Perhaps never before has the swath between the Alabama and Auburn football teams been so wide. Just 21 months after sitting atop the mountain, the Auburn football program has arrived at such a low that a few fans at Saturday night's game actually wore bags over their heads. And to think Halloween isn't until Wednesday. Meanwhile, the top-ranked Crimson Tide team is frightening for a different reason: No one wants to play them.
Let me begin with the Nightmare on Donahue Drive: The Auburn Tigers looked like dead men walking in their 63-21 loss to Texas A&M. By halftime, the Aggies had scored on 7 of their first 8 drives, chalked up 464 yards of total offense and led the Tigers 42-7. A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel played only one series of the second half and took the rest of the night off. So did thousands of Auburn fans. By intermission, the upper deck and one end zone had all but cleared out, and by the start of the fourth quarter, the Tiger faithful walked zombie-like out of the stadium and left the coaches and players inside to be scared straight.
When the massacre was over, the Tigers had given up a school record 671 yards, allowed the most points in a game in 32 years, and suffered their worst loss since 1917. Now comes the slow and painful exit of head coach Gene Chizik and most likely athletic director Jay Jacobs. Good men, but men who have been ineffective in many ways.
Across the state, opponents of the Crimson Tide are running scared. This team frightens even the toughest of teams. Bama has outscored opponents in the first quarter 104-3 this season. The team is 45-0 under Nick Saban when rushing for over 150 yards. The Tide has won 21 of their last 22 games, and has trailed for a total of 15 seconds this season. Saturday's 38-7 beating of a team somehow ranked 11th in the nation was downright goulish. Now the Crimson Tide heads to Baton Rouge, where the Tigers have won 22 straight games and Les Miles sports a 57-5 record at night.
The Tide and the Tigers: Two scary teams for very different reasons. It's just something to ponder as you head into Halloween week. If your child is still looking for a costume to wear on Wednesday night, go ahead and dress the kid up as an Alabama or Auburn football player. Your child will scare the heck out of everyone for totally different reasons.