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Playing Nice: Auburn

Time to look ahead to Auburn with our friends from College and Magnolia

college and mag

Well it’s Auburn week.

Auburn’s riding a two-game winning streak over LSU at the moment. The Other Tigers absolutely kicked the crap out of LSU in 2020, and then they finally ended their 20-year losing streak in Baton Rouge last fall.

But that was then and this is now and boy oh boy Auburn looks bad. Bryan Harsin looks to be a dead man walking, and the Tigers played an absolutely disgusting game against Mizzou on Saturday that I suppose somebody had to win. Joining us to preview this year’s edition of LSU-Auburn is our pal Jack from College and Magnolia.

1. I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about Bryan Harsin. Is it just a matter of when Auburn moves on from him, and not if? What would he need to do to save his job?

It’s definitely a matter of when, not if. Had the Thiccer Kicker nailed an extra point length field goal for Missouri, OR had their tailback not fumbled going into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown, we’d be telling you about our interim coach right now. Harsin was done had he lost to Mizzou, but now we’re going to wait a little bit longer. His buyout drops at the end of the calendar year, but that’s of no concern to the money folks. There are basically a couple of different schools of thought:

One, he loses to LSU and is gone and the administration is just waiting for the next loss to do it.

Two, they’re just waiting for the bye week, which likely means he loses to LSU, Georgia, and Ole Miss (those last two on the road).

To save his job, he would need to beat LSU convincingly (not like Mizzou, we need to see some actual improvement), then beat Georgia, and beat Ole Miss. At that point we give him until the end of the year to see what else he does. And if you’ve watched Auburn at all, you know that we’re absolutely not going to magically become the team we need for him to save his job.

2. What’s the QB situation looking like Saturday? Should LSU fans expect to see TJ Finley’s familiar face? And how healthy is Robby Ashford?

T.J. Finley took a very hard shot at the end of the Penn State game and was out last week, but he was on the sideline with pads on. He didn’t throw any passes in warmups, and didn’t play, so who knows what his health is like. Harsin told us that everyone was healthy for the Missouri game, and then Finley is out and Zach Calzada elected to get season-ending shoulder surgery. You can put the pieces together on how this is all going.

Robby Ashford took a hit as well when he was blocking downfield, and he had to leave the game for a series or two. We brought in the true freshman Holden Geriner, and didn’t do him any favors with play-calling. I think Ashford is alright, and so he’s the guy you’ll probably see the most of, but Geriner will probably also play as well. We’ve got two scholarship quarterbacks and then a couple of walk-ons, and I don’t put anything past this series to make it as weird as possible.

3. LSU’s defense is coming off a shutout over New Mexico and really put the clamps on Mississippi State’s offense. Give me someone besides Tank Bigsby LSU needs to focus on stopping.

Uh, I don’t know. Like seriously, I don’t know.

Tank is the obvious answer, but even he’s been the victim of atrocious offensive line play. Last week he had 62 rushing yards after contact and 44 rushing yards total. You can do the math to see where he was meeting defenders every play. And this ain’t Georgia’s defense, it was Missouri’s.

Other than our dear sweet Tank, Jarquez Hunter is dangerous at tailback, and our tight ends are pretty solid with John Samuel Shenker leading the way. He must be a weapon because we ran a jet sweep to him last week for some reason. Our receivers have a couple guys who could be great somewhere else in Ja’Varrius Johnson and Koy Moore (your boy), who showed out last Saturday. Trouble is, we’re four games in and our wide receivers haven’t scored a touchdown yet. Our only passing touchdowns have gone to tight ends and tailbacks, and I use plurals generously there because we only have two passing touchdowns through a third of the season. Wheeeeeeee.

4. I know you never apologize for a win but come on. Will you apologize for that Missouri win last week? And how many sickos YES HAHAHA...YES’s out of 10 are you expecting out of this year’s edition of LSU-Auburn?

Why are you asking me to apologize? I’ll never apologize for an Auburn win, they need to apologize to US for not letting that game be the one that gets rid of our horrible coaching situation. We were going to have a leg up on most other schools in the coaching search race, but now we’ll probably have to wait until at least we get beat down in Athens to make the change.

As far as how SICK this game can get, there really is no limit. Jordan-Hare Stadium... at night... Auburn/LSU... embattled head coach... HURRICANE?? Yeah, this is going to be messy. I’m thinking extremely sloppy, fumbles where everyone scrambles in the mud and it gets kicked around before a wild gust of wind lifts it up... that kind of thing. This will be a full 10/10 sickos rating.

(Or, LSU just beats us 31-6 and we call it a day on this dude)

5. Prediction for Saturday? And am I wrong for thinking LSU’s chances are actually improved because Auburn won’t have the interim coach boost?

No! You’re not wrong! There’s definite strife in the locker room and around the program, and I think that it’ll wear even more on the team as we go week to week until a change is made. Here’s the deal with Auburn — I gave you the stats on Tank’s running (62 yards after contact, 44 total rushing yards vs Missouri), and the fact that wide receivers haven’t caught a touchdown pass. But in the last four P5 games (SCAR 2021, Bama 2021, PSU 2022, Mizzou 2022) + Houston in our bowl game, Auburn hasn’t converted a third down in the fourth quarter. We have been getting markedly worse as the game goes on. I would love love love to end up with a three-game winning streak on LSU when this is all said and done, but it seems like you guys are figuring it out way more than we are.

This will be gross and sloppy for about 2.5 quarters. I’m thinking 10-6 LSU lead at halftime, and then you score soon after halftime, and with the rain/wind making it impossible for us to throw, we gain about 75 total second-half yards. LSU scores again late a couple times, and it’s like a 31-6 or 31-13 affair (depending on if we somehow get a garbage touchdown).