Auburn deserves to be ranked

Raise your hand if you think it’s a small travesty that Michigan and Nebraska are ranked in the top 25, but Auburn isn’t. (My hand raised…yes, even while I’m typing.)

I’m well aware that the Tigers’ wins this year have come against Louisiana Tech (which is actually a better WAC team than most realize), Mississippi State, West Virginia, Ball State and most recently, Tennessee. But this is a good Tigers team that deserves some attention, especially after their 26-22 win over the Vols on Saturday night in Knoxville.

Auburn got a fair amount of help from another poor outing by Jonathan Crompton and his drop-prone receiving corps, but the Tigers dominated more than the final score would indicate. Ben Tate rushed for 128 yards, Chris Todd was efficient in the passing game and Auburn held onto the ball almost 10 minutes more than Tennessee. It was an impressive victory, even though the Vols made things somewhat close in the end.

With Michigan, Georgia and Cal all losing on Saturday, there’s little doubt that Auburn will be ranked come Monday morning. And with that, it’ll be interesting to see if they can make some noise with two winnable games against Arkansas and Kentucky coming up in next couple weeks. What will be even more interesting is how they fair in their final five games, which includes trips to LSU and Georgia, as well as home games against Ole’ Miss and Alabama.

This Auburn team plays with a lot of confidence, doesn’t get rattled when things don’t go its way, and has played hard so far this season. Can they be a potential sleeper team in the SEC?

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College Football Picks & Predictions: Week 3

Tennessee (1-1) at No. 1 Florida (2-0), 3:30PM ET
Don’t think for a second that Urban Meyer won’t be extra motivated for this game after Lane Kiffin accused him of violating NCAA recruiting rules back in February. Kiffin better hope that his power running game will help keep this one close, because Florida’s defense is going to terrorize quarterback Jonathan Crompton if Tennessee becomes too one-dimensional. Crompton made several poor decisions last week in UT’s loss to UCLA, a game in which he threw three interceptions. If he turns the ball over against the Gators, this game will be out of reach by halftime. Of course, if Monte Kiffin’s defense can generate some pressure on Tim Tebow, the Vols could make things interesting. But so far, Kiffin hasn’t gotten much production out of his front four and it has forced him to blitz in order to get pressure. Tebow will recognize that and pick UT’s defense apart. This one could get ugly.
Odds: Florida -30
Prediction: Florida 41, Tennessee 10.

Texas Tech (2-0) at No. 2 Texas (2-0), 8:00PM ET
Mack Brown still has nightmares of Michael Crabtree scoring the winning touchdown in last year’s thriller in Lubbock. But Crabtree and Graham Harrell have both moved on and although Raiders quarterback Taylor Potts (861 yards, 9 TDs) is off to a great start this year, it’s hard to imagine that Tech will pull off the upset this year. Colt McCoy won’t allow Texas to lose at home and the Longhorn back seven is too good to let Potts to beat them for four quarters.
Odds: Texas -17.5
Prediction: Texas 52, Texas Tech 28.

No. 23 Georgia at Arkansas, 7:45PM ET
The last time these two teams met was back in October of 2005 when the Dawgs barely edged the Razorbacks 23-20 in Athens. Bobby Petrino’s team is fresh coming off a bye week (which followed an easy 48-10 victory over FCS foe Missouri State), while Georgia fought tooth and nail for their 41-37 win over South Carolina. Petrino admitted that the Razorbacks have been game planning for this matchup since August and he even held senior Michael Smith to only four carries in the win over Missouri State so that the running back would be fresh for this week’s matchup vs. UGA. The Dawgs have given up 61 points in their first two outings and considering Arkansas’s offense is starting to come together under Petrino, I see the Razorbacks securing a nice home win.
Odds: Arkansas -1
Prediction: Arkansas 31, Georgia 28.

West Virginia at Auburn, 7:45PM ET
The Tigers will be seeking a measure of revenge after the Mountaineers soundly beat them in Morgantown last year. Although both teams have started off the season on the right foot, West Virginia could have a hard time corralling Auburn running backs Brandon Tate and Onterio McCalebb. The duo has combined to rush for over 530 yards in two games and will provide a challenge that the Mountaineers’ run-defense didn’t receive in their first two games. As long as the Auburn defense can contain Noel Devine and senior quarterback Jarrett Brown, they should be able to get their revenge on West Virginia and start the ’09 season 3-0.
Odds: Auburn -7
Prediction: Auburn 38, West Virginia 24.

Tennessee QB Crompton received death threats in 2008

According to a report by, Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton received death threats last season in the wake of the Volunteers losing seven games for only the second time in the program’s history.

Crompton received at least two e-mailed death threats during his junior season, the player told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The problem was brought to his parents’ attention after a package they received had slanderous messages scrawled on the box.

“That’s when my parents started talking about it,” Crompton said, according to the newspaper.
Crompton said he never reported the threats to the school.

He also stayed quiet when he began to receive harassing phone calls after his cell number was made public on the Internet.

“It was tough, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “When you’re faced with adversity, your true character comes out — as a person, as a student, as a Christian.
“It tested me.”

People seem to lose the sense of reality when it comes to sports sometimes. Crompton is only 21 years old – he’s still a kid. He’s a student athlete trying not only to succeed at sports, but also in the classroom so that he can excel in a career field when he’s done playing football. He doesn’t deserve to have his life threatened because of what he does or doesn’t do on the field – no one does.

I know we’re talking about Tennessee football here, but relax people – it’s just a game.

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