After the number 2, 3 and 4 teams lost over this weekend, the quality of wins that Auburn have following their 41-7 drubbing of LSU, compared to what Florida State have done so far this season, should mean that the Tigers, doing a great job of following their accomplishments from last season, deserve to be voted and regarded as the number one team in the nation.
LSU – Auburn games are usually close, physical affairs. But this one was completely different, from start to finish. It’s weird seeing LSU getting beaten all around the field like that, but it happened at home against Mississippi State, and Auburn are a more physical team. In Jordan-Hare, it shouldn’t come at any surprise, and the #15 ranking that LSU carried into the game seems to have been an exaggeration of their abilities this season.
Auburn were up 17-0 before the end of the first quarter, as Nick Marshall threw one touchdown pass and ran for anther. LSU got their only points on the board with a Kenny Hilliard run just before the end of the first quarter, but that was it from LSU, finishing with just 280 yards of total offense. Their quarterbacks, Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris, combined to complete just 8-of-24 passes for 142 yards. Les Miles doesn’t believe in them, but wasn’t going to get back through running the ball, as his players averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.
Auburn? Nick Marshall threw two touchdown passes and 207 yards. He ran for 119 yards, scoring another two. Auburn finished with 298 yards on the ground, showing once again what a mobile quarterback who is much better at avoiding mistakes when passing the ball can do to an LSU defense. Once again, getting accustomed to one thing from the Bayou Bengals makes their defensive incompetence so surprising and difficult to comprehend.
This was the biggest win for Auburn over LSU since Les Miles took charge of the team in 2005. Of the three teams to beat LSU by 21 points or more while Miles is in charge, two of them went on to win the national championship: Florida in 2008 and Alabama in 2011. Auburn scoring 31 points in the first half is tied for the most LSU has ever given up in any game under any head coach. They have won just one game (Wisconsin, barely) against a power five conference team this season.
Les Miles seems to know not to expect too much from this group, learning enough about what he has so far this season: We kept putting the defense on the field. We tackled, we played hard, but offensively we did not execute. We are a work in progress. Certainly a group of men that are committed to fixing things. But frankly we did not get it done.
And for Auburn? Their national championship in 2010 was a one time thing – simply Cam Newton being a level above everyone else. The rest of the Chizik era was mediocre at best, awful at its worst. He recruited well according to the last couple of seasons, but it takes a much better head coach to make the most of that talent.