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Thursday Night Preview: Auburn at West Virginia

Tonight ESPN brings you a match-up of teams whose fans are pissed with their lives, their teams, and the fact that it's only October and they're already prepared to start discussing next year's football season. What's the most surprising thing about both teams so far this season? How godawful the offenses have been. West Virginia averaging 22.2 points a game while Auburn checks in at a robust 19.1. Both in the top ten at some point early in September, they've vanished from the polls entirely. A solid segment of each fan base wants their coach fired, and now they're coming to you live from Morgantown/Deadwood for Thursday night football. College football truly does not get any better. Except when it does. If there is any member of either fan base who feels confident about what's going to happen in this game, he's already drunk on his granddaddy's moonshine.After a 3-0 start, Auburn has lost 3 of 4. The lone victory during this stretch was a 14-12 win over Tennessee. After this win every Auburn fan looked like they'd just witnessed an execution. Since October began Auburn has lost on the road at Vanderbilt for the first time since 1955 (that's before Rosa Parks began the Montgomery bus boycott if you're keeping score) and at home to Arkansas. In between these losses Tommy Tuberville fired offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. As Octobers go Tuberville's ranks right up there with...Bill Stewart's September. The favored Mountaineers opened up the season with a win over Villanova before getting trounced by East Carolina 24-3. They then went out to Colorado and lost a Thursday night road game. Making West Virginia's quest for 4 consecutive 11 win seasons dead-on-Stewart-arrival. New head coach Bill Stewart was burned and hanged in the streets of Morgantown. And if you live in West Virgina and witnessed one of these mock executions, admit it, you went home and turned on the news to make sure Stewart was being burned and hanged in effigy and not in reality. Since these tumultuous hangings and burnings West Virginia has run off three straight home wins over Syracuse, Rutgers, and Marshall. Mountaineer fans remain unmoved. What's going to decide this game? Can Auburn's defensive line stifle the West Virginia running game. Pat White's only thrown for 590 yards, but he's finally healthy. But Auburn's first year defensive coordinator, Paul Rhoads, is heading back to the scene of his BCS crime last year, when his Pittsburgh defense knocked West Virginia out of the national championship game. No matter what happens it seems likely that at some point one of these teams will score a touchdown. If either team can manage, be still my beating heart, two touchdowns, then an offensive explosion has occurred. Don't believe me? The over/under on this game is 38. And you should take the under. Back in August this looked like a huge mid-season out-of-conference match-up of top 10 teams from the Big East and the SEC. Now? Now, it just looks like a fist fight between two fat girls over the grease left over in the corn on the cob tray.


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