Saturday, September 15, 2007

Game Day: MTSU

OK, it's Game Day again, this time for the Blue Raiders of MTSU. This will be a first for GeauxTuscaloosa, a football game that I will not be seeing. As explained earlier in the week, I will not be able to be home for this game. I'll be at a wedding for a friend. Yes, it's a friend who isn't interested in football.

I won't be able to listen to much of it on the radio, but I may be able to catch the second half on the way home. That means there won't be any "First Replay" or "Second Replay" posts. I'll have to figure out other things to talk about.

I'll also miss all of the second most interesting game in the SEC this week: Alabama vs. Arkansas. I said we'd find out more about Bama with their matchup against Vandy, and we did. We found out that Bama is a legitimate bowl team who is a threat to beat any team on their schedule. This week, we will find out even more. We'll find out if they're a legitimate threat in the SEC West, or are they just spoilers trying to get to the Music City Bowl.

So, here's my schedule of the day:

Now to 11:30am: Avoid GameDay on ESPN like the plague. Do some errands. Walk the dog. There is no interesting 11:00am game, so skip that.

11:30-2:30pm: Mississippi State at Auburn: Here in Tuscaloosa, sports talk radio has been absolutely dominated by criticism of Auburn this week. The Auburn fans are very upset at how bad their team has looked the first two weeks. I think highly of Tommy Tuberville's coaching abilities, but there is no one to blame but him for the fact that Auburn has such a poor offensive line and a lack of playmaking wide receivers. He's been recruiting and coaching these guys for their entire careers, and if they didn't recruit good receivers and offensive linemen 3 and 4 years ago such that he does not have that wave of juniors and seniors ready to take the reins of the offense, that's his own fault. Auburn fans are right to criticize him for it.

If you're 7 years into your tenure as coach and a true freshman is starting on the offensive line, either that freshman must be incredible or you have a lot to answer for. It looks like Tubby has a lot to answer for.

With such an inexperienced offense, this is a team that is likely to improve considerably over the course of the season, but for right now they're vulnerable, and it's my conclusion from observing these teams that MSU matches up pretty well with Auburn. They have a pretty good defensive line that can take advantage of Auburn's inexperienced offensive front and a very good left tackle who may be able to neutralize Auburn's best player, Quentin Groves. If Michael Henig can avoid the mistakes that doomed them against LSU, they have a shot to win this game.

If MSU wins, it's going to be a VERY interesting week in Alabama.

2:30-4:30, Tennessee at Florida. This is a very interesting game, because we don't really know how good Florida is. They've beaten up on some weak teams early in the year, but haven't faced a real test. Then again, we don't know how good Tennessee is either. Their defense certainly looked very vulnerable against Cal, and now they're missing a starting cornerback to injury.

I think Tennessee will get its points. The questions are
  1. Can Florida's inexperienced and untested defense hold Tennessee's offense to a reasonable number of points, giving its offense a chance to win the game?
  2. Has Tennessee's suspect defense improved as a result of its embarrassment against Cal enough to hold Tebow and company to a reasonable point total to give Lamarcus Coker and Erik Ainge a chance to win?
4:30-7:00pm: Drive to Jackson, Mississippi. I don't know what, if anything will be on the radio.

7:00pm-9:00pm or so: Attend wedding reception: The wedding itself is a small, very private family affair to which I am not invited (neither is anyone else who isn't related, from what I understand. The reception is where the action is. I decided not to get a hotel, because my wife and child will not be there. My wife was invited, but it was not possible to bring the baby because the venue is an art museum, with no children allowed in the building. That would have meant we'd have to get a sitter for the baby, and the whole thing just seemed way to fraught with danger and difficulty. Therefore, I'm going alone, and I'm coming back the same night.

9:00pm-whenever: I will be driving home, hoping to catch the second half of the game on the radio. As I get closer to Tuscaloosa, WWL will likely go out, and I'll switch over to the Bama-Arky game if it's still on.

The rumors around the message board is that Flynn is walking around in a boot and either a) is not ready to go, or b) shouldn't play and risk more serious injury. If so, it looks like Ryan Perrilloux may get his long-awaited first start. Stay tuned.

No comments: