More Les Miles thoughts, Auburn's woes, SEC Power Poll

I am still amazed that the near unanimity of opinion that Les Miles was an idiot or at best reckless for the last play call at Auburn. Yet in the pundits' mad rush to jump on the bandwagon to slam Les for making such a "risky" call, almost NONE of them took the time - in our Tivo-rich society - to rewind the play and pause it when the ball hits Byrd in the hands, and see that there were indeed four seconds left. Go ahead, check it out yourself. (Also, note that there's also been some confusion about Les' postgame comment that there was 18 seconds left when the play was called...please note the clock at the precise moment the huddle broke. Thanks for your time!)

Anyway, does a tipped ball REALLY take four full seconds to hit the ground? Do yourself a favor. Grab a football. Throw it as high up in the air as you possibly can. See how long it takes to land. Might be a little longer than four seconds. Six, maybe? And you probably got that ball a good forty or fifty feet in the air, at least. So you're telling me a tipped - or even bobbled - ball takes four seconds to hit the turf from three feet up? Give me - or give Les Miles, rather - a goddamn break. (Incidentally, that brings up a GREAT comparison a fellow Louisiana blogger made: Les Miles = Ronald Reagan?)

Anyway, let's just have a recap, shall we?

Mark May:

Yes, it worked out, but I thought Les Miles lost his mind at the end of that game against Auburn. You don't cut it that close. If the defender from Auburn had tipped that ball, the game would have been over and everyone at LSU would have been skewering Les from here until eternity. Kick the field goal!

CFN's Matt Zemek (full disclosure, I think CFN is the best non-blogger source for CFB writing available, but they too deserve to be criticized from time to time):

Yet, [Miles] presided over a situation in which Matt Flynn received the center snap with eight seconds left on a play that started at the Auburn 22. If seven seconds from the 10 is the accepted second-half standard, eight seconds from the 22 is cutting things mighty close. This isn't guts. It's astonishing neglect and breathtaking stupidity.

Louisiana's very own Glenn Guilbeau:

WHAT was Les Miles thinking with that last play of the game Saturday night?
WHAT if LSU receiver Demetrius Byrd juggles the ball for a couple of seconds and
doesn't catch it like his teammate Brandon LaFell did earlier in the game?

Here's WHAT. There would have been an EARTHQUAKE and a FIRE, and I don't think Les Miles would have survived no matter what type of MAGIC wand he may have. He would have been crucified nationally and locally, and believe me Nick
Saban would be virtually back in the LSU Nation's graces.

But Byrd made a spectacular touchdown catch of an expertly thrown ball by quarterback Matt Flynn with one second on the clock, and LSU beat Auburn 30-24 to remain in the BCS national championship hunt at No. 3.

But WHAT if Byrd doesn't make that catch and time runs out? He did drop one in the second quarter in Auburn territory to kill a drive.

WHAT if time runs out and Miles is sitting there a timeout under his hat and Colt David ready to kick a 39-yard field goal after he had already made field goals of 29, 26 and 33 yards?

The AP's Ralph Russo, on LSUBeat.com (using "reckless" in the headline, as well):

If the ball had been tipped away, it very well could've been the last play of the game.

LSU would've never gotten a chance to kick that potential winning field goal.

The excellent writer OutsideTheSidelines at Roll Bama Roll:

A big win, and the dumbest coach I've ever seen. This is a good team, but I really don't think they can go through Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Florida again to get to New Orleans. I'll drop them one spot this week due to ASU's unbeaten season being extended, and because I figure coaching stupidity costs them one game. An LSU friend called the decision for a deep pass at the end, "The worst coaching decision I've seen since Curley Hallman against Auburn in 1994."

A brief blurb in a long recap from SMQ:

[W]hether LSU intended to do so or not, its eggs really were all in the basket of Matt Flynn's final lob...

CBS' Dennis Dodd comes close, as he actually acknowledges the ball hit Byrd in the hands with four seconds left, yet STILL deludes himself into thinking this call was the ballgame:

Never mind eschewing the obvious field goal, if Flynn's pass is a) knocked down; b) bobbled or c) tipped in any manner whatsoever, the game -- and the season in many ways -- is over.

ONE voice of reason in the madness. CFN's Richard Cirminiello:

The decision by Les Miles to go for the jugular with a timeout left in the quiver was gutsy, memorable, and borderline insane.  It very likely, however, would not have prevented LSU from getting a crack at a field goal after all.  While everyone is feeding you the fact that the Tigers scored with one tick left in regulation, that's technically not accurate.  Watch the tape.  Byrd is on his back in the rear of the end zone with the ball secured with four seconds left on the clock.  He rolls through the end zone at three seconds, and is standing up at two ticks, saluting the frenzied home crowd.  The clock then moves to one second, but that was long after the play had ended.  Although Miles' call was curious and up for a ton of scrutiny, even if Byrd briefly bobbled the ball, a review almost certainly would have added time to the clock, giving Colt David an opportunity to kick for the tie.

Come on, everyone. Hit the damn replay button. I'm fairly sure most of you have a Tivo.

Thanks to Jackson Jambalaya for compiling many of the links I used above.

Auburn offensive lineman Chaz Ramsey is getting a lot of heat - deservedly so - for a nasty, illegal chop block on Glenn Dorsey that didn't even get flagged. As my cowriter noted below, Tommy Tuberville was man enough to apologize for it. Not, of course, man enough to suspend Ramsey for what he dubbed an unintentional play.

Let's examine why Ramsey may have been incensed with Dorsey:

Two quarters later, we get this garbage:

Two dates to mark, Tiger fans:

  • Saturday, September 20, 2008 (LSU at Auburn)

  • Saturday, October 24, 2009 (Auburn returns to LSU)

Chaz is a freshman. There's no way that was unintentional. Give that classless bastard hell. (Of course, we Tiger fans wait with bated breath for Chaz's personal apology, which I'm SURE is forthcoming!)

There have been some (1) complaints (2) regarding the officiating in the Auburn game. All I have to say is, this looks like pass interference to me:


LSU @ Auburn, 2006

How's that saying go? Ahh yes: What goes around...

My roommate pointed out to me today that it's been a woeful year for Auburn fans cheering on their alums in the NFL, what with Cadillac Williams lost for the year with a knee injury, and today's announcement of Ronnie Brown's torn ACL sidelining him for the season. Kenny Irons had the same thing happen in the preseason, and Rudi Johnson's sprained groin continues to keep him out of Bengals games. Yikes. At least the football gods gave Auburn fans that awesome Florida victory.

My SEC Power Poll for this week:

  1. LSU - Amazing that in the national swings of emotion regarding Les Miles' coaching acumen in the last seventeen days, it's LSU fans who've emerged as the most levelheaded about it all. Shame on you, college football world!
  2. Florida - And just like that, a trip to Atlanta is not just possible but probable.
  3. Auburn - Despite the loss, they're playing about as well as anyone right now.
  4. Kentucky - Acquitted themselves well in defeat. Likely no SEC Championship this year for the `Cats but regardless of the finish they'll have exceeded all expectations.
  5. Alabama - So that win won't do anything for the hype machine that'll be in full gear when LSU comes to town in two weeks!
  6. South Carolina - Just when Steve Spurrier was on the cusp of going back to his old rip-on-other-schools ways, he serves one up for the rest of the SEC in losing to lowly Vandy.
  7. Tennessee - Just wow.
  8. Arkansas - Nothing like playing Ole Miss to get the spirits up.
  9. Georgia - Every reason to believe the season is just going to get worse this week with Florida coming up.
  10. Vanderbilt - Thought about ranking them fifth out of pure courtesy for that win, but nah. Good job though, you Commie bastards!
  11. Mississippi State - After facing Kentucky, Bama, and Arkansas the next three weeks, 4-2 will seem a distant memory.
  12. Ole Miss - No matter where they rank on this list, the girls will always be hot in Oxford.
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