Where Smart Picks Go to Die
EDITOR’S NOTE: Gerrit is a frequent contributor to Outputting Our Coverage, as OPOC’s resident expert on all things Maroon and White. Below he gives his take on the current fortunes of two familiar SEC West teams.
I am an alumnus of Mississippi State. I became an MSU fan as soon as I saw how much money they wanted to give me to go to school there. Though it’s been difficult at times, I’ve rooted for them ever since. My wife is an alumna of Auburn University. She has been an Auburn fan since birth, and Auburn runs in her blood for three generations. Since we met, things in the world of football have been somewhat less difficult for her than they have for me.
This season has been very different.
Auburn is among the worst in the country when it comes to turning the ball over, yet Mississippi State leads the nation in the turnover margin category (+16). Though Mississippi State does not have any single “superstar” playmaker on offense, we have lots of talent that’s being well utilized by the offensive coordinators. On the flip side, it would be safe to say there is “general dissatisfaction” with the way Auburn’s offense has failed to rise to the level of their own talent, and much of that dissatisfaction is directed at their offensive coordinator, Mr. Loeffler (who, as of this writing, has not been fired… yet). Additionally, MSU opted to field a defense this year, which is almost more than Auburn can say.
As I prepare to watch my #11, 7-0 Bulldogs take on the #1 Crimson Tide this Saturday, I keep hearing people talk about what a great season this has been for MSU. Mississippi State is 7-0 for only the second time in the 113 years of our football program. Simultaneously, I hear phrases like “worst start since 1952” and “quickest fall by a national champion ever” when the talking heads mention Auburn.
This got me thinking… given that the last time MSU went 7-0 was back in the 1940’s, and that the average number of years between 7-0 seasons is 56.5, it is entirely possible that I’m witnessing the best start to a Mississippi State season of my lifetime. If this pattern keeps up, I’ll be more than 80 years old the next time there’s this much color on the trees while MSU is undefeated. Using similar logic, my wife may very well be witnessing the worst Auburn season of her lifetime, as Auburn may not have another season this bad until she is 85.
Morbid? Maybe. Pessimistic? Sure (especially given MSU’s recent upward trend under Mullen). But regardless of whether either of our teams hold true to the patterns from the past I know one thing: I need to get my gloating in while I can.