Jeff's Journal - 12/31/04

The Auburn Tigers represent our state's last chance to win a bowl game.

UAB, Troy and Alabama are all coming back with nice watches, lifetime memories and a loss.

When's the last time the Crimson Tide, with its tradition of top-notch running backs (see Johnny Musso, Bobby Humphrey and Shaun Alexander), was outgained on the ground by a margin of more than 10 to 1?

The Golden Gophers' chewed up 276 rushing yards, to just 21 for the Crimson Tide.

True freshman Aaron Johns, who began the season listed 4th on the depth chart but was forced into action because of injuries to Ray Hudson, Tim Castille and Kenneth Darby, could muster 15 yards on just 6 carries.

Mike Shula needs another strong recruiting class and a healthier team in 2005. Bama fans want to be patient with the former Crimson Tide quarterback, but a few more 6-6 seasons will not be enough to satisfy the Bama nation.

For the Troy Trojans, simply appearing in a bowl game is a victory. Troy continues to improve its program. Renovated stadium. An upset over Missouri on national television. And now a bowl bid. No reason to believe the Trojans won't continue to build on this solid foundation.

We're off to New Orleans to cover the Tigers in the Sugar Bowl.

I've been asked if there's any way a convincing Auburn win could result in a share of the national championship.

I don't see how, unless Auburn beats Virginia Tech, 42-0, Oklahoma beats Southern Cal 7-6 in the Orange Bowl, and enough Associated Press pollsters want show their displeasure with the Bowl Championship Series.

Even then, how could you justify jumping Auburn over the undefeated Sooners (who would have just knocked off the top-ranked team)?

Looks like Auburn fans would have to settle for a perfect 13-0 season and a #2 ranking in both polls. If you would've asked Tiger fans back on Labor Day if they'd be happy with that, I doubt if you would've heard many "no's."

Making any New Year's Resolutions? Last year, I listed two in the Journal. I wanted to lay off desserts and read the One-Year Chronological Bible.

On the first count, I did pretty well, until the past two weeks, when my sweet tooth returned with a vengeance.

On the second count, I'm happy to say I'm on my last three pages of the Good Book, and it's been a tremendous blessing.

This year, now that I know it is possible to lay off desserts, I want to STAY OFF (beginning AFTER we return from the Crescent City, of course).

See you next year!

God bless - Jeff