GREGGY G'S THURSDAY NIGHT ATS PREDICTION
AUBURN TIGERS (+3.5) @ W. VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
Prior to opening day, many felt this late season non-conference battle could play a major role in the BCS race. Now, another Tommy is on the hot-seat after a disastrous offensive scheme change backfired, while WV looks eerily similar to the ole Mountaineers before Rich Rodriquez arrived. But before jumping on the Tigers for their idiotic expectations that the spread-offense could be installed over the summer and lead them to a title, let’s talk about the coaching change in Morgantown that's making fans nervous.
The Mountaineers offense under Grandpa Stew reminds me of Jenna Jameson’s performances once she started directing. While most of the pieces are still the same (plastic boobs compared to the starting QB returning), the overall quality lacks the edginess that made it special. Seriously, do remember the cinematic masterpiece “Jenna Loves Rocco” circa 1996…it had a Rich Rodriquez-type flair & passion to it. Then, in 2002 Lady Jameson decides to start producing her movies and the next you know “I Dream of Jenna” turns out to be dirty version of a Cinemax flick. Kinda like watching Pat White run the same scheme but with Grandpa Stewart as headmaster.
In addition, is it me, or does 190-lb Pat White seem like he’s starting to feel the wear-n-tear of 4 years running off tackle. Especially without the safety net of Steve Slaton who could basically carry the squad when needed, the QB now relies on Noel Devine who just doesn’t have the same skill set to grind-out the tough yards. While Devine will be the fastest player on the field tonight & always is a HR-threat, the short yardage inabilities of both he & White have stalled drives all season…and that was against E. Carolina, Syracuse, & Rutgers. Did I mention White missed the Mountaineers last contest at home versus lowly Syracuse (who they narrowly beat) with a concussion?
For all the turmoil in Auburn, the Tiger defense has been absolutely outstanding and will be huge upgrade from what the Mountaineers are used to seeing. Tuberville’s squad has a solid secondary, so look for them to load-up in the box to stop the run and trust their one-on-one coverage on the outside against WV’s unimpressive and undersized WRs. Also, I’m not trying to hate on Grandpa Stewart and I hear he’s a great guy who likes to do Sudoku puzzles and drink Iced Tea on the porch, but have you seen him on the sideline during important moments, drives, or plays? After first displaying a unique combination of nervousness & bewilderment, Stewart then stares up at the sky as if to say, “What Would Richie Do” aka WWRD!
While RB Ben Tate is a beast, don't forget about Brad Lester!
As for the Tigers attempt to reestablish their offense, READ ON!
While I didn’t mind Auburn’s attempt to bring-in the spread-offense, expecting a team with players not fit for the scheme to still dominate in the SEC after 5 months of training is absurd. That being said, the losses have enabled Tuberville to fully handover the keys to So. playmaker Kodi Burns, which now gives the Tigers a lethal 3-headed rushing attack with future NFL backs Ben Tate & Brad Lester.
With an additional week of practice time, returning to familiar offensive scheme, and Burns no longer looking over his shoulder at QB Chris Todd, I expect the Tigers to overpower the Mountaineers with a simple downfield rushing attack and to find a few openings off play-action. BTW, I’m predicting you’ll see one of my favorite TE’s, 6-5 260-lb Tommy MFin Trott, have a few big catches…and once he gets moving, he’s tougher to stop than Kristy Alley at Old Country Buffet.
And finally, while WV still seems shocked by the coaching change turmoil and unsure if Coach Stewart is their bona fide leader, the Auburn kids seem to be rallying around Tuberville with the whispers of his employment in jeopardy, so expect them to come out with some desperation tonight. The Mountaineers may have a few more cats you’ve heard of, but Auburn has more veteran talent and big-bodies to win this battle in the trenches. Especially considering Auburn’s last four contests were facing LSU, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, & Arkansas as WV sputtered against Colorado, Marshall, Rutgers, & Syracuse, just like at Arlington Race Track, I always take the horse dropping in class.
Final Score: TIGERS 23 MOUNTAINEERS 17