain lead and throwing out play-calls as if you are throwing away last weeks leftover turkey.

Both teams need to continue winning but for Auburn notching every win we can will do wonders for our season, including what certain "mediots" predicted. I never thought we were going to finish 4-8 or even 5-7 so winning games like this will be big, especially games on the road. We haven't proven anything yet, so lets go out there and prove that last week wasn't a fluke. We shouldn't lose to the Auburn imitators this weekend, and I don't expect to either.

Clemson hasn't beaten Auburn in the last fourteen meetings (last win by Clemson was 1951!) and the past two meetings have gone into over-time, both resulting in Auburn victories. No reason why this one shouldn't be a similar outcome, I don't see us blowing out Clemson but I certainly don't see us losing to them either, even on the road.

Final Prediction: Auburn 38-28 Clemson

The game will be close, but I think Auburn snatches it out in the end, just like always. No reason to pick Auburn to lose until they actually do. I still think we lose at least four games but I really don't see this being one of them.