Reporting from Auburn, this guy here likes South Carolina

RoboCoach Gene Chizik dazzles the media with bon mots. (Photo by M. Bradley)

RoboCoach Gene Chizik dazzles the assembled media with bon mots. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Auburn, Ala. — I’m sitting here listening to Gene Chizik. And if you’ve ever wondered how RoboCoach would sound, listen to Gene Chizik. But I digress.

I’m sitting here listening to Gene Chizik, and I’m thinking, “I really like South Carolina’s chances Saturday.”

Not because of Gene Chizik. He’s obviously a good coach. But the guy who’ll be on the other sideline in the Georgia Dome is pretty good, too, and Evil Genius is bringing a pretty good team with him. And it’s a pretty good team that won’t be shocked by anything Cam Newton does, given that it was South Carolina against which the Camster had his night of arrival.

Auburn has had a great season — doesn’t get any greater than going undefeated in the SEC, does it? — but I still wonder about its defense. I especially wonder about Ted Roof, the Georgia Tech grad whose uncoordination of George O’Leary’s defense doomed the Jackets to being one of those good-hit-no-field teams a decade ago. Even the RoboCoach described the Tigers’ defensive effort in falling 24 points behind Alabama last week as “not acceptable.”

South Carolina has the better defense and the better coordinator (Ellis Johnson, who’s as solid as Stone Mountain). South Carolina also has a running back — Marcus Lattimore, the freshman who chose the Gamecocks over Auburn — capable of defusing Cam Newton by keeping the nation’s best player on the bench. As RoboCoach noted, South Carolina leads the SEC in time of possession.

I don’t doubt that a team coached by Steve Spurrier and staffed by Lattimore and the great receiver Alshon Jeffrey can contrive to put up four touchdowns on a neutral field against the men of Roof. (The Georgia Bulldogs had four in Jordan-Hare Stadium, lest we forget.) I realize Auburn is the world’s best team at playing from behind, but after a season of so many peaks and so many comebacks, the most recent being the epic rally in Tuscaloosa, how much the Tigers have left — cliche alert! –  in the tank.

Cam Newton is the nation’s best player. Nick Fairley is the nation’s best defender. (Sorry, Georgia fans.) Auburn has been at worst the nation’s second-best team — Oregon has been pretty darn good itself — over the course of the three-month regular season. But for this one game under the off-white roof, I like South Carolina. I like it so much I’ll give you the score:

Gamecocks 33, Tigers 31.

299 comments Add your comment

juvenal

November 30th, 2010
1:23 pm

Geezerbut

November 30th, 2010
1:24 pm

Geezerbut

November 30th, 2010
1:24 pm

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:25 pm

A close race is won by juvenal, who had the foresight to type only one character. Kudos to both y’all.

juvenal

November 30th, 2010
1:26 pm

think i said scam early, admit $CAM is better-not a personal accusation, believe eveyone’s innocent until all of the press has ruled, just a comment on how $ has ruined $PORT$……

juvenal

November 30th, 2010
1:28 pm

thanks, Mark, i really do try to pay attention(Doug NEVER gives kudos!)

StottsEra

November 30th, 2010
1:29 pm

i’m pretty sure ted roff has better talent on the plains than on the flats…you’re slipping, MB

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:30 pm

Kudos are a personal decision. I choose to offer them in the heartiest way.

merculf

November 30th, 2010
1:33 pm

People also said Auburn wouldn’t beat Tenn 2x in 2004…….

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:34 pm

Not me. I figured Auburn would beat UT.

(Actually, I don’t recall what I figured. The older you get, the less you remember.)

David

November 30th, 2010
1:37 pm

I see. Since Spurrier will give you better sound bites during a press conference that means they will win the game. Wow…not a good article. However, I bet Auburn will love this as they seem to relish the media picking against them.

WDE!!!

November 30th, 2010
1:37 pm

Keep picking against us Mark… Eventually you will get it right, but not this week.

Willy In Atlanta

November 30th, 2010
1:38 pm

I hope that more people subscribe to this thought… I hope that so many do that Vegas has to change the line from a 4 point Auburn favorite to a 4 point SC favorite. Seems like more and more people are picking SC to win. The more the merrier… just makes for better bulletin board material! WCE!!

WDE!!!

November 30th, 2010
1:39 pm

Lattimore had 33 yards against us the first game. Why do you figure it will be any different? He was pitiful against Clemson. How much do you think he has – cliche alert! – left in the tank?

KR

November 30th, 2010
1:39 pm

Thanks Mark! 2010 wouldn’t be the same without the sports journalists picking against Auburn every week. The big question is will all of those journalists picking against Auburn get it right this time?

Oscar

November 30th, 2010
1:39 pm

Cam may be in prison by Saturday… you never know.

Oscar

November 30th, 2010
1:40 pm

Auburn may not be in SEC by Saturday… you never know.

Yippee

November 30th, 2010
1:41 pm

YIPPEE!!!!! It’s official, Auburn will with the SEC crown.

Bradley doesn’t know crap about football, so if he thinks South Carolina will win, then you know Auburn will come out victorious

YIPPEE!!!!!

WDE!!!

November 30th, 2010
1:43 pm

Nothing may ever come out of the investigation … you never know

Seriously

November 30th, 2010
1:43 pm

Mark – you’re impressed by Lattimore? Seriously, that coward? He narrowed his choices to SC and Auburn. After Dyer committed to Auburn, Lattimore didn’t want any competition to be the main back, so he ran off to SC.

Now that’s a quitter.

WDE!!!

November 30th, 2010
1:44 pm

Oscar is probably a sidewalk alum of UGA … most likely true

Andy

November 30th, 2010
1:44 pm

I hate to say it Mark but you have been right about SC all season long. I remember your prediction that they would beat UGA and be players in the SEC East before the season started. Everyone, including me, scoffed. You got it right though. I am also taking SC in my pool, right now they are 5 point dogs. I still think Auburn may win but I’ll take SC and the points.

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:46 pm

Yes, I’m impressed by Lattimore. Also by his 1,114 yards rushing.

John

November 30th, 2010
1:46 pm

You’re right Oscar. There are a lot of things to steal in Hotlanta. Then again, he just be in his element.

Mark's an idiot

November 30th, 2010
1:46 pm

“South Carolina has the better defense and the better coordinator (Ellis Johnson, who’s as solid as Stone Mountain). South Carolina also has a running back — Marcus Lattimore, the freshman who chose the Gamecocks over Auburn — capable of defusing Cam Newton by keeping the nation’s best player on the bench”

Mark, did you even watch the South Carolina/Auburn game earlier this season. Lattimore was shut down, and their defense was scored on at will. So your previous statement (quoted above), is obsolete.

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:47 pm

Wow, Andy. Thanks for remembering.

But in all honesty: I thought Carolina would go 9-3 (which it did) but finish second to Florida in the SEC East (oops).

WDE!!!

November 30th, 2010
1:47 pm

Good call Andy. UGA was really really good. I can’t imagine UGA fans scoffing that anyone would beat them.

The Blair Miss Project

November 30th, 2010
1:48 pm

<—————– WIDE LEFT <——————-

(((((42-34))))) hahahahahahahahaha!!!

AU Grad'95

November 30th, 2010
1:49 pm

I agree with sketicism towards Roof, but after the first 20 minutes or so, AU’s defense held Bammer to just 3 points for nearly 40 minutes. Either the AU players changed by playing better, Roof made adjustments or Bammer quit executing. My concern is why we come out slow repeatedly. One of these days they may find themselves too far behind to recover, and the best team on the field may not win that day. I would much prefer a lead and then pound on the opponent and win with a two possession cushion.

WDE!!!

November 30th, 2010
1:51 pm

33 of which came against Auburn? Haha. Did you watch the Clemson/SC game? Lattimore did nothing! 23 carries for 48 yards? He had big games against UGA, Tennessee and Florida. 11 carries for 30 yards against Arkansas?

At least watch a few games or look at some stats before you make stupid comments! Oh wait it’s the AJC…

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:51 pm

I’ll agree, AU Grad, that Auburn shut down Alabama the second half. Surprised the heck outta me.

Milledge

November 30th, 2010
1:51 pm

18 million reasons why Auburn will win Saturday.

Seriously

November 30th, 2010
1:52 pm

Yeah Mark – I see why you’re sooooo in love with Lattimore:

Lattimore: 232 rushes – 1,114 yards – 4.8 avg
Cam Newton: 228 rushes – 1,336 yards – 5.9 avg

Oh yeah, Latt’s great!

Trey

November 30th, 2010
1:52 pm

Oh crap, I guess us Gamecocks should just concede the SECCG now, since we don’t have a player on our team that we paid in excess of $180,000 for. Congratulations to the Auburn Tigers on the 2010 SEC Championship*.

*all wins vacated post-season due to NCAA infractions.

Zach

November 30th, 2010
1:53 pm

Mark, I like you, in a reader/reporter kinda way. But why do you have to join the bandwagon hating on my tigers? It hurts me. Dearly. Can you please rewrite the column to support the tigers? Thanks.

War Eagle

November 30th, 2010
1:53 pm

Mark, if your score is correct Auburn will still play for the National Championship..1) all computers have Auburn at *1 …2) BCS remembers 2004, when Auburn should have played rather than Oklahoma. It would saved BCS an huge embarrassment(55-17) and a boring game.

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:54 pm

Yes, I’ll completely change my opinion just to support Auburn. War Eagle!

Seriously

November 30th, 2010
1:54 pm

Let’s look at some of Latt’s games, Mark:

Southern Miss: 14 carries for 54 yards = 3.9 avg
Auburn: 14 carries for 33 yards = 2.4 avg
Arkansas: 11 carries for 30 yards = 2.7 avg
Clemson: 23 carries for 48 yards = 2.1 avg

Oh yeah, he’s a STUD!!!!

Oscar

November 30th, 2010
1:54 pm

Sanford Drive

November 30th, 2010
1:55 pm

To the Georgia Tech Frat-Boys who sat right behind me at the game Saturday night,

First, you looked kind of cute in your yellow pants, sweater vests and bowties. I guarantee you all the UGA ladies were wishing they could cross over to the dark side just to have a single date with you.

But you showed a lot of class this night. You are VERY lucky you were not punched in the face when you would scream “To Hell with Georgia” and boo each and every player being announced for Senior Night.

Your whiskey laced breathe and non-stop ramblings were exactly what you seem to ridicule UGA fans at Sanford Stadium for doing. So thanks for proving that you are in NO WAY better than any other student/fan/alum who also tailgates all day for a night game against a hated rival. For a second, you and your Tech bretheren had me believing you were sainthood, good christian fans.

You guys disappeared in the 3rd Quarter, after Justin Houston picked up the ball from your battered running back who just got LIT-UP by Akeem Dent. I havent witnessed a vanishing like that since Randy Shannon after an embarrassing loss to Central Florida. I hope you boys made it home safe.

And my final message to you is simple………

(((((42-34)))))
9-1
61-39-5
We STILL Run This State!!!!!

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:55 pm

I think it’d be hard to have a team coming off a loss play for the BCS title. I don’t think 2004 has anything to do with it.

Zach

November 30th, 2010
1:56 pm

Much appreciated. Enjoy Auburn, It’s a great small town with a good football team and better bbq.

UGA#1

November 30th, 2010
1:56 pm

Trey = idiot who can’t think for himself so he believes in unfounded rumors.

What?

November 30th, 2010
1:57 pm

leatherhelmetblog? What kind of idiots read that opinionated crap? Seriously, that’s the best you’ve got?

Seriously

November 30th, 2010
1:58 pm

So Mark – you’re calling Barnhardt (sp?) an idiot? Cause he wrote a justification for Auburn losing and making the NC game.

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2010
1:59 pm

Oh, I’ve been to Auburn before. My first year at the AJC — it was in 1984 — I was down here at least once a week. (Auburn was the preseason No. 1 that year, you’ll recall.)

Sean

November 30th, 2010
1:59 pm

Hey Sanford Drive – read your “article” the first time you posted it. Are you going to post it over and over? Or are you going to get a life?

War Cam Eagle

November 30th, 2010
1:59 pm

Auburn and Cam will beat south carolina like a rented mule saturday—this game could get ugly early. AU may be looking ahead to oregon, but should still win by 20 easily.

scottbravesfan

November 30th, 2010
2:00 pm

They just came back from being down 24 in Tuscaloosa and you think South Carolina is going to beat them?

Also after how many weeks of the Cam Newton saga, shouldn’t the NCAA have found something saying that his dad took money?

Zach

November 30th, 2010
2:01 pm

Oh by the way I support you opinion on Roof. He is the worse 1st half defense coordinator ever. They only reason why he has a job is because he (or someone on that staff) makes the best half time adjustments of any Dcord anywhere. It is crazy and a total mystery.