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Auburn...You Mean Bama’s Little Brother? Hate!

Clemson has another little brother to bully this week.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson continues its assault on little brother programs this week. Last week, Clemson put up a mediocre display against Ohio State little brother Kent State.

While the rumors of the offense actually being cancelled and Clemson choosing only to play defense proved to be unfounded, Kelly Bryant managed little more than a half before being pulled in favor of younger options. Bryant threw 6 incomplete passes, which is wholly unacceptable, and his 1:1 TD/INT ratio is a thing of nightmares.

To further exacerbate the issue, the run game was less than stellar, with no back cracking the 100 yard mark. Sure, Clemson did run for 353 yards and 6 touchdowns, but that’s only impressive if achieved by a single player. Clemson cheated and used everyone on the roster, probably because no one is really that good.

The defense, the supposed strong point of the Tigers, showed signs of regressing. After shutting out big brother An Ohio State University in the National semifinal, the Tigers surrendered 3 points to A Different Ohio State University (Kent State in this instance).

Granted the Flashers may have better overall talent, and certainly have superior coaching, but giving up a field goal leads me to believe that Brent Venables has grown fat and happy and that Clemson is most likely doomed.

All is not lost, however, as a second little brother team makes its way to Death Valley on Saturday. The Tigers face off with the second best program in Alabama, Auburn University, and it should be an interesting affair. Let the hate begin.

Fake Rivalries:

NCAA Football: Auburn at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama vs Auburn, “The Iron Bowl”, is supposedly one of biggest “rivalries” in college football, and yet, generally speaking, it’s a disappointment. In fact, when Auburn does manage to pinch a game off Bama, it’s talked about for decades, and usually involves a play so incredibly fluky that the entire game is named after it (i.e. the Kick 6 game). Alabama doesn’t get the honor of “named” games in this “rivalry” because “another Bama butt whipping of Auburn” just doesn’t evoke the sort of emotion necessary for the “rivalry”.

Alabama vs Auburn is a rivalry in the same way the Clemson vs South Carolina is a rivalry. Alabama and Clemson are both forced to share their state with clearly inferior football programs that occasionally have a flare up of talent, but always regress to their mediocre mean. When the flare ups do happen, little brother always gets mouthy, and then the dominant programs spend the next decade putting them back in their place.

Over the last 10 seasons, Alabama is 7-3 vs little brother Auburn. Current Auburn “coach” Gus Malzahn has a stellar 1-3 record vs the Tide, and Auburn has regressed in the “rivalry” every season under Gus.

THE IRON BOWL! will be hyped to high heaven again this year. The game will be spoken of in reverential tones and listed as one of the most sacred rivalries in all of college sports, but, in reality, it’s just another cog in the SEC hype machine.

Auburn will lose to Alabama again this year, and the game will be a boring slog for all but the most fervent Bammers. Most uninterested parties will turn the channel or pass out at halftime of the 17-0 affair and the game will end 24-3.

You’ll excuse me if I find something more interesting to do with my Saturday afternoon, like vacuum the house and catch up on a little Paw Patrol.

Fake Comparisons:

NCAA Football: Clemson at Auburn Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The next time someone tells me how similar Clemson and Auburn are, I’m throwing hands.

Clemson and Auburn are similar in the fact that both are Universities, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go. Clemson and Auburn are like The French Laundry (a super fancy restaurant for those less gastroinclined) and Harcombe (circa 1999) (in this analogy Clemson is obviously The French Laundry). Sure, both technically serve food, but at the French Laundry you can get Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu with Harmony Cucumber Relish, Brokaw Avocado Mousse, Preserved Garden Tomatoes, Romaine Lettuce and “steak Sauce” (I looked this up, it is an actual dish). At Harcombe (circa 1999), on “Premium Night” you could get a grey piece of “steak” (if you got lucky, you got one without the hair still on it) served with a side of whatever industrial sized dented can of vegetables they had laying around in the back, and a dinner roll that originated in the Danny Ford era. Yes, both The French Laundry and Harcombe (circa 1999), both serve(d) food, but where would you like to eat?

Clemson may have borrowed a few things in the distant past from Auburn, but the Tigers (the real Tigers) have expanded on them to the point where they are no longer recognizable, in the same way the McLaren P1 LM borrowed some ideas from the Model T. Clemson has Death Valley, The Rock, All-In, B.Y.O.G., and the National Championship. Auburn has 3 mascots, Jordan-Hare (yawn), and a National Championship they paid Cam Newton to win for them.

Clemson defeated Auburn, at Jordan-Hare to open the season last year, and it was seen as a negative by many. Clemson didn’t beat Auburn badly enough. Let that sink in, Clemson knocking off Auburn at home was used as ammunition by Louisville fans in their convoluted, “yes you beat us, but we’re better than you,” argument.

Can you imagine a team coming into Death Valley and knocking off Clemson in the season opener, and it be seen as a negative, because they didn’t beat Clemson by 2 touchdowns? I certainly can’t fathom that scenario, but that’s what we faced with the supposed “blue blood” Auburn last year. This sort of thing only happens to little brother schools.

So, no, as a matter of fact, Clemson and Auburn aren’t similar. Clemson is the obviously superior product in every possible metric and Auburn is just another little brother school. If you want to make a comparison, Auburn and South Carolina, in a football sense, are much more similar than Clemson and Auburn.

Both Auburn and South Carolina live in a perpetual state of envy, and let’s remember, envy is one of the 7 deadly sins.

Quarterback Recycling Bin:

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Auburn
Sorry Sean, Things Change
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

I keep hearing that Gus is some sort of “offensive genius” but for an “offensive genius” he certainly can’t recruit a quarterback, at least out of high school.

Can you imagine what an honest conversation between Gus and a high school quarterback recruit would actually sound like?

Gus: Son, I want you to be an Ahhburn Tiger. You’ll look great on our bench.

Recruit: Wait, what was that last bit coach?

Gus: Our bench, you’ll look great sitting on it. You see son, here at Auburn we don’t develop our own quarterbacks, we mainly just take cast offs from other programs.

Recruit: Coach, I’m looking for a place where I can develop my talent and lead a team.

Gus (looking around nervously): Develop….a quarterback...I’m sorry son, but that can’t be done. I can promise you this though, you’ll be the same player today as you are in 3 years when you transfer to a smaller school.

Recruit: I don’t know coach, that doesn’t sound too promising.

Gus: I’m just shooting straight with you. Look what I’ve done with 4 star talents like Sean White and Jeremy Johnson. They both came in thinking they were going to lead my team, and I put both on the bench. Heck, sometimes I even have to replace the guy that I brought in to replace the other guy, with another guy, take John Franklin for instance.

Recruit: I mean sure, maybe you screwed over those guys, but I’m different, right coach, I’m way more talented than any of those scrubs.

Gus: Honestly, son, I’ve got my eye on a defensive back from Oregon that I can’t wait to replace you with, after throwing you under the bus for our offensive failings of course. We’re really hoping this kid runs into some legal problems. He can’t throw the ball over 10 yards, but man can he run, and honestly, for all my “offensive” genius, I really struggle with the forward pass.

Recruit: Uhm, sorry coach, but maybe I’ll take my talents elsewhere.

Gus: Honestly, that’s probably your best move.

Once again, the SEC hype machine is throwing its weight behind another Auburn quarterback. I don’t know, maybe this time it will be different, but I’ve seen 3 post Nick Marshall Q.B.’s touted as a combination of Mike Vick and Joe Montana, and I’ve seen all 3 fail miserably.

I actually sat in College Station and listened to the SEC homers on the radio predict a Heisman trophy for Jeremy Johnson (currently pursuing a professional basketball career overseas). Sean White (currently sitting on the Auburn bench) was supposed to bring something to the Auburn offense that we hadn’t seen before. John Franklin (currently waiting to play for his chance at Lane Kiffin’s D1 version of ‘Last Chance U’.) was allegedly an electric playmaker with a cannon for an arm. All 3 regressed and were replaced by the “offensive genius” Gus Malzahn.

So, best of luck to Jarrett Stidham, but you might want to keep checking behind you, because if something goes wrong, Gus will be there to shove you in front of that oncoming bus. You know, he’s an ‘offensive genius’ and all that, and the fact that his team can’t actually score points couldn’t actually be his fault.