January 10, 2011

Fearless and True

I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.

I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.

I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.

I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.

I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.

I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.

I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God."

And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.

-George Petrie (1945)

Way to go, Tigers!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:14 PM | Comments (5)

November 06, 2007

Chet's In Heaven!

No, not like that.

I mean he's just really happy because we got an actual e-mail today, and that meant that Chet the E-Mail Boy got to swing into a flurry of activity (as flurrisome as he gets, at least) as he got busy transcribing it from Morse code to Linotype to a printed sheet for me to edit then back to the Linotype and then back to me with the final copy.

Gosh, this better be good:

from: Marc Velazquez
10:33 am (3 hours ago)
to: Terry Oglesby
date: Nov 6, 2007 10:33 AM
subject: Sonic Snack

Hey Terry!

Hey Marc!

I hope you'll forgive my "nudgings" to get you back into some kind of posting habit. I do miss the daily fun we had.

Sorry, Marc. But I just can't anymore. In the immortal words of Chief Joseph, "I will blog no more forever." Or something like that. So you'll never ever have a need to ever come back by here, because there won't be any more new material.

Then again, most of it was leftovers anyway...

With that said, please feel free to use the following for posting material: Have you seen and tried the new snack, Deep Fried Macaroni and Cheese Bites, from Sonic?

I've seen the commercials, but have not observed them in their natural habitat.

When I first saw the commercial I thought, "How did they get that from Terry?" You mentioned last week about the boys in the R&D Kitchen Lab were hard at work, thus my curiosity. The article I gave the link for mentions that Sonic is not the first to come up with this snack.

The closest Sonic to me is over 20 miles away, ergo no FMCB's for me yet.

Please shed some light on this snack scenario, oh Grand Poobah of AoW and Cornaguin creator!

Actually, this idea is one of Possumblog Kitchen's rejects.

As you know, we believe it's important to have a sharpened stick inserted into our foods, and we believe in large quantities. Ever tried to stick a wooden stick into a big bowl of mac and cheese and pick it up? Doesn't work very well. We wound up using that wagonwheel pasta stuff that has an axle hole in the middle, which worked pretty well, but then someone pointed out that there was no meat.

We tried working on a chili mac version, and that didn't work, either. Then we went back to the drawing board and decided to take some of our tender, farm-raised manatees and feed them a strict diet of macaroni and cheese, and as a result, we now have a new product--Mac'n'Cheesatees! All the rich, blubbery goodness of genuine Florida manatee, sprinkled thru'n'thru with tasty bits of pasta and wholesome American cheese, all wrapped up in a warm, crunchy cornbread-batter coating, and then deep fried in TRANS-FAT FREE OIL, and of course, served on a genuine hardwood dowel, precisely sharpened for your eating enjoyment!

So, you know, if Sonic wants to stick (so to speak) with their puny little puffs of macaroni and cheese, eh, whatever. I'd rather that they'd invest in more fresh-faced, tightly-packed leggy blonde corn-fed carhops, and find some way to do away with all the slack-jawed pimply doofus dudes. But that could just be me.

Or not.

[PS With the writers strike in Hollywood, this could be a golden opportunity for someone like you who has a talent for comedic writing. Not to mention your vast knowledge of fine Southern living!]

Since when did it take talent to write for Hollywood?

These people are supposed to be the cream of the creative crop, yet all I hear on the news are these goomers walking around and chanting the EXACT SAME "Two-four-six-eight-insert your insufferably twee demand here and attempt to make it rhyme with 'eight'" commie protester chant that's been around FOREVER! Buncha crappy hacks can't come up with something better than THAT!? And they want more money for it!? Please. I say it's time for studios to start outsourcing some of that work to Mumbai or Jakarta or Singapore. If you're gonna get rusty retreaded crap anyway, why not economize a bit?

Good thing I don't blog anymore or I'd have to say something about it.

Hope things are going well for you and the rest of the Oglesby clan. I'm already starting to get sick of seeing Christmas commercials, considering I'm still eating stolen "Halloween" candy.

Speaking of Oglesby clan. Odd how Marc segues right from asking about us to talking about eating stolen candy.

HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY PATRIOTISM!! I blame global warming!

There now.

But yes, we're all doing just fine, thank you for asking. And NONE of us are in jail!

Anymore.

As for Hallothanksgivchristmannukwanzyear'sday, I'm not tired of it yet. Marc, however...

I use the quote marks since the candy came from the Harvest celebration at church, or whatever euphemism they happened to label it with. I did get my own bag of candy, though, at the end of the night after manning the dinosaur bean-bag toss and picking up those *$#% stupid bags for 90 minutes. Ah well, at least the kids had fun (I hope).

I know how irritating it can be, but REALLY, Marc--you mustn't insist on calling the little old church ladies "*$#% stupid bags." At least not to their faces.

I saw Auburn is creeping up the rankings, though it would take a Bear Bryant-sized miracle for them to crack the top 8 and get into the BCS.

Not gonna happen, what with only two games left in the season. And Bama is probably pretty desperate for Tommy Tuberville not to start on another hand's worth of fingers. One prediction? Should Alabama win the Iron Bowl, I guarantee you someone will have tee-shirts on sale five minutes afterward with a cartoon Big Al holding up his middle finger (toe? What do elephants have?) and saying "I got your finger right here, Auburn!"

It's called "class," you know.

Anyway, Auburn won't get any sort of BCS recognition this year.

I watched some of the LSU-Alabama game and noticed some lovely ladies wearing houndstooth hats with yellow/purple coloring. It was pretty funny, unless you're a Crimson Tide fan.

The LSUsers do seem to take his departure from Miami awfully hard. It would probably not be quite so bad except they wound up with Les "I am Certifiably Insane" Miles. I congratulate them for winning all these so far, but he's not coaching Notre Dame and shouldn't rely on sheer blind luck to continue to win games for him. Fourth and half a foot and some of the toughest linemen and backs around, and you CALL A TRICK PLAY!? Moron.

And I know moron...

Well, at least Darth Saban had his somber face on after the game. Hmmm, maybe you can whip up some Cornabogs (batter-dipped and fried Bulldog on a stick) for the weekend?

AND there's another coach who's not screwed together right. That stupid display against Florida was weapons-grade, Howard Dean, outhouse rat crazy. Anyway, should be a pretty good game...

Bountiful blessings,
Marc

Thanks!

Wow. Makes me wish I still blogged.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:51 PM | Comments (29)

July 27, 2007

Thank Goodness for Nick Saban!

Sure, all the other SEC coaches don't get as much attention when the circus comes to town, but just as surely they must know that's not a bad thing.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:13 PM | Comments (5)

That's pretty interesting.

Well, it is to ME, although mainly for the purely selfish reason that it's something developed down there at that cow college I went to. But also more for the fact that although I don't understand much of the science involved, it still sounds like a very simple and elegant technical innovation to an old technology.

AU-developed microscope wins Nano 50 Award

7:56 AM, July 27, 2007

AUBURN - An optical microscope system developed at Auburn University and produced and sold by CytoViva Inc. has been selected for a Nano 50 Award by NASA Tech Briefs publishers. The annual competition recognizes the most exceptional new products in the nanotechnology field.

Vitaly Vodyanoy, a professor in the AU College of Veterinary Medicine, built the prototype that CytoViva licensed and further developed as the Dual Mode Fluorescence, or DMF, module. It enables researchers to observe unaltered, living cells in extremely fine detail and without delays or extra steps for processing, which are typical of current microscopes.

It is attached to an existing research microscope, so samples are viewed directly through the microscope eyepiece and are captured using a standard microscope camera, Vodyanoy said. It extends light microscopy, offering a unique view of live cells and cell processes while they are occurring.

The patent-pending imaging system is being used by a wide range of researchers involved in infectious diseases, tissue engineering and drug delivery. Researchers can watch a fluorescently labeled drug enter a cell, be transported and observe the results on the cellular physiology and morphology.

This has a profound impact on the quality and convenience of data collection, said Chuck Ludwig, president of CytoViva. The new tool eliminates traditional, computer-enhanced overlay when imaging fluorescently labeled nanoparticles in unlabeled cells, tissue or biopolymers. [...]

Complete list of Nano 50 winners for this year here, and again, some of the stuff sounds really cool, and it's also heartening to see how many of the awards go to various NASA facilities around the country, which shows that at least a few hearty souls are out there doing some science with all that money instead of acting like a bunch of rowdy ne'er-do-wells with pocket protectors.

And kudos to the vet school AU, too--they do a lot of stuff down there, and it's more than just standing in the pasture elbow-deep in the back end of a cow.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:57 AM | Comments (3)

May 11, 2007

A Worthy Man

Endowed Professorship Honors AU Building Science Professor Aderholdt

AUBURN - The Auburn University Department of Building Science received $300,000 in contributions and commitments from more than 550 individuals and companies this spring to create the Bob Aderholdt Endowed Professorship.

The professorship will be awarded to an instructor in the department who exhibits the high standard of character and teaching excellence demonstrated by Aderholdt during his 27 years of service to Auburn University.

Aderholdt, who had retired from teaching earlier this year, died May 3 at the age of 65. Current building science faculty, former students and construction industry executives collaborated on the idea of creating an endowed professorship in his honor.

This new professorship is a testament to Aderholts wonderful Auburn legacy, said Dean Dan Bennett of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction. It is a poignant demonstration of the love and respect so many felt for Bob. The fact that the professorship was endowed by donations from more than 550 people in a period of only six weeks shows the very strong support for that legacy by the Building Science and CADC students, faculty and alumni.

Aderholdt taught in the Auburn building construction program for 27 years. Of his many contributions, he was instrumental in the creation of the Construction Industry Fund which helps fund construction education at AU through professional fees. Created in 1991, the fund has helped AUs building science program maintain its status as one of the elite in the nation.

Aderholdt was born July 31, 1941, in Jacksonville, Ala. He received a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from AU in 1966, and a masters degree in mechanical engineering from AU in 1969. He received his doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1973.

He taught at the University of Florida in the Department of Building Construction for eight years before returning to Auburn in 1980.

The AU Department of Building Science is housed within the College of Architecture, Design and Construction. The components of the CADC are annually regarded and ranked among the best in their respective disciplines nationally for the quality of education and quality of students.

(Contributed by Robert Grant.)

Well, first of all, I had no idea Dr. Aderholdt had passed away this month, so I offer my most profound sympathy to his family.

Second of all, Dr. Aderholdt was one of my instructors, and one of the bright lights of the time I spent at Auburn. His great good humor, enthusiasm, expertise, and absolute love of teaching made every one of his classes informative and useful to me. Whatever I might be as an architect today was strengthened by the technical knowledge of materials and construction that he taught me, but more importantly the lessons he taught in decency and humility. He never made any student feel neglected or disrespected, and was a friend to many. Including me, although I may flatter myself. Still, he didn't seem to mind when I (too familiarly) dubbed him "Doctor Bob."

One of my fondest memories of him was standing in his office one day, and for some reason he got a grin on his face and his eyes lit up, and he regaled me and a couple of other guys with the story of the time he and some friends had set out on a road trip from Auburn when he was in school.

Laughing and chatting as they drove across the country backroads, they were in a newer mid-'60something model Pontiac, not in a particular hurry and not driving fast at all. Apparently it was still too fast for one particular campus policeman, because Dr. Bob said when they pulled up to get gas in Tuskeegee, an Auburn police car--a wheezing '56 Ford station wagon--pulled up behind them and out got the cop, blustering that he'd been chasing them ever since they'd left Auburn. Just remembering the way he'd tell stories like that never fails to lift my day.

Dr. Aderholdt is a credit to Auburn University and the embodiment of the Auburn Creed, and I am a better man for having known him.

The Auburn Creed

I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count
only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.

I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work
wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.

I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot
win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.

I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is
not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.

I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.

I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my
fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.

I believe in my country, because it is a land of freedom and
because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that
country by doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly
with my God.

And because Auburn men and women believe in these things,
I believe in Auburn and love it.

George Petrie, 1943

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2006

Well, nothing in this for me...

...other than to sit and be somewhat cheerful as our cross-state opponents continue to dig themselves ever-deeper into a hole.

But this seems to be the story of the moment: Newspapers: Bama seeks talk with Spurrier about head coaching job

I really hate to say this, but despite all my silly trash talk about "Spurrier" being just another name for "Beelzebub," I really have come to have something approaching respect for him the past few years. I think his humiliation at professional coaching focused him and made him a better coach at the college level. He seems to have matured greatly from the experience and this has allowed his natural talent to shine better. He is a formidable talent no matter what college he coaches at, but I have to take him at his word when it comes to the 'Bama job.

He's been courted and passed over before, and that must be more than a bit galling. With the pressure to perform and the general level of distaste amongst Alabama fans for his past successes, it would be a hard job to enter and do well at. And having witnessed how the Bama faithful have treated the past seven coaches (each of whom was seen as the Second Coming of The Bear), it's almost a recipe for disaster to come into the program now.

Maybe that's just wishful thinking--Auburn playing a Spurrier-coached Crimson Tide will most DEFINITELY not see a repeat of the five-finger salute, so maybe I'm just hoping he'll stay at SC where there's not as much potential for mischief. But I can't fathom why any successful, mature, stable, highly-compensated coach would take the Alabama helm, unless he had some sort of killer golden parachute. Maybe they're willing to offer it to Spurrier just to get him, but as with every other coach since Bryant, one too many mistakes, and everyone will be calling for his head no matter how much they might be slobbering to get him now.

The game has changed. Parity is the deal now, and it's nearly impossible to have the sort of dynastic programs that once ruled football. You can't bring 150 boys with you on road games. Everyone has the same number of scholarships. There is more pressure for athletes to actually go to a school and graduate, meaning there are more talented players who follow what's not only best for them in sports, but academically as well. And the NCAA is much less willing to let the good ol' boy, wink-and-a-nod pass as a substitute for compliance.

Alabama was fortunate to have had one of the geniuses of football as its head coach for many years during a time when the structure of the game was much more wide-open, but were he coaching today, it's doubtful he would be as successful in bringing home national championships. He would also have been hard-pressed to have done much better with the team this year, given the impact of the NCAA sanctions against the team. That's why Franchione bailed a few years ago. There have been a couple of reports lately that he told more than a few people that Alabama would be lucky to have six wins this year because of the impact of the punishment. He got while the getting was good.

I guess my advice is to have some patience with whomever is finally chosen, and don't set an unattainable level of perfection based on an outdated model. Otherwise you're going to be going through the exact same thing in four years hence.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:11 AM | Comments (3)

November 16, 2006

"Taunting," you say?

Oh, we HAVE some of THAT around here--it being the lead-up to the big game this weekend pitting the fearsome Auburn Tigers against the puny weaklings of the Alabama Crimson Tilde, we have been brutal and ceaseless in our japery and mean-spirited humiliation directed toward the T-towners, and they have withered before the onslaught of vicious wit!

I would give them a big pile of rejoinders today, but I don't want to punish them too severely. I also have a bunch of work left to do and I don't have time to do too much.

THANKFULLY, our friend Nate McCord sent along a singularly stinging rejoinder that puts the Rammer Jammers in their places.

Actually, it's funny to the point that it's good no matter if you use Alabama or Auburn as the butt of it, but don't let anyone know I told you that.

ANYWAY, here goes:

"That's My Boy!"

A young man was accepted to the University of Alabama, but after packing up and moving to Tuscaloosa, about 1/3 of the way through the semester, he found that he had foolishly squandered in various nightclubs along The Strip all of the money his parents had given him to live on. Being a clever boy, however, he got an idea.

He called his father on the phone and said, "Dad, you won't believe the wonders that modern education are coming up with! Why, they actually have a program here at Alabama that will teach our dog Ol' Blue how to talk!"

"That's absolutely amazing," his father said. "How do we get him in that program!?"

"Just send him down here with $1,000," the student replied, "and I'll get him into the course."

So, his father packed up Ol' Blue with the $1,000 and sent dog and dollars both to Tuscaloosa.

Although initially overjoyed with the receipt of this newfound wealth (since it meant the ability to party some more), once more before the next semester was even close to being over, the money ran out. Since the trick had worked so well the first time, the boy called his father once more.

"So how's Ol' Blue doing, son?" his father asked.

"Awesome, Dad--he's talking up a storm!" the son answered, "But you just won't believe this--they've had such good results with this program that they've started a new one to teach animals how to READ!"

"READ!?" his father exclaimed. "No kidding! What do I have to do to get him in that program!?"

Barely believing his good fortune, the son said, "Just send $2,500 and I'll get him in the class."

As before, the unsuspecting father sent the money, and the son had a wonderful time blowing every last cent of it. But now with two semesters gone, the young man had a problem because with the end of the school year, his father will now find out that Ol' Blue could neither talk, nor read.

So he shot Ol' Blue.

When the 'Bama student returned home at the end of the semester, his father was all excited. "Where's Ol' Blue? I just can' t wait to hear him talk and read something!"

"Dad," the boy said sadly, "I have some grim news. Yesterday morning, just before we left to drive home, Ol' Blue was in the living room kicking back in the recliner, reading the morning paper, like he usually does. Then he turned to me and asked, 'So, is your daddy still messing around with that little redhead who lives on Oak Street?'"

At which, the father exclaimed, "I hope you shot that SOB before he talks to your mother!"

"I sure did, Dad!"

"That's my boy!"

HAH! Those wacky Bama fans!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:35 PM | Comments (2)

November 15, 2006

Yet Another Round of Hateful, Cruel Taunting of the Opponents!

All of this scorn--how does the 'Bama Nation stand it!? Maybe they have more spine than I thought...

Nah.

ANYWAY, it's time once more to heap derision and insults upon those silly Tide Pride folks so that they'll be so humiliated that they won't even be able to tie their shoes or put on their helmets come Saturday.

First, one for young Mike:

Several years back after being hired as the savior of the University of Alabama legacy, Mike Shula had just moved into his new office and was sitting at his new desk when he heard a knock on the door.

Conscious of his new exhalted position, Coach Shula quickly picked up the phone, told the visitor to enter, then said into the phone, "Yes, Governor, I'll be seeing him this afternoon and I'll pass along your message. In the meantime, thank you for your good wishes, sir."

Feeling as though he had sufficiently impressed the young man who was now standing before him, he asked, "What do you want?"

"Nothing important, sir. I'm just here to hook up your telephone."

What a silly dunce!

Next up, this:

One afternoon an Alabama player was walking along and saw a little boy playing in his yard. As the Bama player got closer, he saw that the little boy was playing with in a small pile of dog poop. Somewhat taken aback, yet still curious, he asked the little boy what he was doing.

"I'm making myself an Auburn football player," the youngster said. Bursting with malicious glee, the Crimson Tider said, "OH, I see! And why are you building an Auburn player?"

""Cause I ain't got enough to build an Alabama player."

HAH! Take THAT!

Finally, a favorite from yesteryear:

An Auburn fan was hunting when he came across an exhausted Alabama fan sitting on a log with a huge buck at his feet. "Nice deer you got their, friend!"

The Alabama fan thanked him, but said, "It sure is gettin' heavy, though, and I'm tired somethin' terrible. Been workin' to drag him out to the road for nearly an hour."

The Auburn fan noticed that the Alabama hunter had been dragging the deer by the hind legs, and made a suggestion, "You know, if you drag him by his antlers, it'll be easier because his hair will lay down instead of raising up as you drag him.

With a look of utter contempt, the 'Bama fan bitterly mocked the Auburn fan and said, "You dummy--I'm tryin' to drag him OUT of the woods, NOT back IN!

Those wacky Bamsters!

MORE SCORN TOMORROW!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

More Senseless, Merciless Taunting of the Opponent!

I know the Alabama fans can't stand to see such a withering barrage of finely honed wit directed against them, but it is my small way of crushing their spirits so that they completely lose the will to fight come Saturday! So THERE!

First up:

Did you hear about the terrible fire that destroyed the Alabama football dorm? The players tried to call 911, but no one could find 11 on the phone.

What a bunch of idjits! Next up:

Why was the Alabama player so happy?

He found out his AM radio would work at night, too!

And finally, since I know they cannot stand much more in a single day, this:

Two Alabama players boarded an airplane for a quick shuttle flight, with one sitting beside the window, and the other in the middle seat.

Much to their disgust, just before take-off an Auburn player got on and took the aisle seat next to the two 'Bama boys.

The Auburn player, making himself at home, kicked off his shoes, wiggled his toes, and was settling in when the Tider in the window seat said, "I think I'll get up and get a Coke."

Trying to be nice (since he was sharing a row of seats with them and was sitting on the aisle) the Tiger player politely said, "No problem, I'll get it for you." As he made his way back to the galley, with a sly grin one of the Alabama players quickly grabbed up one of the Auburn player's shoes and spit right in it!

When the Plainsman returned with the drink, the other Alabama player said, "That looks good, I think I'll have one, too!"

Again, the unsuspecting Auburn player obligingly went to fetch the Coke, and while he was gone, his other shoe was picked up and given the spit treatment.

The Tiger returned and they all sat back and enjoyed the remainder of the short flight, with the Alabama players basking in smugness at their clever prank.

As the plane was landing, the Auburn boy slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened.

"How long must this go on?" he lamented. "This fighting between our schools and teams!? This hatred!? This animosity!? This spitting in shoes and peeing in Cokes!?"

Heheee.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:21 PM | Comments (2)

November 13, 2006

Time once more for Mean-Spirited Taunting of the Opponent!

Yes, I know you've all been waiting for it! The week people all over the globe have come to enjoy as Iron Bowl Week, meaning that for this entire week we will engage in merciless, mean-spirited taunting of the silly persons who cheer for the Crimson Tide! Now then, to get us warmed up, a couple of oldies but goodies:

Earlier this year, the Alabama team bus was going to the airport so they could go on their trip to play the University of Hawaii, but they turned around and went home instead.

Why?

Because the bus driver saw the sign that said "Airport Left."

Heh--silly UA people!

Next, up:

Two 'Bama football players went hunting, and got into a heated argument about what they'd found.

"Naw, them's DEER tracks I tell you!" said one.

"They is NOT! Them's MOOSE tracks you ignoramus!" shouted the other. They continue to argue back and forth, all the way up until the time the train hit them.

Take THAT, you goofy bunch of elephant-mascotted nitwits!

::sticks out tongue::

And you'll get more of that tomorrow, and every other day this week, so just get used to it!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2006

AND Speaking of Football...

...I ALSO have to go ahead today and give you the Super Duper Possumblog Sports Center Presentation that was scheduled for tomorrow!

Making it a day earlier like this is BOUND to make it less accurate when it comes time to predict the score, but you're just gonna have to deal with it.

MUCH LIKE YOUR BELOVED AUBURN TIGERS will have to deal with yet another bunch of ugly slobbering bulldogs this weekend as they invite The University of Georgia to the Plains in order to beat upon them and squirt them with garden hoses!

Yes, that's right--The Deep South's Oldest Rivalrytm heads into its 110th episode Saturday with a Tiger team seeming to be a bit put out with itself as it has struggled with miscues and bobbles, even as it has worked its way to a darned-fine-in-anyone's-book 9-1 season. The frustrations of last week's win over the Arkansastate Indians might finally be a signal to the Plainsmen that it's time to fix what needs fixing, and start playing like the good strong team they are.

Defensively, there's not much more they can do, but offensively there has to be more lightning than just being able to march up and down betwixt the 20s. Thankfully, most everyone is healthyish, so with some effort and concentration from the younger players and some hiney-chewing by the coaching staff, this might be the week when things all work together.

And they'll need all they can get, because the Dogs, although seeming to struggle with a 6-4 record (3-4 SEC) and wondering how they could lose to both Vanderbilt AND Kentucky in the same season, are still a fundamentally sound team, with the ability to beat the living daylights out of anyone if THEY are working at full speed. The question is if they'll be able to gather up the necessary gumption to come into Jordan-Hare and lay it out there. I think they probably will--this is a chance for them to get some redemption after their embarrassments and Auburn is their last conference game (their last game of the season being against in-state rival Georgia Tech), and so I think they'll be screwed together pretty tightly.

Will it matter? I don't think so. They've got a young--if talented--QB and Auburn has demonstrated they know how to deal with such things pretty well. And, let's face it--no matter how good they CAN be, they haven't been good when they NEEDED to be. The only thing is that Auburn's offense has also suffered greatly at the hands of opposing defenders, which sounds at though this one has the potential to be another tight, low-scoring affair similar to the LSU game. History is also on the side of a close contest, so it very well could go that way.

UNLESS the aforementioned efforts at meanness by the coaching staff have been taken to heart by the Gentlemen in Orange. If the Tiger offense can get going, it could be an ugly one for the Bulldogs. But that's only fair since bulldogs are ugly themselves. And slobbery.

As for cheerleaders, this one is just too lame to even worry about. Auburn's website is still lackluster, and Georgia's site is even worse. How these teams manage to win ANY games is just beyond me.

Speaking of team-spirit related things, one item of note is that Auburn's golden eagle Tiger, who has served as War Eagle VI for the past 20 years, will be retiring after Saturday's game.

tiger eagle.jpg


A beautiful sight, even if you're not an Auburn fan.

War Eagle VII will be Nova, a mere pup of a bird at only six years old. Spirit, an 11-year-old bald eagle, also will continue to make pre-game flights. In addition, a new tradition will be started at the Georgia game of releasing fifteen hungry wild tigers into the opposing team's seating section just prior to kickoff. Should be exciting!

ANYWAY, now that we've dispensed with all that circular logic and faulty reasoning, it's time for the part of the show that you've all said is your most favorite! (That is, if anyone ever took the time to write and say so. Lacking that, I'm extrapolating by the absence of hate mail that this is the most favorite feature.) ANYWAY, the PREDICTION OF FINAL SCORE!!

Given my reading of the tea leaves and the shape of my head, I predict the final score will be...








AUBURN 23 -- GEORGIA 17

Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Central, and the game will be "covered" by stations of the Lincoln Financial Sports Network, who remind you of just how bad televised sports can be, and by the Auburn Radio Network.

BUT WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL!!


It's that time again! We've taken this opportunity for the past weeks to salute and highlight the fine scholar-athletes of Auburn University by awarding one deserving and lucky student with the title of Possumblog Student Athlete of the Week, and this week is NO EXCEPTION!

This week's honoree is none other than golfing phenom Mariana Macias, a sophomore International Business major who comes to the Plains from Margarita Salas High School in Madrid, Spain, where apparently all young women are required to look like Penelope Cruz. A Top Tiger in the classroom (maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA), she was also listed on the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll. AND since we've mentioned Tiger, here are Mariana and Tiger having a chat about golf.

macias.jpg

CONGRATULATIONS on this high honor, Mariana, as the PSAotW!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:52 PM | Comments (2)

November 03, 2006

First Hogs, then Indians!

Good morning again, sports fans, it's time once more for Possumblog Sports Center, the World's Best Doggone Internet Sports Show Devoted to Only Talking About One Team and One Sport, and Not Doing A Very Good Job of Either One!

Last week I have no idea what went on since I didn't get to listen to the game, but from what I was able to read, the Old Misses were frighteningly close to staging an upset of the Tigers, even though (for once) Brandon Cox flang the ball with seeming impugnity. Mistakes, miscues, penalties, and an inability to stop U of M big-play plays nearly cost the Plainsmen their hides, but late defensive spine-stiffening finally saved the day. Which just shouldn't have to happen, but it does.

BUT, that is now all safely in the past, and now it's time for 6th ranked Auburn (8-1, 5-1 SEC) to take one final break from conference play to bring in Sunbelt Conference powerhouse, the Indians of Arkansas State University. One certainly hopes that THIS game turns out a bit better than the last Arkansas team the Tigers played.

It is bound to evoke a bit of nostalgia on the part of the Tiger head coach, in that Arkansas State was his first college coaching assignment, but hopefully this will not unduly influence him and make him think he has to take it easy on his former employer, nor let it get so close as it was last week against his immediate past employer.

Despite owning a 5-3 record, it might turn out to be that Arkansas State will be easy pickings for the Tigers, EXCEPT FOR THE FACT that every time I've thought a smaller college would be easy pickings, they decide to pull out all the stops and punch far above their weight classifications. This week could be more of the same, or as we head past this one into the final Tough Two of Georgia and Alabama, the Tigers might decide it's time to get their droppings into a small convenient pile and start playing as a full team, for a full game.

In particular, this means when the offense gets the ball into the red zone, that they actually start scoring some touchdowns, and that the defense will quit making it tough on themselves by giving up so much in the way of middle distance yardage in the air.

Although it's nice to have the kind of depth Auburn has in punting, kicking, and field goal kicking, it's much better as the season comes to a close to be able to punch the ball into the endzone for six points, rather than settling for three--at least not quite so much as they've been doing.

Everyone is healthy, and everyone should get to play a little, barring any unforseen surge of visciousness upon the part of ArkyState.

"BUT!" I hear you scream, "what of that incredible Indian spirit we hear so much about!"

Well, they've got some, but their website (just like Auburn's) needs some work to better display their full measure of their aborginal spirit. I do like the game photos with the feature that gives you multiple sizes, but overall it seems awkward and difficult to access. And they keep showing pictures that have guys in them. Who needs that!?

As usual, Auburn is still lagging behind, and it is a shame and something should be done about it right now, because as I must again remind everyone, we have Georgia and Alabama coming up, and I know their cheerleaders are big and tough and mean.

ANYWAY, enough of that silliness, WHAT ABOUT OUR WEEKLY PREDICTION OF FINAL SCORE?

I have consulted a variety of sources, seers, oracles, shamans, medicine men, and panda chefs, and have come up with what I am certain will be the exact score, which will be...








AUBURN 34 -- ARKANSAS STATE 13

Game time is 1:30 Central at the lovely Jordan-Hare Stadium, upon the equally lovely Pat Dye Field, which is planted with lovely Bo Jackson Sod, and marked with lovely Pat Sullivan White Lines, and bounded by lovely John Heisman Goal Posts. TV is pay per view from your local TV-getting place, and will be broadcast on YOUR Auburn Radio Network.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!


We cannot delay a further second in the important task of recognizing those young athletes who perform as well in the classroom as they do upon the field of competition!

So let us now tarry no longer in announcing our 10th Possumblog Student Athlete of the Week, an honor bestowed upon a worthy athlete who exemplifies scholarly achievement. And it is an honor that has nothing whatsoever to do with said athlete's cuteness level.

Not that it hurts anything, as witnessed by this week's honoress, Claire Seiffert! Miss Seiffert, a 5'-4" sophomore communications major, hales from Louisville, KY, where she held seven consecutive state gymnastics championship titles and was a member of the National Honor Society. Upon coming to Auburn, the blonde dynamo has maintained her academic standing and has been honored at the spring Tiger Torch banquet as a Top Tiger, and is a member of the Cardinal Key Honor Society and the Sigma Lambda Chi Honor Society.

Congratulations, Claire, on being named the PSAotW!!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:36 AM | Comments (4)

October 27, 2006

And now we turn to the greatest of all questions

Why does Ole Miss spell Old as Ole, which to me looks like the Spanish word ol!, instead of spelling it Ol the way it should be spelled?

IT IS A MYSTERY, and one youre guaranteed NOT to see solved on this, the Worlds Most Wildly Inaccurate Sports Show on the Internet, Possumblog Sports Center!

This week our wonderful Auburn Tigers (6-1, 4-1 SEC) head way over to the home of the mint julep swilling Rebels of the University of Missisisspiee (2-6, 1-4 SEC) after winning a workmanlike (some would say yeomanlike, while others would content themselves with competent, or possible proficient) victory over the Tulanesters last weekend.

Although Coach Tuberville is rather much despised in Oxford and any SEC team is a pretty good challenge during the year, about the only way Auburn can travel to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and not come back victorious is to just quit and let Ole Miss win. Missisislpiiieippe does have an SEC-leading running back, and an SEC-leading linebacker, and they have indeed gotten better as they year has worn on, but they just dont have the depth necessary to bring home a win this time. Unless Auburn plays dead--which can happen.

Probably wont, though. The team is still beaten up some, but according to Coach Tuberville. theyre more well physically than theyve been since the first of the season, with Cox finally feeling like his old self and injured center Joe Cope moving back up to backup status after a long lay-off.

As usual, the key to stopping Auburn will be either pressuring Cox with aggressive pass rush, or shutting down the long running game. Teams have managed to slow Auburn down by hitting the line hard, and if they can contain Kenny Irons, they do well enough. If he gets past the line, however, all bets are off. Hes an open-field threat, and now that there are some younger players in the backfield who are proving their talent, the running attack is going to be much more productive. Unless its not--which could happen.

Defensively, the Tigers just have to play ball. Ole Miss doesnt run much complication, but they can do what they do well enough to cause trouble. The Tigers have shown some occasional slack in the middle on running games and have gotten beaten some on the long passes, but again they should be able to have a good game, and I think will have some defensive points scoring as they did in the second half against Florida. Overall it seems to be a matter of having everyone playing at the same time and toward the same end, and this late in the year is a bit too late for everyone to be unsure of where they should be or whom they should cover.

BUT, you interject, what of that one truest test of football abilities!?

A good question, but not that easily answered. Oh, sure, theres some nice photos of the cheerleaders and the Rabblettes, and a nice feature where you can make the photos REALLY big, but I am less than impressed with the number of photos. As is also usual, though, Im not too impressed with Auburns website either. Call it a toss up. Or a herky. Or something.

ANYWHO, it is now that time of the show when we venture forth into the unknown and unknowable, when we edge out onto the ledge, when we peer into the abyss, when we offer forth THIS WEEKS PREDICTION OF FINAL OUTCOME!!

If youre as nervous as I am, you should take something. Ill wait.

Okay, better?

GOOD!


MY PREDICTION IS:






AUBURN 34 -- MISSISSIPPI 10

Kickoff will be another early one at 11:30 a.m. Central, with coverage provided by the wretched Lincoln Sports Network, and by your Auburn Radio Network.


BUT WAIT, THATS NOT ALL!!



Yes, its time to make certain that we name our next Possumblog Student Athlete of the Week, so that we can ensure our smart and brainy and thoughty athletes get as much recognition as they deserve. This week we take a look at an athlete who plays the OTHER football (which I hesitate to dignify with that name since it creates confusion as to the REAL football) but nevertheless, it is a somewhat clever way to introduce you to sophomore forward Kara Kasten.


A native of Roswell, Georgia, Kara is a Top Tiger in the classrooms on the Plains, and comes to Auburn from Blessed Trinity Catholic where she graduated summa cum laude. An undeclared liberal arts major, Kara enters her second of what will surely be another highly productive year on the soccer pitch. In her first year, the robust 5ft-5in blonde was one of only two freshman to play in all 21 games, and she started in 10 of them. Of all her stellar qualities, possibly the finest one is her unashamed admission that she eats chocolate donuts and three slices of bacon every morning. Now thats my type of scholar-athlete!

So we congratulate Kara Kasten as our newest PSAotW!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:17 AM | Comments (6)

October 20, 2006

Is that the surf I hear?!

Maybe!

Let's swing open the barn door and kickoff this week's episode of Possumblog Sports Center and find out!

The almost-undefeated, 8th-ranked Tigers of Auburn University (#4 BCS, 6-1 overall, 4-1 SEC) return to the verdant Plains this week after hosting last week's whim-doozy, action-packed, night-and-day, Jeckyl-and-Hyde, yin-yang, chocolate in my peanut butter, 27-17 victory over the Florida Gators. For once, I'm glad this is the Most Inaccurate Sports Show on the Internet, as I had predicted only a one-point victory, and they managed to give me 10.

BUT THE OUTCOME WAS NOT SO CLEAR during a lackluster first half of play. The second half, though, sir! THAT was the way Auburn can play, and should play. I realize the offense didn't score any touchdowns, but neither did they give up. They were able to move the ball, and they finally did start blocking. Still far too many sacks of po' ol' cripple Brandon Cox, but after that half-time come-to-Jesus meeting the coaches had, the boys seem to have regained their focus.

WHICH MIGHT JUST BE WASHED AWAY by the Green Wave of Tulane!

Believe it or not, in the 36 times the two opponents have met, Tulane has bettered Auburn 17 times, and the last time they played, the Tigers got drowneded by a score of 27-13! The date of that game?

October 29, 1955.

Yep, it's been 51 years since the two schools met to contest control of the prolate spheroid of porcine epidermis, even longer than it's been since Auburn won a national championship, and much has changed in that time. Helmets have face masks, there are no more tie games, there's instant replay referreeing, and Auburn has growed like Topsy. Tulane is a fine school, but one that is still devoted to educating doctors and lawyers rather than ballplay, and at about half the enrollment of AU, and the fact that this is Homecoming, you pretty much have to figure they now find themselves at a disadvantage.

Then again, you might be wrong.

As is so often the case, smaller colleges want to knock off the big guy, and sometimes the big guy is looking beyond to something on down the road, especially if he just got through playing a tough game against a more sizable opponent. Auburn seems to be especially fond of playing like this, as witnessed by the closer-than-the-score-indicated game against Buffalo. The Buffs came to play, and I think the Wave will likewise step onto Pat Dye Field looking for some redemption from an otherwise lackluster season.

And they might do it, at least for a play or two.

But Auburn is too heavy with talent, and those talents finally seem to be coming to life and realizing that they must play every game with the same intensity that they played in the second half against Florida. The final score might not be that high, because as was the plan with Buffalo, Coach Tuberville will be wanting to swap in some second and third stringers so they can get some playing time, but those boys will be working just as hard as the starters.

As with the rest of the season, the defense and special teams have toted the load, and they should do so again tomorrow, although the kicking and punting squads probably won't be required to score as many points this time. I still am mystified as to the reason the offensive front seems so porous, but QB Cox has been called out a couple of times by Tuberville for holding onto the ball a bit too long trying to make things happen. Unfortunately, the thing happening more often than not is him looking at a faceful of turf and trying to hold onto the ball. Still, if they play like they have the potential of playing, look for a lot of Kenny Irons touchdowns.

Bright spots for Tulane? Well, Tulane does have cheerleaders, and they have a lot of interesting things to say on their (sorry, but highly unattractive and kludgy and slow-loading) website. I will say that several of the guys seem a bit preoccupied with being pirates or ninjas together. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it's another reason why guys need to just sorta be in the background.

Can't complain too much, though, as the AU cheer site is still highly ungood. ::sigh:: Thank goodness the Tiger Paws have updated theirs! THAT'S THE SPIRIT!!

SO THEN, having exhaustively looked at all the angles and theories, we wind up here and get ready to produce the Prediction of Final Outcome! After consulting the Book of Facts and Figures and staring mindlessly at a pile of pencil shavings in the trash, I am now prepared to say that the final score will be....


AUBURN 42 -- TULANE 3

Game time is 1:30 p.m. Central, with coverage via YOUR Auburn Radio Network.

BUT WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL!!


Surely you know that we cannot let another moment go by without taking a moment to honor those athletes who compete just as hard in the classroom as they do on the field of play! That's right--time for Week 7 of The Possumblog Student Athlete of the Week.

As a resident of Trussville, I know all of us are excited whenever we get to hear Brandon Cox's name called out, since he is a hometown boy and went to school at Hewitt-Trussville High, where, just as at Auburn, he excelled in the classroom and on the football field.

BUT, he's not the ONLY rough-and-tumble H-T Husky to go on to bigger and better things in the Loveliest Village! Today we honor ANOTHER stout Trussvillite, Jennifer Jordan, a petite 21 year old junior Animal and Dairy Science major who competes on the Varsity Equestrian National Championship team in the hunt seat event. A Top Tiger in the '04-'05 season (for her community service work), she is also listed on the SEC Spring Honor Roll, and judging by her current bio, something of a fan of Nietzsche. Which is a slight change from her freshman bio, when she was more of a Van Zantian.

SO CONGRATULATIONS, Jennifer, on being the PSAotW!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:51 AM | Comments (4)

October 13, 2006

Hello Again, Sports Fanatics!

Its once again time for the Least Accurate Sports Show on the Net, Possumblog Sports Center!

Everyones favorite team, the beloved Auburn Tigers succumbed last Saturday to a pummeling beating of a smackdown, complete with a whupping on top of a thrashing, falling to the still-ugly-feral-hog Arkansans by a score of 28-10. You will notice that this is very close--at least inversely--to my predicted score of AU 31 -- UofA 12. I have decided there must be a glitch of some sort in my score predicting machinery, which we hope will be corrected soon.

IN THE MEAN TIME, the 11th ranked Plainsmen (5-1, 3-1 SEC) will once again be the hosts this week, inviting into Jordan-Hare Stadium a bunch of unattractive, antediluvian reptiles, who just happen to have taken over the #2 spot Auburn had held, and who just so happen to be undefeated in the SEC, and everywhere else, for that matter.

As usual, theres more than just a meeting of the minds in this game, as the Auburn-Florida rivalry is Auburn's third-longest, with Saturdays contest marking the 81st time the schools have knocked heads since the first game in 1912. The only teams that Auburn has played more than Florida are Georgia (109 games) and Georgia Tech (92).

Oddly enough, last week Auburn was actually favored to beat the pesky crocodilians, although the bookies and other shady persons now think Florida has the advantage. BUT HOW COULD THEY!? Just because theyve got tremendous arm/leg power from a brace of quarterbacks and momentum and, lets face it, Satanic powers that are best left unmentioned. Defensively, theyre as big and strong and fast as Auburn (although Auburn hid this from everyone in playing the Hogs) which could spell a tremendous amount of trouble for Auburns struggling offensive line.

One thing I did note as being crucial last week to victory was pass protection for Cox and keeping the Kenny Irons option alive--both of which proved to be the Tigers undoing. Coaching, coaching, coaching--no more freshman mistakes, no more holding (that is visible to the referees), no more missed snap counts, no more missed blocks, no more dropped balls. Mistakes of a simple and picayune nature have done more to harm the team so far than just about anything else.

Can Florida be beaten? Of course--but it will take them laying down and allowing it to happen. There are vanishingly few teams right now who could flat out whip them in a heads-up game (and that includes the teams on either side of them in the polls), but as with anything else, a variety of factors can mess things up. One thing is weather--its going to be chilly, and you know how cold-blooded animals get when its cold outside. Second is the home-field advantage, which was useless against Arkansas, but could nonetheless still be a factor if things begin to fall apart for the Gators.

Which leads, inexorably, to the issue of school spirit, which in turn leads to those things known as cheerleaders. Auburn may be catching a break this week--although our own, rarely-updated cheerleading site has been a source of constant harping from certain quarters (and certain marsupials) the UFla website is even more sparse of spirit. Ive always thought that if teams would spend just a fraction of the amount of time making websites with pretty girls in chenille sweaters and bobby socks and saddle oxfords that they spend to make websites for their pretty-boy head coaches, every team would be undefeated. Then again, maybe thats just me.

NOW THEN, what you've all been waiting for, the FEARLESS PROGNOSTICATION!

This is made much more difficult by having to eat crow with all of that egg on my face from the immediate past effort, but I will once again bravely launch forth and say the final score will be...


AUBURN 14 -- FLORIDA 13

Now THAT'S a long shot!

Game time is at 6:45 p.m. Central, with teevee coverage on Evil, Sports Puddinhead Network and radio coverage on your Auburn Radio Network.

BUT WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL!!

Yes, it's time to loudly trumpet our scholarly student athletes, with this week's version of the Possumblog Student Athlete of the Week!

This week we once again take a dip in the pool to fish out a 5'-5" sophomore by the name of Julianne McLane. The pre-nursing major is a native of Concord, California and graduate of Carondolet High. In addition to having a stunning smile, she is a middle distance freestyle and backstroke competitor on the NCAA National Championship swimming and diving team, and according to last season's media guide (.pdf) she says her best non-athletic talent is flower arranging, and the most famous person she has met is Dr. John York, co-owner of San Francisco 49ers. IN ADDITION, for continuing to hold at least a 3.0 GPA, she was honored at the Spring Tiger Torch banquet.

CONGRATULATIONS, Julianne, as the sixth PSAotW!!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2006

GOOD AFTERNOON, SPORTS FANS!

Well, time to fire up the ol’ RV, unfurl the flags, and get ready for a barbecue this week as the Porcine Pests of Fayetteville come squealing into Tigertown for a good ol’ fashioned game of football!

The 2nd or 3rd ranked Tigers of Auburn (5-0 overall, 3-0 SEC) have had a few more days off than usual due to their Thursday outing against the University of Spurrier Carolina last week, giving them some much needed time to recover. Still feeling the pounding administered by LSU has hampered both the offense and defense in the SC and in the Buffalo game, but Tuberville’s tune is that most everyone is back up to full strength. (And, of course, they do have the added security of being able to rely upon the World's Most Expensive Laptop Computer.)

Before we get started, though, I would also like to take this opportunity to politely ask our fellow Tigers down in the Bayou to wallop Florida with as much vigor as you expended on us, seeing as how they’re up next on our schedule. To do any less would not be gentlemanly.

Arkansas (3-1, 2-0 SEC) will be a challenge but one that can be overcome. After Coach Superior picked apart Auburn’s defense last week, I cannot imagine that changes were not made and holes closed up to prevent a repetition of such porousness. The good thing is that even had no changes been made, the Arkie O-team would not been nearly so effective at picking apart the pass coverage as SC was. This week, they should be even less able. Look for few points from the Razorbacks.

ON the other side of the ball, though, the Hog defense is quite strong, and as with everyone else the Plainsmen have met this year, they will probably go whole-hog (so to speak) in trying to exploit two things--weak pass protection, and shutting off Kenny Irons’ escape routes. The fact that Auburn has been able to win against teams who have done this is a combination of luck and good fortune, with a healthy dollop of providence, and some more luck thrown in for good measure. One hopes that the coaching staff has worked with the offensive line over the past week to ensure everyone knows his assignments and can fulfill them, or else you’re going to see another game with only a few Blue’n’Orange points.

Auburn’s (not so) secret weapon in each of their games so far has been exemplary special teams play--the onside kick last week against the Gamecocks is just the type of thing that keeps things exciting and opposing teams off-balance. Add to this solid performance on fundamentals such as punting, field goals, and kickoff returns, and you’ve got a group who make a good team great.

Arkansas’seses’ secret weapon(s)? A Red and a White cheerleading squad, and a Red and a White pompon squad! Although I must reiterate I have an aversion to any set of girls who need to drag a razor down their backs, all of the young ladies on these squads do seem to be much less hirsute than would be suggested by their nickname, and none have razor sharp tusks, nor curly tails. That are evident. Now, if they could only get rid of all those hairybacked guys, it might make up for the lack of individual team member photos. Nice sets of gameday photos, though, which AGAIN is something our own Tigers seem not to have mastered yet. For some reason.

As is too often the case, I think I have to give a slight edge in this category to the Slopeaters, with the hope that being outclassed in this aspect of the game will make the Tigers fight even harder to defend their honor. Or not. Never can tell.

ALTHOUGH THAT DOES NOT STOP ME FROM FEARLESSLY PREDICTING THE FINAL OUTCOME!

Following my deadly-accurate prognostication from last week, I will boldly spout off my prediction for this contest with full confidence that it will be just as prescient as last week’s. If not, I intend to blame global warming.

Without further ado, I predict the score will be…






AUBURN 31 -- ARKANSAS 12

Game time tomorrow begins at 11 o’ the clock Central Time from lovely Jordan-Hare Stadium on the Auburn campus, with live television coverage provided by CBS and their highly paid play-by-play ignoramus team of Bolerjack and Buerlein. Thank heavens for the mute button.

BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL!


As you know, we would be remiss in not taking time out from football in order to honor the hardy scholars who not only compete well on the field, but also in the classroom. We do this by naming one lucky person as the Possumblog Student Athlete of the Week!

This high honor, eagerly sought by perhaps every athlete at Auburn, serves to show that the joy of both sport and education are equally beneficial to a person. Or something.

IN ANY EVENT, this week’s PSAotW is none other than the petite Montgomery-born redhead Becca Bell. Miss Bell and her red hair compete as part of the NCAA National Championship track team (at a height of 5’-2”) and on the cross country squad (at a height of 5’-3”).

A junior pre-pharmacy major, she is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Phi Sigma Pi Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, was named to the SEC Spring 2006 Honor Roll and was honored at the Tiger Torch banquet in April for her high GPA.

Congratulations Becca Bell, and keep up the smartness!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2006

Okay, when it's funny, it's funny.

Even when it's The Onion, which despite not being all that funny now, has a long history of funniosity. And apparently has a closeted Alabama fan in the editorial department.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2006

That's just plumb weird.

Man charged with stealing Auburn laptop from Columbia hotel

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A 53-year-old homeless man is charged with stealing a laptop that belonged to the Auburn's football team and had the team's game plan.

Apparently wanting to gain some advantage over Willy the Wino's tough bunch of urban campers. Or something.

Authorities in Columbia, South Carolina, say Michael Stockman was arrested yesterday and charged with grand larceny after a resident recognized him from surveillance video aired on television and called 9-1-1.

The laptop was stolen last week from the Columbia Plaza Hotel, where the Tigers were staying. It was taken from the offensive meeting room following dinner on the eve of the Tigers' 24-to-17 victory over South Carolina.

So, does the Columbia Plaza usually have such a high traffic by homeless guys that this one didn't manage to arouse any suspicion? But talking about suspicious...

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said the laptop is worth $15,000.

FIFTEEN K for a LAPTOP? Was it made of solid gold? No WONDER the stupid thing got lifted!

I think if I had a $15,000 laptop, I would make sure it had a full-time guard carrying it around like the US nuclear launch codes. Better yet, I think I would explore using a three-ring binder and a little chalkboard.

Richland County Sheriff's spokesman Lieutenant Chris Cowan says Stockman did not know the laptop belonged to the Tigers.

Uhmm--and it would have mattered how, exactly? And seems like the lurid orange-and-blue stripes and the Tiger Eye logo would have been a clue.

Authorities are still searching for a second man caught on surveillance tape.

I bet he's the guy that got away with the $3,000 battery charger and the $900 printer cable.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:53 AM | Comments (4)

September 28, 2006

What’s This!?

Why are all the studio lights glaring, and the music playing, and all these harried production people scurrying about on a Thursday!?

Because we’ve got a special Thursday Edition of Possumblog Sports Center, that’s why!

And why is that?

Because the still undefeated Auburn Tigers (4-0, 2-0 SEC) will be traveling into the heart of angry yardbird territory tonight to take on Steve Spurrier’s latest client, the University of South Carolina (3-1, 1-1 SEC), that’s why, and YOU need all the information you can get!

And why come to Possumblog Sports Center for that information?

It is a mystery.

BUT YOU’RE HERE NOW, so let’s sit back and take a look at what all is going to happen tonight. In order to do that, it might be good to look back a few days to this past Saturday, when I was once again proven incredibly wrong about the Plainsmen, in that I figured they would ride the Buffalo Bulls-not-Bills into the ground during the first quarter. BUT IT WAS NOT TO BE--buffalo being much larger and more recalcitrant than one might have been led to believe, they managed a very spirited offense and defense throughout the first half of the game. Auburn did come alive in the second half to make the Bulls into buffalosers to the tune of 38-7, but some debilities are beginning to show up with the men of Alabama Polytech.

Offensively, it was bland, but that can be attributed to a slow day passing with a crippled Brandon Cox at QB, and a benched Kenny Irons on the rushing side. It can also be attributed to something much more pernicious--let me say this, it’s one thing for LSU to be able to blitz and score a bunch of sacks, QUITE ANOTHER for Buffalo to be able to do pretty much the same thing. Were I Satan or his evil henchman Coach Spurrier, I would blitz every pass play.

Defensively, the Tigers are still strong and can’t be faulted--in fact, they might be a bit too good in one area. Quickness. They are incredible agile and quick to pursue, but they can be fooled into pursuing the wrong thing, quickly. Sometimes it can help to have a couple of options of what to do or where to go so you don’t get too far gone from the ball. Another thing is aggressive coverage downfield. Lots of bumping and shoving down there, which has its place, but it wouldn’t be nearly so necessary if the deep backs in coverage were better able to read receivers. Again, were I Super Steve, I’d be flinging lots of long passes, hoping for either miracle catches or the inevitable pass interference calls.

On the other hand, South Carolina has had a few problems of its own, and of a worser sort--barely beating Mississsiisispsiii State, getting beaten by Georgia, and then struggling to hang on to a 27-20 win over the mighty Wofford Terriers. They’re a better team than that, with better coaching. I have a feeling that will become evident when the first kickoff thumps into the air of Williams-Brice Stadium. The 45-6 victory over Florida Atlantic of the past week was notable since it is a better indicator of their potential, even if it was demonstrated on the likes of FlaAtl. Auburn, remember, could have nipped Buffalo in a similar manner--in theory.

“BUT!”, you say. Or ask. Or interject. Or exclaim. “But, what about the thing that is the surest indicator of success in a big-time college football program!?”

Well, let’s just say that there is one USC who knows how to highlight its cheerleading squad, and one that doesn’t. Sad, but no current pictures of any South Carolina games this year, and a very weak grasp of the whole idea of individual profiles.

And lest we forget--their mascot is a chicken named Cocky. Despite all the potential for causing all the blue-haired bluenoses to faint dead away by embracing all the double-entendre laden possibilities of such a mascot, in the end, it’s just a silly looking chicken. Look, if you’re gonna have a gamecock named Cocky, at least try to make him a little bit more hip--I would think someone more along the lines of Allan-a-Dale, as voiced by the dulcet-toned (and quite late) Roger Miller in Disney’s Robin Hood. Now THAT chicken was one cool cat! (Musicians, you know.)

I can’t be too hard on them, though, because the Tigers own website was only just recently updated with a few more pictures, and they continue to be marred by the inclusion of guys. But at least we have a cool mascot. And live eagles, which can swoop down and eat chickens like, well, like an eagle eating chickens. So I figure we win this contest.

AS FOR THE CONTEST ON THE GRIDIRON--This is going to be a hard one--SC will have home field advantage and the horned-and-leathery-winged spawn of Belial pacing the sidelines wearing headphones. I will throw my special sheep knuckle bones and now predict the final score to be…



AUBURN 24 -- SOUTH CAROLINA 17


Kickoff will be around 6:30ish Central, with television coverage by ESPN, meaning I won’t get to watch it. Which is fine, because My Name is Earl and The Office will both be on, and I can watch them while listening to the play-by-play on the radio.

BUT WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL!!

Not a week can go by that we do not stop to honor Auburn's fine student athletes by awarding ONE lucky person the Possumblog Student Athlete of the Week!

This week we celebrate the braininess and sportliness of one Alicia Lenkiewicz, a 5ft-4in freshman on the gymnastics team. A native of the land of California, Alicia is starting out at Auburn in the math/science field and has already done well enough to be honored at the April Tiger Torch banquet for her classroom performance. In addition to her scholarship, she is also apparently a demon on the various equipage, as this article (with winsome photo) notes: "Lenkiewicz is one of the few female gymnasts that [sic] competes [sic] a Wyler kip, a men's high bar skill, on uneven bars. This E-level skill combined with a double front dismount makes for a unique and difficult routine that is sure to be one of the Tigers [sic] top uneven bar scores when the season begins in January 2006."

Mighty darned impressive! So we congratulate Leigh as the 5th PSAotW!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:10 AM | Comments (8)

September 22, 2006

Mmmmm--BUFFALO WINGS!!

Break out the hot sauce and bleu cheese, it's time once again for POSSUMBLOG SPORTS CENTER!

The battered and fried #2(or #3, or #9 in the BSC rankings)-ranked Tigers (2-0 SEC, 3-0 overall) return to Jordan-Hare stadium this week after just barely escaping last week's intense defensive struggle against a rowdy band of Ragin' Cajuns.

Although the game was marred by two umpiratorial shillybobs (which were later upheld by an SEC review committee), it was still a tremendously hard-hitting game by two equally matched schools.

The one beef I have with the AU offensive line was that it allowed way too many sacks this past week, and Brandon Cox very nearly wound up off to the showers with a hurt leg from one too many blitzes.

Something to work on.

And poor ol' John Vaughn--still fighting that 'Other Tiger' mojo, cranked another one into the upright. But, as one of his teammates told him, he'll never miss another one against LSU ever again. He should be fine for the rest of the season. No complaints about that mauling defense, or the punting game, though--still doing yeoman's duty at shutting down all comers.

A good, hard-fought game, even if it did make my predictatory skills look embarrassingly lame in retrospect.

IS IT TIME TO REST THIS WEEK?

NO WAY!--What with the unprecedented move of having to play against the second place team in the AFC East Division, the Buffalo Bills! I can't remember Auburn playing an NFL team before, but just like the LSU game, it should be a whim-doozy of a match up. Now, Buffalo might have lost 3 of 4 of their preseason games, and be 1-1 in regular season play, but you have to remember the loss came to a very strong New England Patriots team who are sitting with a 2 in the power rankings right now.

And to make it even BETTER--the NFL knows how to do cheerleading. The Buffalo Jills (how cute!) have a very strong lineup and their squad page is full of all kinds of photos and statistics and white go-go boots!

So quite an exciting time--er, hold on a minute, let me get that phone.

Possumblog Sports Center!

Mmhm.

Really, now.

It's not?

There's two?

Well, that can't be right. Are you sure?!

Hmm.

Okay, well you're sure it IS in New York, right?

And it's not some high school team, either, right?

Sheesh.

Uhhhh, sorry about that, folks. And all that stuff about the Bills and Jills and stuff? Never mind.

Seems the Tigers will be taking on the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Well, it IS the first time we've played them, although we have played and defeated five other teams from the powerhousey Mid-American Conference over the years.

Coach Tuberville doesn't seem to discount their abilities, however, and vows that QB Cox will play. Which is good--every opponent is a serious one, and nothing feels better to a team like Buffalo than defeating someone you're not supposed to beat, such as, say, Auburn. As Coach noted,

[...] we are not a 'rolling ball of butcher knives' right now on offense. So we have to get better at running, throwing and blocking; all of it. We are not going to be able to do what we would like to do if we don't get better on offense. You don't get better without practicing or playing. [...]

Rollin' ball of butcher knives, indeed.

So, despite the lure of going easy, don't look for the Buffs to be shown any mercy on Saturday.

At least they do have cheerleaders.

Nonetheless, my PREDICTION OF FINAL OUTCOME looks like...




AUBURN 54 -- BUFFALO 7

Kickoff will be at 1:30 CT, with coverage via the Internets and on your Auburn Radio Network affiliates. AND A WORD ABOUT THAT--I sure would be tickled if WYSF here in Birmingham would do away with their delay on games that are televised. Especially after last week's stupidfest from the See B.S. broadcasters, I would dearly have wanted to mute the idiot box and just listen on the radio. But a five or ten second delay is too disconcerting to figure out--the play's over while the announcers are still announciating. So, please--do it for people like me.

You know, morons.

BUT WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL!


It's time to name our 4th Possumblog Student Athlete of the Week!

But before we get to that, I feel I must address some concerns that have been voiced. It has been pointed out that every PSAotW has been a very tall, very attractive, very female, girl.

I do not have any idea why anyone would make a statement like this, and frankly I find it hurtful and demeaning that anyone would think me so shallow. But enough about me, on to our honoree of the week.

This week the award goes to the Tiger's striking (so to speak) Jorja Bell, a 6'-0" brunette who will be playing her first season (after sitting out 2005) at catcher on the very strong women's softball team.

Jorja, whose name I believe is pronounced 'Georgia Belle,' is from the Deep Deep South, namely Auckland, New Zealand. In that odd corner of the globe, she attended Epsom Girls Grammar School, and played on the Aukland U-17 and U-19 regional softball teams that won championships in 2002 and 2003.

Jorja is a junior this year and was named to the 2006 SEC Softball Good Works Team, and has been named to the SEC Honor Roll.

I never knew softball was so big in Kiwiland, and Jorja is something of a hometown celebrity due to her being whisked off to the wilds of Alabama to play her college ball. The Zealanders have a nice website for players off to other parts of the world, and Jorja has kept them filled in on the exotic world of Lee County. (Although she does need to do an update.)Nice photos, too--I apologize (or "apologise" for all you people who spell in English) but I simply had to steal one of them.

THIS is what a ball player should look like, folks:

training.jpg

Of course, it helps if they also look like this without the dirt:

Jorja.jpg


SO, there you go!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:30 AM | Comments (2)

September 15, 2006

"Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright..."

Good morning, football fanatics! Once more the mighty oaken doors of Possumblog Sports Center are kicked open for yet another round of our weekly commentary on the virtues of the glorious Auburn Tigers!

This week the #3 ranked Plainsmen (2-0, 1-0 SEC) come back home to the Loveliest Village after sojourning to Starkville to silence a cowbell convention, which they did convincingly to the tune of 34-0.

Despite the Tigers looking quite fit overall, there have been a few scriveners in various media outlets who have expressed worry that the Bulldogs were able to lock down the Tiger running game so well. I am still not convinced that it was necessarily all due to the efforts of the Mississsippians, however.

Maybe I've just heard too much from the conspiracy mongering folks living down in the fever swamp, but I have feeling ol' Coach Tub might have been sandbagging a bit. I think the staff knew Miss State was going to concentrate on Kenny Irons, and went ahead and let them (and everyone else who might go by the initials of LSU) think they really had slowed him down. The stats certainly don't lie, do they? Now, it's not that Auburn wouldn't have wanted to run more yards, or that Mississippie State wasn't physical, but maybe there was the sense that it wasn't worth worrying too much about, and maybe the coaches had a sense that the pass game needed a workout, and the running backs needed to stay healthy for our guests from Baton Rouge.

Grist for the mill, I suppose.

Anyway, the Tigers looked balanced, and practiced, and poised, and made very few mistakes.

WHICH WILL BE CRUCIAL THIS WEEK--seeing as how our SEC Championship Hope-Dashing Opponents from the Bayooo will come calling.

This has gotten to be a big ticket over the years. Obviously it's not the Alabama game, which around here counts for everything, and it's not the Georgia game, which is the South's Oldest Rivalry, but the fact is that whoever wins this contest has had a way of winding up as SEC champion, and by extension, a contender for the not-quite-mythical national championship. So while there are other regional games of similar intensity, there is nothing else right now that matches it in national implication.

Therefore, I am predicting (along with everyone else) that this is going to be a good one amongst a host of good ones this weekend.

LSU is flashy hot right now, with lots of points scored against Lou-Lafayette (big deal) and Arizona (better, but still not quite all that), while Auburn has been much more staid and workmanlike in its two outings. All the various people who know things are predicting yet another titanic struggle this year--another nail-biting single digit win by one side or another, but for once, I'm going to go way out on a limb here.

I say Auburn is going to startle everyone with a wide-open passing attack throughout the game, and not just on 3rd and long. I predict you'll see every possible short and long route they have, and you'll see them on 1st downs just as much as on 3rd. NOT ONLY THAT, you are going to see a whole 'nother running game, as well--no three yards and a cloud of dust stuff, but some wild wacky stuff. Why? I think it goes against what everyone is expecting, and it jibes with my thoughts that the Blue and Orange Tigers have been deliberately conservative to now. On defense, they've been strong and solid, and I don't think they'll give anything up to LSU, BUT, I think LSU is going to continue what they've been doing. This will theoretically make them easier to plan against--they're already doing exciting stuff, so if you know how to stop that, what are they gonna do, go conservative? Nah. If the Blue can hold on defense, I think you're gonna see something not seen in a while. A blowout. Yep. You heard it here first. BUT MORE ABOUT THAT LATER...

Right now, it's time to discuss one of the best secrets to top team performance, and for once, we find an opponent who seems to have even less consideration for the young ladies in its valiant young cheerleading corps than we do. Although our computing department has let us down once more by not bringing us the very newest photos of our brave cheersters, we still have an edge on the Bayou Bengals. One plain ol' team photo is it, folks. Sheesh.

Now, some might say that this oversight by the Cajuns is MORE than made up for by the Golden Girls, who don't have a Bea Arthur or Estelle Getty anywhere. It would be hard to argue that point.

Still, I have to give this one to the home team.

AND AS FOR THAT SCORE PREDICTION--as I said, I'm in a limb-going-out-on mood this week, and feel like it's going to be quite a zingy show for the host team. My prediction this week then is...








AUBURN 30 -- LSU 13

That might not sound like a blowout, but given the recent past history of the series, that's a LOT of distance between winner and loser. IF IT DOESN'T TURN OUT THIS WAY, I can still guarantee you that this is going to be a super game, and I can say that even if the unthinkable should happen and LSU manages to make us run out of time. If you can watch it or listen to it, it would be worth it because it'll be a whim-doozy no matter what.

Kickoff 2:30 Saturday from Jordan-Hare Stadium, with television coverage provided by Katie Couric.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

Surely to GOODNESS you don't think I'd let you leave without first honoring our third POSSUMBLOG STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK!

This week the arrow of fate points to Rachel Shanks, a long-shanked 5'-10" volleyballer. Miss Shanks is a junior pharmacy student, and plays as an outside hitter.

Haling from the lovely town of Madison, Alabama, she attended Bob Jones High, and in addition to having some good heightiness to her, she also has a brainy head up at the very top of her muscular shoulders, with a place in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and was named the COSAM Outstanding Freshman.

SO, congratulations to Rachel as this week's PSAotW!

AND THAT'S STILL NOT ALL!! For all you poetry and tiger lovers...

THE TYGER
By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:00 AM | Comments (4)

September 08, 2006

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN!

Possumblog Sports Center opens its doors once again to bring you the finest in Auburn Tiger football coverage!*

As shouts of “War Eagle!” roll across the Plains, the Tigers--refreshed from a 40-14 scrap with some team from out West--will travel to the barren desolation of Starkville this weekend to contest with the ugly slobbering Bulldogs of Mississippi State.

No, it’s not enough that the handsome and sleek Tigers must play the OTHER Bulldogs from over in Athens, Georgia, we’re also forced to deal with this bunch as well.

Well, fine then.

At least they ARE an SEC school--even the worst SEC team is still a powerhouse compared to just about any other team in the country.**

Auburn’s performance this past weekend against Washington State does give one pause, however, in that although the score seems lopsided, it must be remembered that WSU managed to score two touchdowns against Auburn, and further, Auburn had to kick FOUR field goals.

WashState’s lack of depth eventually caught up with them, but if Auburn’s offensive line is not able to help punch home scores within the 20, and the defense is not able to adequately stop even a weak offense from out-juking it, Saturday’s contest with Miss. St. is going to turn out to be a very long one indeed. Bright spots abounded, however--especially when considering the Tigers still seem to be quite sack-hungry this year, witnessed by downing Wash. State’s QB four times.

Although the ‘Dogs lost to Steve Spurrier’s*** Gamecocks this past weekend, the score was a very tight 15-0, due in large part to a heavily-seniored and experienced defensive line. Auburn will have to open things up and start flinging the ball some, if nothing else than to keep the Bulldog secondary loose enough for speedy-legged Kenny Irons to get involved. Although Auburn’s run game is solid, Mississippi State has the ability to shut it down tighter than hoop cheese if it concentrates on Irons. Offensively, the Bulldogs do have one terrible detriment in that they have lost their starting quarterback for the season, which is going to make it very difficult for them to get anywhere against the Tigers--if said Tigers bring their best game with them.

Special teams play by the Tigers was a bit spotty last week, although big congrats to John Vaughn’s work in toeing home 12 points, including a personal best 52 yarder.

Keep that leg warm, son.

“BUT, But what about…well, you know?”

Well friends and fellow Plainsmen, I must confess that in the one area most important to the success or failure of a football program, the Maroon and White folks have us beat hands down.

Separate pages for each of the cheer squads--varsity, junior varsity, and the abdominally-gifted pom squad--and to top THAT off, each group actually has individual pictures of everyone! And there's a photo album that doesn’t require Flash! AND ACTUALLY HAS NEW PICTURES IN IT!

Why can’t Auburn have a setup like this? Why did we have to force ourselves into the crappy CSTV.com template so many other schools use?

It’s just embarrassing is what it is.

LUCKILY, embarrassment can create a hunger and a drive for vindication and respect, so possibly this upstaging of us by Coach Croom’s upstarts will cause the Tigers to inflict all sorts of hard knocks and touchdowns upon their foes.

WHICH LEADS US INEVITABLY to the second-most anticipated feature each week, The Prediction of Final Score! In the past, as you know, we have employed a wide variety of methods to insure that you have the most accurate score predictions possible, including electronic computing devices; attractive, yet fiery-tempered, redheaded sports statisticians; celebrity prognosticators; trained poultry; Chet the E-Mail Boy; badgers; the Online Magic 8-Ball; and a variety of voices in my head. We strive to continue to bring you this exciting feature, and hope that it continues to improve in accuracy and…and…oh, whatever.

My prediction for the final score….




AUBURN 30 -- MISSISSIPPI STATE 6

The contest will be conducted at Davis Wade Stadium, with the kickoff on Scott Field scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Central Time. Live television coverage provided by the craptacular Lincoln Financial Sports Network†.


(*When compared to Auburn Tiger football coverage in Pravda.)
(**Unless the SEC team has the initials of MSU.)
(***Satan)
(† Successor to the equally craptacular Jefferson Pilot Sports Network, Birmingham affiliate WTTO 21.)

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!


That’s right, it’s time to take our eyes off of the grinding viciousness of football and celebrate once again the accomplishments of the POSSUMBLOG STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK!

This week’s lucky PSAotW honoree is none other than a member of the 2006 NCAA National Championship Women’s Swimming and Diving Team, criminology and business major Adrienne Binder.

A 21-year-old native of Santa Barbara, California, this 6’-0” tall senior competes in distance freestyle events and is a Ten-Time All-American, an SEC Record Holder in the 1650m Freestyle, a 2003 World University Games Silver Medalist, a 2001 Goodwill Games Bronze Medalist in the 800m Freestyle, a CSCAA Academic All-American, and a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. In addition to those honors, Miss Binder was named the SEC Women’s Swimmer of the Week in January, and was named the United States Sports Academy's Alabama Athlete of the Month for July.

A little-known fact is that she is on the swim team in order to stay near water, because she’s so incredibly hot she could catch on fire.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 08:00 AM | Comments (6)

September 01, 2006

Earlier The Shadows Begin to Lengthen...

... and a certain crispness fills the air.

A great desolation departs, and FOOTBALL SEASON BEGINS AGAIN!!

GOOD AFTERNOON, SPORTS FANS, and welcome once again to Possumblog Sports Center, coming to you with all of the most important news about the greatest sport ever devised by human beings, as played by the greatest university named Auburn in the entire universe!

As usual, the sidelines will be stalked by Jimmy Neil and Clew--

jimmy neil and clew.gif

--bringing you their own brand of exciting and fragrant sports talk. [LATE BREAKING UPDATE, 4:20 pm: Jimmy Neil was doing some websurfing and found a story that combines history, science, and football! Afterwards, he ate five entire cans of nacho cheese flavored Pringles, then tripped on a shoe and hit his head on the toilet. Look for more exciting things from the boys as the season progresses.]

And as usual, we will be delving into the Exxes and Oze to give you all you will need to know for the upcoming contest.

We begin with a rousing cry of "War Eagle!" and get right to discussing the first game of the year for the Auburn Tigers.

The Plainsmen start their 114th season undefeated, and will be stepping onto the behedged field of Jordan-Hare Stadium tomorrow evening at 6:45 Central Time with a #4 ranking in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 Poll (following Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Texas), and a number six in the USATODAY Coach's Poll. Heady stuff, but thank goodness it's not the kiss of death #1 ranking, either. #4 is bad enough. It's worth noting that Auburn has been ranked in the preseason top 10 fifteen times in its history, and in only one case have they ever improved upon their rank (1983, started out ranked 4th, wound up 3rd).

This year looks as though it's going to be a pretty good one, no matter what the rankings might say--at least on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, the Tigers have lost five senior starters, and although there is great depth in all positions, it is still disconcerting. Maybe not as bad as it will be at the end of the season when 21 seniors (on both offense and defense) will be leaving.

In any case, even if every game turns out to be a boring snoozefest, there is one game toward the end of the season that I will predict right now will be one for the ages--right up there with "Punt, Bama, Punt!"--and that will be the scheduled closer against the Crimson Tide. Why this year?

This.

one for the thumb.jpg

That one simple gesture--four upraised fingers, indicating that Auburn had swept to victory four consecutive years--caused more vituperation and weeping and gnashing of teeth amongst 'Bama fans than anything in memory. This year, though, Alabama is going to be good. Very good. And full of hatred and vengence and playing on home turf amongst bronzen statues of godlike former coaches. Auburn, on the OTHER HAND (heh) would like nothing better than to make good on the boasts last year of "Fear the Thumb," reminiscent of the Steeler's "One for the Thumb" Superbowl promise. Let's just hope it doesn't take the Tigers 26 years to make good on it.

We shall see--but I think it'll be a slobberknocker.

Enough of the far distant future--at least for now. The Tiger's leadoff opponent this year is another feline-mascotted team, the Cougars of Washington State of the Pac-10 Conference. Not to be unkind, but the Cougars aren't quite in the same strata as fellow conferencemates USC. Not that anyone is. But if nothing else, this should make it easier for the Tigers to secure a win. After all, WSU only has homely Butch T. Cougar. Which (or who) is pretty lame when compared to Official Mascot Hall of Famer and perpetual crowd favorite Aubie the Tiger!

And anyway, tigers are more dangerous than cougars any day of the week.

And I had a friend in high school who had a '75 Mercury Cougar and it was an utter piece of crap.

AND not only all of that, but Auburn has an eagle, too--and ITS name is Tiger, so we've got vicious beasts out the wazoo.

Which is ALSO a vicious beast.

Of course, I don't have to do too much convincing of our overwhelming superiority when it comes to unhinged fury--even the WSU fan sites are sounding a bit skittish.

ANYWAY, we haven't even touched (so to speak) the thing that truly is the measure of one team over another.

Cheerleaders.

This year Auburn has taken some steps forward, as well as some HIGHLY regrettable steps backward. In the good section, the main page for the squad FINALLY has individual pictures, which, although too small and too full of lumbering GUY cheerleaders, is still a welcome relief from last year's complete lack of views.

A slight technical problem surfaces, however, with people like me who have ancient computers run by ossified IT departments who refuse to update the system with newer version of Flash. I think I'm limping along with Version 4 or something, and the Photos pages now runs a spiffy slideshow that requires a much newer version of Flash. No, I can't download it--that's just CRAZY TALK! So that makes it much more difficult to tune in and see what can be seen. I wish people would get away from using Flash unless it's really, really necessary.

But the worst thing? NO MORE ALL GIRL SQUAD! Last year was the debut, and there were NO annoying guys in any of the pictures and it was much better. But apparently it was not to be for this year. ::sigh::

At least there are still the Tiger Paws. I'll be sorely disappointed it they start messing it up with guys in unitards and tap shoes.

AS FOR WSU (which does not stand for Weevil State University, by the way), well, bless their hearts for trying, but they just have one crappy page. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO WIN FOOTBALL GAMES LIKE THAT, PEOPLE!?

Having now exhausted all possible angles to our story this week, it is time ONCE AGAIN to bring in our staff of highly experienced scientists, statisticians, bus boys, and head trauma patients for our 2006 FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON INAUGURAL SCORE PREDICTION!

Leaving behind past unsuccesses, we look forward this year to providing the most accurate score predictions available anywhere, and to do this we have enlisted the kind help of one of the voices in my head, who predicts a final score of...




AUBURN-42 -- WASHINGTON STATE-9

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!


Some of you probably get tired with the emphasis on football and cheerleaders around here, so in an effort to shine a spotlight on other students who labor without as much recognition, this year we have instituted the POSSUMBLOG STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK!!

And this week's recipient is Ashley Milton of the National Championship Auburn Equestrian Team. A 5ft-10in tall sophomore from Prattville, Alabama, Miss Milton rides Western, and is the recipient of the College of Agriculture Stanford Hallman Memorial Scholarship.

Smart, tall, blonde, outdoorsy, and cuter than a box full of buttons--hard to top that for our first PSAotW!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:33 PM | Comments (2)

August 11, 2006

The Scandal That Squeaked

How can you tell when the New York Times is wrong about something?

When the original story takes up 3,245 words, and the story reporting the final outcome of the investigation [NYTimes registration required] that was launched by that original story only yields 857 words.

In the end, the University's investigation found that--despite the Times' breathless hopefulness for a rousing athletic scandal at an SEC school (check the title of that first article--"Top Grades and No Class Time for Auburn Players")--the problem lay more with the lax standards for assigning directed study classes.

The University has now released a revised standard for how, when, and to whom directed studies classes may be assigned, and the two professors holding leadership positions within the disputed areas of study have stepped aside and returned to normal teaching duties.

There is still a petulent tawdry little tale in here, however, of academic snittiness by folks who by all rights should know better. The professor who first brought up the allegations of abuse made a point of directly accusing not only a professor, but also the athletic department of wrongdoing, but he now seems to think the University was wrong to concentrate on clearing the athletics department. Or something--here's his quote:

[...] Gundlach said in a telephone interview Thursday evening that the changes were “much more than I expected, to be honest.”

“I expected them to do everything possible to clear athletics,” Gundlach said. “You can see that when this first came out, athletics was their primary concern. With those kinds of policy changes in directed readings, and a change in administrators because they are not maintaining academic integrity, I think are all pretty good things to come out of this.” [...]

Why NOT do everything possible to make sure the athletics program was cleared? THAT'S WHO WAS ACCUSED OF WRONGDOING. That department would be the one most harmed were the charges of "easy grades for athletes" to be accurate. That department would be the one which stood to lose millions of dollars if any sort of NCAA violations took place.

And THAT is why the good professor decided to use the athletics department as a foil to make SURE he got changes made. I am certain he could see from his own data that athletes weren't the only ones to benefit from the poor control over assignment of directed studies, but he knew they would be the only tool to make sure the University did something.

And a sports scandal is the only thing sexy enough to make the New York Times take any notice of anything related to Alabama at all. Because, let's face it, there is no such thing as a scandal when just regular students stumble upon a way to make an easy A, but there IS when it involves big time athletics. If, indeed, it actually did in the first place.

Now, whether using the athletics program as a tool to further his goals was smart on his part, or whether this was driven by a pure desire to hold the Sociology department to the most rigorous academic standards, or whether it was just a crass attempt to embarrass a colleague whom he disliked, I can't say. But for the love of all that's holy, DON'T sit there and act surprised that the university did exactly what you'd hoped they'd do--snap to attention when an allegation of misdeeds by the athletic department were made, and were made in a way guaranteed to cause as much heat as possible by peddling the story to the Times.

The Times allows this to end the article:

[...] Gundlach said he was optimistic that there would be positive changes in academics. He noted a memo sent to professors insisting that they provide rigor in their regular courses.

“I think we’re going to see a noticeable change in the academic climate at Auburn,” Gundlach said. “I think we’ll see a lot more students on study dates then [sic--or, at least I think it is... Ed.] drinking dates.”

Yes, now there will be no more drunken debauchery upon the Plains. Not that I don't think it's a noble goal--I happen to believe life for everyone would be a lot better if folks didn't dip into the booze vat. And further, I think the vast majority of directed study classes ARE a crock, and I wouldn't have my feelings hurt if they were done away with completely. But I think the good professor might be indulging in a bit of self-serving wishful thinking here. Just a smidge.

Anyway, as things move forward from here, let's remember one thing: sociology isn't exactly up there with aerospace engineering when it comes to the amount of mental rigor required to be successful at it.

Or as my good friend Dan Rather might say, "Just because you saw a dancing chicken at the state fair doesn't mean Fred Astaire could lay eggs."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:58 AM | Comments (10)

July 14, 2006

Well, now--there may be two sides to every story, but...

...if you're the Paper of Record, no use to worry about anything that contradicts your predetermined agenda.

Obviously, this one can't be let go without comment--Report: Cadillac Williams, other Auburn athletes draw academic scrutiny. This is a second hand report from USA Today, since the Times requires registration [update--here is the Times' story via Auburn's press center], but the gist of it is an evil antiacademic academic has been throwing grades around to the athletes at Auburn.

NEW YORK (AP) — Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and other Auburn athletes received high grades from the same professor for sociology and criminology courses that didn't require them to attend classes or do much work, The New York Times reported.

Williams, the former star running back who now plays for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told the newspaper the only two classes he took the spring semester of his senior year were one-on-one courses with Professor Thomas Petee, the sociology department's highest-ranking member.

[...] "I want to assure everyone associated with Auburn that upon completion of the investigation we will deal with this issue as we have dealt with other challenges — directly and openly," Auburn interim President Ed Richardson said in a statement.

The Times, citing records compiled by professor James Gundlach, the director of the Auburn sociology department who reports to Petee, reported one athlete took seven courses with Petee, three took six, five took five and eight took four.

Former Auburn defensive end Doug Langenfeld told the Times a directed-reading course with Petee required he read one book and write a 10-page paper. "I got a 'B' in the class," Langenfeld told the Times.

The newspaper said Gundlach found that more than a quarter of the students in Petee's directed-reading courses were athletes.

More than a quarter? And the rest?

Several things here--preferential treatment for athletes only is not good--it serves no one's best interest to simply give away grades just to athletes. And although it seems to go on at all institutions of higher education that HAVE sports teams, it would still be wrong for Auburn to engage in it. There is no winner when your defense is simply "everyone else is doing it." IF that is actually what's going on here.

Some other things might need to be remembered--professors, and most especially DEPARTMENT HEADS--have a great deal of leeway in how they structure their coursework, including directed study courses, and how they assign grades. Although there is a certain part of the population who can't stand athletes and would like to see the savagery of football eliminated from campuses, they might also want to remember all those professors who give directed study work in such things as their precious wymyn's studies classes. Because if you don't like preferences for one group, it'll make it a lot harder to get a grade for attending a protest march and writing a paper about it. Get rid of one type? Get rid of them all, then.

Another thing--do all of the folks who take glee in this story really want us to start talking about the overall rigor of higher education? Oh, sure, we might want to beat up on athletes for being too dumb to graduate, but the liberal arts departments in the vast majority of colleges aren't exactly bastions of book-smarts. Should we start demanding that a bit more objectivity be injected into these offerings so that we can rest assured the next fine arts major who graduates can actually balance his checkbook? Well, I think so, but I can guarantee you people would start squealing if we suddenly decided to hold dance majors to the same standard we hold the math team to. Sauce, goose, gander.

Finally, the issue of the department head himself, Dr. Petee. I've been listening to the radio call-ins this morning, and I've heard at least four of his former and current students talk about him as one of the brightest and most gracious teachers they've had, and that he will make every effort to work with ALL students--athlete or not--to develop customized directed studies courses,even if that student winds up being the only student in the class, in order to help them overcome scheduling difficulties with other classes or with work. And, from all accounts and based upon what I have seen in my own academic involvement, just about ALL professors will do things like this for students--it's rare to see one who won't.

Now, given all that, along with the fact that there is no indication that any NCAA rules violations occurred, is there actually a story here? I think probably there is, but it's probably not the one that the complainant or the Times would like to examine, that being the decline of academic rigor across all majors, and across all institutions. One need only look at the recent Jeff Goldstein/Deb Frisch donnybrook and marvel that this unstable and dim woman has managed to carve out for herself a quite comfortable living in higher ed. [Update--related Big Armed thoughts here. 2nd Update--And for the love of all that's holy, is STILL going on.] Maybe that's where we should be looking--just how DO universities fill vacancies, and just how easy IS it for the mentally deficient to obtain a degree in the first place, and just why is it that these types of people invariably wind up being so far to the left philosophically that they would make Lenin sorta jumpy? And maybe we should ask why the Times seems so unwilling to ask these questions.

I am reminded of the press conference back when Joe Namath was at Alabama, and a reporter shouted at him, 'Hey, Joe--what classes are you taking down at Alabama, basket weaving?"

"No, journalism."

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 09:02 AM | Comments (2)

April 24, 2006

For all your goat washing needs.

Notasulga farm, a licensed goat dairy, makes goat soap

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 11:53 AM | Comments (2)

November 29, 2005

The line between fan--

--and fanatic can sometimes be rather faint.

However, I kinda have to say the person who came here looking for auburn tigers gelatin mold is probably on over the line a good ways.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:32 PM | Comments (1)

November 10, 2005

Possumblog Sports Center!

Time for our weekly prognostication!

But, being that everyone has gone home early for Veterans Day, including Avi, the Football Pickin' Chicken, I am left here by myself. Also, I have suddenly gotten busy on actual paying work instead of my non-paying, non-blogging, research project.

So, when it comes to The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry (stretching out as it does over the 19th, 20th, and now the 21st Centuries), I will say the final score will be #15 ranked Auburn 24-- #9 ranked Georgia 21.

Kickoff will be at 6:45 CT, and unless you want to make Coach Tommy angry, you'll listen to it on the radio rather than watch it on ESPN.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:12 PM | Comments (3)

November 07, 2005

And lest I forget...

TWENTY SEVEN POINTS!? From KENTUCKY!?

I know they kept saying in the post-game that they hadn't planned on doing anything tricky with the defense--just plain ol' vanilla.

But doggone it all, that's a little TOO plain for my tastes--not vanilla, but more like unsweetened fat-free vanilla-flavored non-dairy frozen dessert.

This upcoming Saturday, I sure hope we give Georgia fifty gallons of double fudge peanut-butter ice cream with whipped cream and caramel, served on a walnut brownie the size of a double bed.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2005

Not a Mystery

That is, what should be the result of this weekend's clash between the Wildcats of Kay Why (2-5 OA, 1-3 SEC) versus the Tigers of Alabama Polytechnic Institute (6-2 OA, 4-1 SEC)!

The Tigers (.pdf file) had a weak first half against a tough Ole Miss team last week until they came back with some perkiness and vigor, and hopefully have used the intervening time since then to get everyone settled back down and in a mood to improve. The boys from Lexington have replaced Vandy as the Sick Man of the SEC, but not without reason, in that the ball is an oblate speroid, and the field of competition is not hardwood. However, they're still a great big bunch of fellows, and they will have the home field advantage that worked so well for Arkansas, and it might be possible to catch the Tigers napping and worrying more about NEXT week's contest against the mighty slobbering Georgia Bulldogs.

Not really likely, but possible I suppose.

What DO the 'Cats have?

Well, for one, they have individual photos of their cheer AND pom squads, that's what. And you can find out important things there, too, such as the fact that Jill would love to have a great big plate of baked spaghetti. And the only reason that caught my eye is that when I first read it, I thought it said naked spaghetti. And their coach looks a darn sight better than the football coach, that's for sure.

I am ashamed to say that my beloved Tigers haven't even updated their pictures this week. It is a very sad thing. Thank heavens for the other sports, such as swiming--VIVE LA FRANCE!

Well, enough of that--time now to predict the score with Possumblog Sport Center's very own Avi, the Football Pickin' Chicken!

Avi didn't completely fail in her last outing--she overstated the spread a bit, and gave Auburn's offense a bit too much credit, and the defense not quite enough, but in the end neither of those drawbacks were enough for us to have to deal harshly with her. She has settled in quite nicely in the basement in the closet beside the boiler room, but she has been very annoying in continually asking for Perrier and to talk to her agent. Who ever heard of a chicken with an agent?! Also, she's frightened poor Chet the E-Mail Boy to pieces. He won't go near her, mainly because for some reason his ladyfriend Miss Butch seems to be jealous of Avi, and has been cursing at Chet in both French and what I believe to be the Blue Hmong dialect. Why would anyone be jealous of a chicken?! It is a mystery. I will say that Avi does have the advantage of only eating a lettuce leaf per day, which is far less than plump and juicy Edward M. ever ate. And after I figured out I could decant some Winn-Dixie Chek Club Soda into her empty Perrier bottles, the water cost has gone down considerably.

Anyway, we have spread out some Vogue magazines on the floor and brought the Football Pickin' Chicken in for her prognostication.

She's carefully turning the pages...looking...looking...

[FIVE HOURS LATER]

"FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY WOULD YOU PLEASE..."

Oh! Hello--yes, she's just now making her prediction--

Auburn Tigers--42 Kentucky 'Wild'cats--6

Thank you all for tuning in to Possumblog Sports Center this week, and be sure to listen in on your local Auburn Network radio stations! Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:19 PM | Comments (2)

October 28, 2005

And what would Friday be without..

POSSUMBLOG SPORTS CENTER!

Probably no different.

Be that as it may, it's still time to cue the music and let's get into talking about important things. FOOTBALL! And not just football, but that brand of smash-mouth, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, we-better-score-a-TD-cuz-we-can't-kick-a-field-goal brand of football played by the Auburn Tigers!

This week the Gentlemen of the Plains (5-2, 3-1 SEC) return to the Loveliest Village to take on the Rebels of the University of Missississippii, who with a record of 3-4, and 1-3 against fellow SECers, appear to be Rebels less in the mold of Lee on July 1, 1862, and much more like Lee on July 3, 1863. I try not to beat up too badly on the Tigers' opponents with taunting and the like, but it's difficult to see how Ole Miss is going to be able to pull this one out.

Even with Ole Miss's lingering heartburn over letting Tuberville get away in the first place, Auburn will still have the advantage of the home field, and of trying to redeem itself after last Saturday's overtime loss to LSU. Theoretically, Auburn could still pull out an SEC West title, IF they win every other game they play, so there is still much incentive to pull out all the stops on the Rebs and grind them up into a fine paste.

In addition to the fact that Ole Miss has no cheerleader photographs to speak of, there is also this insistence on spelling OLD not with an apostrophe to indicate truncation, vis., "Ol'," but rather to spell it as if someone should be expecting a bull to come charging by--to whit, "¡Ole!". By the way, speaking of the Spanish language, the movie Legend of Zorro, starts today in theaters everywhere.

BUT, aside from that, it is that time the whole world looks forward to, the PIGSKIN PROGNOSTICATIONS, scientifically calculated by Possumblog Sport Center's very own Football Pickin' Chicken! We still have not been able to come up with a suitable name for our plucky barnyard fowl, although I have been thinking that with the coming bird flu pandemic, maybe we should call her Avi.

Say hello to everyone, Avi!

I wish she'd quit running toward the door like that.

Anyway, in order to arrive at this week's prediction of the score of the game, our scientists have developed a new scientific protocol to insure even greater accuracy in the prognosticatinog. I have asked Chet the E-Mail Boy to give her back her cell phone, and she will be allowed to peck out her predictions on the keypad. (Avi's cell phone is graciously provided by T-Mobile.)

Okay, let's see how she does...

9

1

1

OOOOH, wait a minute--can't let that one go through or else the police will come knocking and I still haven't gotten any Halloween candy for them.

Let's try that again--

Okay

AUBURN 42 OLAY MISS 13

Thank you all for tuning in this week and all of you have a fun and safe weekend! Unless you're Ol' Miss, in which case I want you to lose.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:57 PM | Comments (2)

October 26, 2005

UNO!

No, not that kind. This kind involves food, so it's MUCH better. From the lovely and talented Kenny Smith, this notice of a right worthy cause:

Hi all,

My apologies for the legitimate-good-cause-psuedo-spam and ESPECIALLY if you've already seen this ... but we should consider passing this along to those that are well placed to pitch in.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Oct. 24, 2005

Contact: Jack Duggan (504) 430-8943 or (601) 484-6574

UNO Getting Cooking Again Fundraiser Heads to Auburn Saturday

(Oct. 24, 2005) – In an effort to raise money for its student-athletes, the University of New Orleans athletics department has put together the “Getting New Orleans Cookin’ Again,” campaign which has made stops at college football games this fall. The tailgating campaign makes its next stop this week at Auburn, Ala.

First, join the UNO Athletic Department for a New Orleans Style Pre-Tailgating Party at Touchdown’s on Friday, October 28 at 7 p.m. Representatives from UNO will be on hand serving up chicken and sausage jambalaya for donations to the Privateer Athletic Foundation Hurricane Relief Fund. Also, register to win a New Orleans Style tailgating kit, which includes the Cook Me Somethin? Mister Cast Iron Pot and Burner Combo.

On Saturday, the “Getting New Orleans Cookin’ Again” tent will be located inside Tiger Team Village next to Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum and jambalaya will be served by representatives to support the Privateer Hurricane Relief Fund, before and after Auburn’s 11:30 a.m. football game against Ole Miss. The UNO PAF is taking pre-tailgate orders now until noon on Wednesday. All proceeds go to help UNO student-athletes stricken by Hurricane Katrina.

UNO athletic director, Jim Miller believes that despite the devastation suffered by the city, "the critical element that has survived this tragedy is our people and our collective resolve to endure."

The fundraising effort has already made stops at Lafayette, La., Jonesboro, Ark., Troy, Ala, and Birmingham, Ala., this fall.

Paul Preau, owner of Ad Gas Outdoor Cooking Products of New Orleans, will serve as the head cook of the campaign. For more information or to reserve your order of Jambalaya, please call John Barranco at 504-289-0779 or email him at jbarranc@uno.edu.

SO, y'all go eat!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2005

"Hold that ti-GER! Hold that ti_GER!"

"But only the one that doesn't wear orange and blu--OO!"

Yes, it's time once again to fire up the lights and cameras here at the Possumblog Sports Senter and bring you yet another fine week of big-time college football prognosticating!

As you recall from last week, the glorious Plainsmen continued their march by marking off yet another one of the weak and puny schools on its "'Merry Christmas' schedule", having a nice batch of barbecued Hogs for supper.

This week, however, the Tigers (5-1, 3-0 SEC) (.pdf link) face someone worthy of the name 'Tigers,' that being the Bengal Tigers of LS Ewww (4-1, 3-1 SEC).

A road game, to the legendary Tiger "Death Valley" Stadium down on the bayou, to play the current 3rd ranked SEC West team (Auburn being in 2nd), and the Purple'n'Gold looking for redemption from last year's heartbreaking loss to Auburn at Jordan-Hare--it all promises to make for a very exciting game.

LSU is favored to win this one by more than a touchdown, and they've managed to acquit themselves quite well this year against other SEC foes. Expect them to take the same route everyone else has against Auburn this year--go after QB Brandon Cox hard and often in the early going. This is especially effective in a loud place like Tiger Stadium, where if the quarterback gets rattled, the confusion and noise make it even harder to get things done. The solution? Well, Auburn can't wait until the second quarter to adjust like it did last week against those cute piggies. They staged a remarkable comeback based upon adjusting to the blitz and running past it, which finally broke the field open enough to take the pressure off Cox. Their superior depth then kicked in as the game dragged on, leaving Arkansas flat-footed on their little trotters.

LSU cannot be done that way. Even though their cheerleading photos are pitifully lacking in number (thank heavens for Norwegian golfers), the football team still has some talented players. I'm not too worried about Auburn's stellar defense being able to keep LSU's scoring down, but the question is whether Auburn will be able to get enough points offensively to make up a win. Meaning it'll come down to special teams, as it so often does when these two teams play. Punt and kickoff returns, field goal blocking, and skillful punting I believe are going to be what decide things, in what I think is going to be a low-scoring knock-down, drag-out sort of game.

BUT, THAT IS NOT MY DECISION TO MAKE!

NO! For that honor (that is, predicting the actual score) belongs to none other than Possumblog Sport Cinter's Football Pickin' Chicken, Edward M.! Chet the E-Mail Boy is just now leading Edward M. into our offices after giving him a nice warm sponge bath. Chet remarks that Edward M. seems like an awfully big chicken. And friendly. I must agree. Several have asked what breed of chicken Edward M. is, and sadly, I cannot say for certain. We got him from a lovely seaside hamlet in Massachusetts, and that's about all I know.

ANYway, last week, Edward M. was very accurate, predicting a score of 38-21, when in fact it turned out to be 34-17. Pretty good for a chicken, I'd have to say, and especially for one who used a '67 Olds Delta 88 shop manual from which to select numbers. This week, Edward M. will be using a selection of liquor bottles we found inside of his coop, pointing with his beak to the numbers he believes will accurately predict the score.

And now, let's see--

It appears to be Tigers 17--Tigers 16.

There you have it folks! If you have ESPN, I guarantee it will be the best game you've seen all year. If you don't, well, listen to it on the radio like I have to do, and I guarantee it will be the best thing you've heard all year.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005

Dagnabbit!

AND consarn it all!

I knew I should have done the Auburn game write-up yesterday when I had the chance. I'm busier than...than...than some guy who can't think up similes!

SO--abbreviated version--Kickoff's at 6 p.m., listen on the radio, On-Field Advantage goes to the Plainsmen, Sideline Advantage goes to the Razorbacks.

Boy, how I hate to say that. But I have ridiculed the Hogs for years for their pitiful NONEXISTENT cheerleading pages, but this year it's a spectacle of great squad (two each of both cheer and pom-pom) and individual roster photos and game day candids and they've got like a whole herd of silly pig mascots. They still have a ways to go before they could compete with vaunted USC, but you have to admire the effort.

Prediction? Well, the newest Possumblog Sports Center Football Pickin' Chicken, Lil' Edward M., could barely be roused from his early afternoon stupor, but once awake, he squawked and ruffled his feathers. Suitably conscious, we placed Football Pickin' Chicken Lil' Edward M. in a small pen with a 1967 Oldsmobile Delta 88 shop manual, which he will peck and scratch on to indicate his choice of numbers.

And the score will be: AUBURN 38 -- ARKANSAS 21

NOW THEN, having dispensed with that, the tale of the weekend.

I have no idea.

The two older girls are going to go spend the night with a bunch of other girls from church, then go tomorrow to play with ceramics. Reba's going to go with them and take Catherine tomorrow, leaving Boy and me at the house as manly male bachelor men. I intend once and for all to install those pricey glass headlamps on the Volvo, and scratch impolite parts of myself and make rude bodily noises when the urge strikes. Well, if it strikes.

But other than that, and listening to the game, I have no other plans.

Somehow, I feel that plans will be made for me.

ANYway, all of you have a good weekend, and I'm going to get back to keeping my nose to the grindstone here in the salt mine.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 02:32 PM | Comments (5)

September 30, 2005

And speaking of football...

It's once again time to fire up the Possumblog Sports Center and discuss tomorrow's big SEC contest between the ferocious Tigers of Auburn University (3-1 overall, 1-0 SEC) and the Pretty Little Chickens of South Carolina (2-2 overall, 0-2 SEC)!

As you recall, last week Auburn tangled with the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky, and just as the our Football Pickin' Chicken, Nancy Pelosi, predicted, the boys from Kentuck managed to rack up an impressive 14 points against the Plainsmen, and the Orange and Blue countered with a lackluster 37 points in response. Nancy Pelosi had predicted a 48 point score for the Tigers, but I believe even she could not have foreseen starting QB Brandon Cox being laid low with a stomach virus only hours before kickoff. The fact that the API boys were able to march on and score well even with untested backup field general Blake Field is a credit to them, but it's obvious that had this substitution occurred against a less-favorable opponent--such as, oh, let's say, the LSUs, Georgias, or Alabamas of the conference--the results probably would have been much less good.

As it was, though, Field got some good field experience, and the team got to work out some kinks. The Tigers have continued to slowly improve over the past weeks, with continued flashes of gameplay that were MUCH more in evidence last year. The kicking game still needs some work, but the bones are there for the rest of the team to indicate a good run for the rest of the year.

AS FOR THEIR OPPONENTS this week--the other USC sits at the bottom of the SEC East below the perennial powerhouses of Florida, Georgia, and Vanderbilt, and are feared mostly for the fact that Steve Spurrier is their coach. As Coach says, "it's a rebuilding year." Despite his reputation, Spurrier has proven that without a strong team full of thug-life miscreants, it's difficult for him to work his coaching magic as he did at Florida. Or at Washington ::snicker:: Sorry. That was unprofessional of me. ::chortle::

BUT, here's the deal--he IS a good coach, and even the worst team in the SEC is still pretty danged tough to work over. (Mississippi State not withstanding.) Spurrier is going to have to start winning, and nothing could be sweeter than to whup up on the Tigers on their home turf. Look for the Birds to come out hard on defense early with lots of pressure on Brandon Cox--the secondary is going to have to fend for itself against a talented Auburn receiver corps, but if they can get the passing game shut down at the source, they have a chance of pulling off that much-needed win.

HOWEVER, being all impartial and objective and stuff like that, Auburn is simply a better team--I mean, what is more fearsome--this and this, or this?

See what I mean?

I will say this for the Gamecocks--at least in the most important category, that of of cheerleading, they DO have individual photos of their roster, which, even if it does include guys, is something Auburn has yet to do. Still, if you measure by the quality and quantity of game day candids, it's hard to fault the Tigers. Even if the pictures do include too many guys.

ANYWAY, on to the most exciting part of the show--the weekly prognostications! Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi is still with us this week, since Auburn did win last week, and she did predict the opponent's score with remarkable certainty, even if she was off by 11 points on our score, and since Chet the E-Mail Boy made a point of not dumping turnips on her.

Given these circumstances, I believe it still behooves us to allow her one more week of grace without being turned into fricasee. HOWEVER, being that Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi is a chicken just like the mascot of the opposing team, some have called foul, or fowl, and say that Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi cannot be trusted to be fair and impartial as she picks this week's game, and might try to tip the balance toward the Gamecocks.

Rest assured, kind readers, Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi is only interested in the truth and would be hurt by all of this sniping were she actually a sentient being with more than a dropperful of brains.

So, here we go--as we did last week, we have placed Football Pickin' Chicken Nancy Pelosi in a large Maytag washing machine box with a numeric keypad to use to peck out her prediction--let's see, it's coming in now...

AUBURN 34
SOUTH CAROLINA 17

We thank you all for tuning in to this week's Possumblog Sports Center! The Auburn-South Carolina game will be telecast on ESPN 2, with kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium on the lush campus of Auburn University scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2005

FRIDAY FOOTBALL FOOLISHNESS!

It is once again that time for the sports portion of our show, and as always, the most important game of the week, that played by the Not Undefeated, But Still Relatively Good, Auburn Tigers!

This week's game pits Alabama Polytechnical Institute (2-1 overall, 1-0 SEC) against the undefeated and Number 1 (Div I-AA) ranked powerhouse of the Gateway Conference, Western Kentucky.

The last time the two teams met in 2003, Auburn walked away with a 48-3 win, but the Hilltoppers return The Plains for the Tiger homecoming game full of the angry bitter angryness that only can come from a long bus ride and the knowledge that the team was chosen for its suitability as a safe sacrificial offering.

Auburn didn't sweat much in last week's practice/scrimmage/game, and everyone stayed healthy and the entire team got a much-needed workout, so it's hard to think that this week's game will be very difficult. EXCEPT, well, as the old saying goes, "on any given Saturday, when the chips are down, there's no place like home when the cows come there, which is like letting them out of the barn and then trying to close the door." Which just proves what a genius that John Madden guy is, you know? Anyway, I look for Auburn to be a bit sloppier than they were last week, and I look for WKU to be out for an upset.

Still, despite how much the football team might want to win, the true measure of their abilities appears to be pretty woeful. For shame, Hilltoppers--such a miserly use of pixels for your cheerleaders. Probably just as well, though--there does seem to be way too many guys. The Topperettes do have a few more photos (although still quite small). As has been the case in past such instances, I think we're going to have to go trolling for diversions within the other sports departments to find properly presented participant pics.

Well, let's see--there's the women's basketball team, which features players such as Cammie Campbell, a 5'-7" guard majoring in broadcasting, and statuesque forward Taylor Kopple. Moving to volleyball, there's statuesque middle hitter Megan Argabright, as well as statuesque middle hitter Whitney McCory. The women's tennis team sadly has no statuesque players, but at least they DO have someone from Floyds Knobs, Indiana. That's a plus! Moving on then to softball--lot's of statuesquery there! Especial notice is paid to Shelby Smith, the freshman 5'-10" catcher, who's just cute as a button. Still, despite all that talent, they just have no way of matching the power of the Tigers, who have yet another page of hard-hitting power to look at. Rah! Rah! Rah! And for good measure, Rah!

Mascots? Oh, please--Big Red!? I made fun of Ball State's cardinal last week, but that silly jaybird cardinal could wipe the floor with Big Red!

Mainly because Big Red looks like nothing less than a large sponge. Or maybe Jabba the Tuffet. Aubie, on the other hand, is a TIGER. Tigers are mean. And prone to groping.

I suppose it would be hard to have a mascot that looks like the top of a hill, but still, if Big Red is going to be your choice, why not work a tie-in with the Wrigley's folks and their fine brand of chewing gum?! Or, you know, maybe Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Or hire Red Sonja.

Anyway, enough of that stuff--let's get on to the most important part of the program, where we pick the score!

As you all no doubt recall from last week, Possumblog Sport Center's Official Football Pickin' Chicken, Lil' Joe Biden, predicted the final score between Auburn and Ball State to be 38-3 in favor of our beloved Tigers. As it turned out, the score was even more lopsided, 63-3, which meant that Lil' Joe Biden was safe for another week from being turned into fajitas.

HOWEVER, Chet the E-Mail Boy (who had provided Lil' Joe Biden certain inducements in the form of cornflakes placed on the bingo card to help him pick the scores) was terrified that since Lil' Joe Biden had not accurately predicted the outcome, he was doomed.

Well, despite being a cruel heartless megalomaniac, I'm not so picky that I can't just let it go, especially since the mistake was all to Auburn's favor. And he actually DID get the 3 point part of Ball State's score right. So, I was willing to let it slide.

Chet, though--well, he's an overprotective old coot, and as you also recall, had somewhat adopted Lil' Joe Biden. It was actually touching to watch as Chet would gently hold him and stroke his fluffy feathers and talk to him almost as if he were human. SO fearful was Chet of the certain demise of his pet at my hands that he took the unforeseeable step of hiding Lil' Joe Biden. Which would have not been nearly so bad had Lil' Joe Biden not been placed in the bottom of a turnip basket, which Chet then proceeded to fill with turnips.

Poor Lil' Joe Biden was found on Wednesday of this week, smooshed underneath a pile of the bulbous bitter roots. Chet is obviously heartbroken, but everyone was highly complimentary of the flavor Lil' Joe Biden added to the mess of turnip greens we had in the cafeteria today. He might have been an ugly stupid bird, but Lil' Joe Biden was tender and flavorful.

OBVIOUSLY, this means that for the third week in a row, we will find it necessary to obtain a brand new Official Football Pickin' Chicken. We got this one from a fellow who had several for sale, and he assures us that it has a proven track record of accuracy unmatched by any other barnyard fowl. To help assuage Chet's dismal mood, we allowed him the chance to name the new team member, so he thought long and hard, and decided upon someone he's been sweet on for many years. So, we present to you Nancy Pelosi.

In order to keep Chet from rigging the proceedings as he did the last time, we have separated them into separate boxes. In Chet's box, we have a stack of American Telegrapher magazines, and in Nancy Pelosi's box, we have a numeric keypad into which she can peck her prediction.

And the result?

AUBURN 48--WESTERN KENTUCKY 14

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2005

Bird bird bird, bird is the word...

That's right, "bird," as in the perky cardinal, as in the rough and ready ::chuckle:: Cardinals of Ball State University (0-2), who will be fluttering down from their perches in beautiful Muncie, Indiana (a city justly famed for its contribution to automobiledom as the birthplace of General Motors' famed Muncie M-22 "Rockcrusher" four-speed tranny) to take on the still-not-firing-on-all-cylinders, (1-1, 1-0 SEC) Tigers of Auburn University.

The Plainsmen did score a solid win last week against one of those Mississippi teams, a methodical game with no points scored against them, but they still seem to be having trouble maintaining that consistency throughout an entire game. When they're on, they look like the boys from last year--when they're not on, well, it's a mess. Hewitt-Trussville alum Brandon Cox is still trying to settle down at quarterback, and his occasional (and understandable) lack of judgement and poise led to several turnovers in the GaTech game. He did much better last week, but he's still not quite at that point where he can react well to heavy defensive pressure.

Not that he should have to worry this week. Ball State, bless their hearts, are like so many schools trying to build their program, and have to play above their weight in order to improve. They don't really have a great chance of pulling an upset, but they come on and play anyway because to be able to play a better team makes your players better themselves. Of course, nobody seems to have told Vanderbilt this, but that's a story for another day.

Then we get into the truest test--one must give a great deal of respect to Ball State for having individual cheerleader pictures, something that Auburn has been sadly lacking for years, but Auburn DOES have the advantage of having full-squad photos, and the cheerleading website has had continual improvements in the past two years, and has a very good selection of high-resolution game-day candid photos. They still need to work some on cropping out the guys, though, although I guess you girls want to look at them. Hmm? No, I am NOT jealous of the guys! You just shut up! I mean, just because they're all full of biceps and have the best view of the game doesn't mean I'm jealous. 'Cause I'm not.

THEN, moving on to mascots--oh, come on! It's a pretty red bird--who's scared of that!? Auburn's mascot is a ferocious jungle animal who wouldn't even LOOK at a cardinal, even if he was starving to death! And not only that, we have our own bird of prey that we send out before games to rid the stadium of any possible bird-poop-producers. Poor silly cardinals.

I will say that Auburn doesn't have any graduates who have their own late-night talk shows, although when he's not hitting people, Charles Barkley DOES talk a lot.

ANYWAY, down to the most important part of the post, the prediction of the score! Let's bring in Possumblog Sport Center's newest Football Pickin' Chicken, Lil' Joe Biden, and see what he has to say.

Chet the E-Mail boy has just released him--Lil' Joe Biden is walking slowly across the floor to the array of bingo cards in front of him. He's looking, he's looking--there he goes! He just pecked at his choices, and it appears as though it's going to be Auburn 38 - Ball State 3.

Let's hope Lil' Joe Biden is right, because if he's not, well, there's a REASON there's been TWO Football Pickin' Chickens...

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:33 AM | Comments (4)

September 02, 2005

Although there are more important things going on...

...I would be remiss in not noting the kickoff of the 2005-2006 Auburn Football Season, in which the Tigers will play host this weekend to the Small, But Agressively Pernicious Social Wasps (or, alternatively, The Hoopties) of the Georgia Institute of Technology!

This will mark the 92nd meeting of the two teams, and it is hoped by everyone (or, at least, by me) that the Tigers will be ready to avenge the 17-3 loss they suffered at the hands of the Engineers in the September 6, 2003 game in Atlanta. Also from the Tiger press material, we find that "[f]rom 1905 to 1987, Auburn and Georgia Tech played every year with the exception of 1943 when Auburn did not field a team because of World War II. The teams have met just once since 1987 (2003 at Georgia Tech)." AND, this nugget, "Georgia Tech's last visit to Jordan-Hare Stadium came in 1986 -- a 31-10 Auburn victory." So, if we are to believe the auguries, this should turn out well. Or not.

After an undefeated season last year, and the resulting host of National Championship awards from media outlets such as Bob's Trader Place Magazine and the Zip City Post-Time Excelsior, the Tigers have had some rebuilding to do for this year after losing several starting players to the dreaded onset of commencement exercises. Auburn starts the year at 16th in the AP poll, which is just fine by me--gives them something to shoot for, even if the coaching staff might think that they deserve to be a bit higher up. At least they're ranked, unlike their opponent.

Ultimately, though, beyond the players and trainers, coaches and assistants, we all know this battle will ultimately be won on the sidelines--this year's squad is looking mighty nice--although, tragically, all the young ladies were born without shins--and there is the issue of my continued annoyance at presence of guys in the ranks. Hopefully, this is being addressed with the addition of an ALL-GIRL squad! (Even though they won't actually be cheering at football games, it is, at least, a start.) And, thank goodness, there is at least ONE organization where there is no intrusion from such lumpy hairy intruders--the Tiger Paws. GrrrRRRoowll!

Over on the other side of the field, the Tech folks have a healthy group of cheersters themselves, with much limberness on display, AND they have an old car, which means a lot to other people with old cars.

In the end, I have to give this one to the Tigers, but don't be surprised to see GaTech give them a very strong run, especially early in the game.

Possumblog Sports Center's Team Pickin' Chicken sez: Auburn 21, Georgia Tech 9.

The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with kickoff at 7:45 in the evening, but since I don't have cable, I will be listening to the Auburn Radio Network. And it will be darned inconvenient because it's so late and we have to get up and go to church the next morning, but I will listen anyway.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 03:01 PM | Comments (2)

June 17, 2005

Please, I beg you--

No jokes about using the money to buy more paint-by-number kits and Play Doh for the students.

We'uns is quite uptown, you know.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)