I really don’t know what’s going on. I really don’t know who this man is. This is two weeks in a row that Auburn has received a tiny shred of love from Mr. FireWillHeath. He’s just playing with us isn’t he? You be the judge.
Season 2, Week 5 – There’s something building…
There’s something building here, and I think I like it.
I’m sure most of the folks who read this blog are aware of this (even if they’re not quite old enough to remember), but the SEC Championship has only been around since 1992. That was the year South Carolina and Arkansas joined the conference officially (one from the old Southwest, one from the independent ranks) and the brass upstairs split it into two divisions.
I remember thinking at the time that the SEC’s Western division was to be Alabama and Auburn’s playground — the winner of that game SHOULD be, by all rights, the team with the inside track to the conference championship (which somehow started in Birmingham before the brass got wise and moved it to Atlanta).
Somehow it never happened. Between the two teams in the state, they’ve combined for nine division titles in 16 seasons, and at no point was the Game Formerly Known as the Iron Bowl a “winner-take-all” affair. (Here’s the part where I note that the ’93 and ’94 games SHOULD have been those kinds of contests — the two teams came into those games with the best records in the division, but NCAA sanctions against Auburn meant the Tigers were ineligible both seasons. Which sucks, because those were two very good games.)
And so here we are in 2009: both teams 4-0, both heading north to face inter-division opponents on their home turf, both the talk of the conference: one highly-ranked, one not ranked at all (for reasons known only to the people who have poll votes, most of whom probably shouldn’t be allowed outside without a bedpan and a nurse).
More importantly, I’ve been able, through 4 weeks, to watch the rest of the teams in the division. Who’s looked more impressive than either of these two teams? Arkansas and Mississippi St. look feisty but ultimately harmless. LSU looks underwhelming. Ole Miss may or may not have a pulse (it’s all part of the Houston Nutt Express). Have any of these teams looked better than Auburn? Of course not. Only Alabama has.
Obviously, time will tell, and a number of outside factors (injuries, especially) could change the tone for everybody. But I’m looking forward to November, with the two rivals meeting in front of a frenzied crowd, with a trip to Atlanta possibly on the line.
It may not happen. But it sure sounds like fun, no?