Ah Shucks

I think I read the last time Auburn lost a road game was in 2005 in Baton Rouge.  Auburn dominated that game but our field goal kicker, who was a clutch kicker, missed 5 field goals in that one.  We were bound to lose another game on the road at some time and this most likely was to be the year.  I think I wrote at the start of the season that 4 road games against Florida, Arkansas, LSU, and Georgia were a near impossibility that any team in America could go undefeated.  Well so far in the season, Auburn is 2-1 in those games.  Not too bad.Jay Coulter had a heart warming post this morning.  He was quick to point out on the heels of last night’s loss how much this Auburn team has grown since the start of the season.  Although I agree with that to an extent there are some lingering questions after I’ve slept on it.  And certainly don’t take these as being negative or skeptical in any way – I’ll explain in a moment.

Question 1: How much longer will Al Borges remain a Tiger?  Hey I love the guy but since coming to the Plains in 2004, offensive productivity has tapered off each year.  This was supposed to be a decent year with a 5th year senior at the helm.  But we’re “growing”.  The play calling in Arkansas by his own admission was conservative.  Our second half play calling last night was conservative and it caught up to us.

Question 2: Will Tuberville be able to retain Muschamp?  Rumors are already floating around that if Georgia drops a couple of more games, Muschamp could be the #1 candidate to replace Mark Richt.  Although the D gave up some plays last night, it did well to contain LSU’s offense all night.  Wonder why Miles chose to take a shot at the TD instead of kick the field goal?  Would you want your kicker to stand in front of our front seven to win the game or take your chances with a long throw?

Question 3: How will Auburn coaches solve our kick-off woes?  It doesn’t seem as though we can cover a kick-off nor place the ball where we want to on a kick-off.  This has been a problem area most of the year.  It took a big bite out of us last night, setting up LSU on their own 42 yard line for the game winning drive.  Aye-carumba.

Question 4: Can the team stay focused on week-to-week preparations now that Bama looks to be a formidable opponent Thanksgiving weekend?  There’s no doubt that the Alabama press will start to build the Iron Bowl hype now.  Yesterday’s win over Tennessee indicates the toilet tissue rollers are finding a groove.  Auburn better stay focused and get healthy because something tells me this year’s Iron Bowl now carries huge long term implications to both programs.

Tracey made an observation last night “if we didn’t have guests over, no one would be able to sit in the same room with you.”  Maybe I was fairly tempered but my comment back to her still stands.  “The LSU game any year can go either way and as long as manage my expectations as such I can be well behaved,” I said.  The South Florida game was a little out of hand.  As a matter of fact I think I slept on the couch for two straight nights after that.  It’s those losses to second tier programs, such as Alabama, that hurt the most.  I can handle the LSU game loss.

This is why this morning I didn’t wake up feeling blue.  Oh yes I very thankful I don’t live in the state of Alabama as tomorrow’s work day would carry heartache and sorrow.  Here in St. Louis maybe one person will mention it but other than that the conversation will be on some mundane Cardinals activity, or Blues hockey.  No blues here for me.

Nah I guess at the end of the day I still feel it’s great to be an Auburn Tiger.  The team played well, well enough to win, and was winning until the last play of the game.  They certainly are playing respectable ball now vs. the beginning of the season.  And I think these guys can play with any team in the country.  If we can win out, retain our coaches, have a good spring, and get a new QB ready to play we’ll be positioned for a nice run next year.  Lots of ’07 ball left though…

In related news… The Butt yesterday turned out fairly well.  I think I’ve toned my rub down too much however as the meat didn’t seem to have much flavor.  It could have gone to quality – the quality of the pig.  I’m having a hard time finding all-natural pork here.  The markets don’t carry the large cuts that are minimally processed and every butcher I go to doesn’t get them either.  As a matter of fact I spoke to one specialty market on the phone Friday.  When I asked him if he had a picnic his response was “I only deal with raw unprepared meat.  If you’re looking for prepared food for a picnic you’ll need to call a deli.”  So it’s quite a challenge.

The Butt from last night was from a chain called Schnuck’s.  It was well marbled and it pulled nicely.  I could have left it in the smoke for another hour or so – it smoked for slightly over 8 hours.  It certainly could have used 9, maybe 10 as there were still some membranes and such that didn’t pull well.  The meat did come clean off the bone though.  So no complaints.

We outdid ourselves on the fixins again.  Tracey made her homemade mac and cheese with cheddar and fontina cheeses.  She also slow cooked some fresh green beans.  I made some homemade cole slaw kicked up with jalapeno and serano peppers.  Tracey also made some homemade freedom fries.  I saw a recipe for pulled pork po-boy sandwiches which called for the fries.  We didn’t do those because by the time I pulled the pork we were just a few minutes from kick-off.  We’ll do it with the leftovers.

The beverage for the evening – which is probably why Auburn lost – was beer.  Yep no bourbon.  Can you believe it?  I’m striving to behave.  The beer however was an Oktoberfest beer made by Schlafly, a local brewery.  This brewery somehow is prospering in AB’s back yard.  You’ll find their varieties all over town on tap and of course the markets carry their full assortment.  I like the Oktoberfest.  I was fuller than I was expecting, a nice surprise.

It’s a wonderful day here in STL.  The temp on the patio this morning was 67 with a nice breeze and nothing but sunshine.  There’s cold front moving in that is supposed to drop us into the mid-50’s by the middle of the week.  Looks like it’s making it East.

Happy Sunday everyone and War Eagle!

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