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One of the preseason mags I got this summer, Lindy’s, had a special section on the SEC with a half-page review of the four year standings of the conference. Prior to the just completed season it looked exactly like this:

Four Year Period Ending in 07-08
Team SEC Pct. All Pct. Ch./Div. M B
Auburn 26-6 .813 42-9 .840 1/1 1 4
LSU 25-7 .871 43-9 .826 1/2 2 4
Georgia 22-10 .688 40-12 .769 1/1 2 4
Florida 21-11 .656 38-13 .745 1/1 1 4
Tennessee 21-11 .656 34-17 .667 0/2 0 3
Arkansas 16-16 .500 27-22 .551 0/1 0 2
Alabama 15-17 .469 29-21 .580 0/0 0 4
South Carolina 15-17 .469 27-21 .562 0/0 0 2
Kentucky 10-22 .312 21-27 .438 0/0 0 2
Mississippi State 8-24 .250 17-29 .370 0/0 0 1
Vanderbilt 7-25 .219 16-30 .348 0/0 0 0
Ole Miss 6-26 .188 14-32 .304 0/0 0 0
Note: M=Major Bowl (BCS); B=Bowls

Auburn was still riding high from the success of their spectacular run in ’04 and LSU helped them to hold down the top two spots (in terms of conference winning percentage at least).

Instead of waiting until late June, I went ahead and crunched some numbers. All information came from the official athletic websites of the conference members. The bowl record and change from last years results are columns that I added.

Four Year Period Ending in 08-09
Team SEC Pct. All Pct. Ch./Div. M B B Rec. Change
Florida 26-8 .765 43-9 .827 2/2 2 4 3-1 up 3
Georgia 23-10 .697 39-12 .765 1/1 2 4 3-1 up 1
LSU 22-11 .667 42-11 .792 1/2 2 4 4-0 down 1
Auburn 20-12 .625 34-16 .680 0/0 0 3 2-1 down 3
Alabama 20-13 .606 35-17 .673 0/1 1 4 2-2 up 2
Tennessee 17-16 .515 29-21 .580 0/1 0 2 1-1 down 1
South Carolina 15-17 .469 28-22 .560 0/0 0 3 2-1 up 1
Arkansas 15-18 .455 27-23 .540 0/1 0 2 0-2 down 2
Kentucky 12-20 .375 26-24 .520 0/0 0 3 3-0
Vanderbilt 12-22 .526 21-27 .438 0/0 0 1 1-0 up 1
Ole Miss 9-24 .273 19-29 .396 0/0 0 1 1-0 up 1
Mississippi State 8-24 .250 18-30 .375 0/0 0 1 1-0 down 2

Well as you can imagine, things changed up quite a bit this year. Gone is the statistical magic of an unblemished season and Florida, along with their Eastern Division brethren Bulldogs have combined to take over the top two places.

I’m happy to announce that Alabama jumped two spots and is now just behind Little Brother, who leads by the slimmest of margins.

Another thing to note is that with the holiday trips of Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, all twelve teams in the conference have now been to a bowl game within the last four seasons- actually all have been within the last two seasons. I’m not sure, nor am I going to take the time to verify that right now, but I doubt that any other conference can say that. Combine that with three of the last four national championships, and it presents a very strong case for the overall strength of the conference.

I’m certainly interested to see how the balance of power continues to shift.

A few other things I noted:

  • Alabama won their division with a better record than LSU did the previous year and finished the season with the same record that was good enough to garner LSU a national championship. Don’t tell me that record alone is a good enough of an indicator to determine the best of the best.
  • Alabama is also the only team to finish the regular season unblemished in the four year period. Subsequently they are the first to do it since Auburn in 2004.
  • In the study period, there were only three squads that won eight conference games in a season. Alabama was the only one that did and did not win a national championship the same year. (Florida ’06 and Florida ’08 are the other two)
  • Ole Miss is the only team to fail to win a conference game in a single season over the four year period (’07).
  • In spite of Florida’s dominance during this period (two conference championships and the best league record) they have won only one game over 75%. Despite three great years followed by one substandard year means that LSU has won exactly two-thirds of their conference games.

Take a look and let me know what else you can gleam from this.

At a Christmas party this past Saturday night, in the hours after the announcement of the hiring of Auburn’s new coach, some friends and I coined a new word.

Chizik

Sure, it’s already a name but we decided a new definition would suit it just fine and thus Chiziked was born. I won’t bore you with the properties of this new word, I’ll just use it for you in a sentence:

“I had some bad Mexican food today and spent about two hours on the john busting a Chizik.”

Or a more apropos usage: “Auburn really took a Chizik with the results of  their latest coaching search.”

Gene Chizik? Really? What, was Mike Shula not answering his phone?

One of the things I love about college football is that you can never know for sure what is going to happen. Most of the the time the “experts” and pundits get it right, but the underdog is alive and well, especially at this time of year.

When I ponder the game this weekend, I think about something I heard last week: “Auburn cannot beat us, we can only beat ourselves.”

I don’t think a truer statement has been made.

There is a lot of talent at Auburn. Their defense is stingy and they have good athletes on offense, and their return games is probably better than average. Even if they haven’t been able to put it all together, they still have the ability to win any game they play. But…

If both teams line up and play mistake free ball, based on the evidence of the season almost completed, Alabama will win the contest ninety-five times out of a hundred with the teams they have this year. Just like Southern Cal would win out against Oregon State. They are just a better team.

The crucial element to almost every single upset is mistakes by the better team.

To that end, if Alabama comes out Saturday and shoots itself in the foot, Auburn can and will win the game.

I don’t like the double-digit line, but Alabama should win the game.

From the beginning of this blog, for the most part, I have always tried to be somewhat reasonable and stay away from the types of things I consider to fanatical one-sided ranting with complete disregard for logic and the consideration of others. I’ve tried to be honest, with a decidedly pro-Alabama slant, without the mindless name-calling and unintelligent drivel I read on a few other blogs; my team and its fan base are not infallible. Just because I love the Crimson Tide and root for them without exception, that does not mean that everything their coaches, players, administrators, boosters, and fans do it above inspection, criticism, or reproach.

Furthermore, I have many good friends who went to and support Auburn. It is a fine institution that is full, for the most part, of fine individuals. I see them in the business and social worlds. I sit by them at church, I wave to them in the neighborhood and I am truly glad to see them when our paths cross. They are my brothers and sisters in this fine state that we all call home. There I feel better for having said all of that and that will continue to be the company line come next Sunday. But starting today…..

All that is out the window. We have officially started Iron Bowl Week. And do you know what that means?

It means that until the conclusion of the game this coming Saturday I hate the Aubs.

I hate their colors. I hate their mascot. I hate their big-eared, egotistical-dress-up-as-friendly-good-ole-boy head coach. I hate their former snitching-ass offensive coordinator. I hate their new offensive coordinator that was too stupid to be an offensive coordinator and is now the offensive coordinator again because the aforementioned head coach was too stupid to figure all this out ahead of time.

I hate Tigers. I hate Eagles. I hate Teagles.

I hate Plainsmen. I hate villages. I hate the Plains. The fact that these bumpkin-ass slack jawed yokels think they live on the plains is proof positive of how dumb they are. They’re pastures, people. Pastures. The plains stretch for thousands of miles. You can’t swing a dead cat (or bird- would you please make up your freaking minds?!) in Auburn without hitting a pine tree. That does not constitute plains. Pastures. You live in pastures.

I hate little brothers. I hate sociology degrees. I hate the Department of Animal and Dairy Science.

I hate people that besmirch one of my childhood heroes by claiming that he was a mumbling drunk and then name a field after Pat Dye. Have you heard Pat Dye lately? I’m pretty sure Coach Dye doesn’t even know what he’s saying.

In short, and in closing for now. I hate Auburn. And other than the few short moments in which I participate in the blessing before my Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, I will let that hatred consume me for the next five days. And in case you didn’t think I was serious, Picture Me Rollin will be known as “Go to Hell Auburn” for the next six days.

(HT: The War Eagle Reader)

Official PMR Public Declaration of Stance on Fighting at Auburn Practices

I don’t care. It also gives me absoluetly zero insight into the situation at Auburn this season. Anyone who says otherwise just needs something to talk about. Which is every single one of us right now.

Look, it’s been over seven months since there was football. And now, there’s football but there really isn’t football. All we have to occupy our attention with is practice. Have you ever thought about that the entire year, when it comes to football (and life really), the true action is somewhere between 40 and 50 hours. That’s it. In the amount of time that most of us work in a week, a season’s worth of games are played. That is the only truly substantive football we have. Everything else is just filler  and fluff – some of it is good but the vast, vast majority of it is just junk like this. But in our Robert Langdon-like passion to unravel the mystery some of us read into the “signs” way too much.

I rarely listen to Finebaum, but I happened to catch him yesterday and was amazed at how defensive the Auburn fans were. I’m just not sure over what – I didn’t hear, in my short time listening, any Alabama fans reading into the situation at all, although I am certain that they did. I am also fairly certain that the reactions would have been the exact same had the situation flipped. That’s just the nature of the this rivalry and I can see today how with a little distance and perspective it seems silly to so many. I can also see how, as a rival fan with nothing else to talk about it can be seen as somewhat comical when you’ve just been berated by your rival for a month and a half about how little character your team has and then the accuser becomes the accused. I think that’s why the wise man once said, “Those who live in glass houses…” In the SEC, and in this state in particular, we all live in really big glass houses. None are without reproach – so get over it if you feel “picked on ” today.

For any Auburn fans reading today – which is way up from normal thanks to the link from the War Eagle Reader – I, for one, read absolutely nothing into fights during Auburn practices. I don’t see it as an ominous sign that things have gone to hell there or proof that Tubberville has lost the team. In all honesty, it could be going on at Alabama and none of us would know because of the closed practices – which are now evidently the norm on the Plains (See, there might be a method to Saban’s madness). The season will be decided in the twelve or thirteen (or fourteen) games that your team will play beginning in 17 days. All else will be forgotten, unless things don’t go well – in that case all bets are off.

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