Like many of you, I've been torn up about the Auburn loss. Torn up because...well, we know who the defense is. They did what they do. But I can't quite figure out whether the offense did its job. So instead of writing my own personal thoughts about it, I thought I'd engage Aggie offense aficionado mattywatty01 for a bit of point/counterpoint. This is going to be a series after each Aggie loss which hopefully means we'll never ever have to do it ever again.
Matt took the position that yes, the Aggie offense did their job, and I took the counterpoint. We flipped a coin to see who would go first, and I won, so I deferred to the response. We came up with a few areas where we agreed to help us focus the conversation:
1) The defense needs work.
2) Johnny did everything he could to win.
3) Special teams were not a factor in the loss.
4) Auburn is well coached on both sides of the ball.
So with those areas of agreement in mind, I give you our responses to the question Did the Aggie offense do their job?
Whenstringsays came to me with the idea of doing a point/counterpoint, I immediately said yes, without even thinking of the likely fact that he chose me because he figured I'd be the easiest idiot to defeat in this type of debate. So like any good competitor, let me start by completely cheating and arbitrarily changing the rules and moving the goal posts (something the Aggie defense might want to consider).
The question posed to me was "did the Aggie offense do its job?" Seeing as how I think their job is to score a touchdown every time they get the ball, just like the defense's job is to prevent the other team from ever scoring, the quick and obvious answer to that is that no, they didn't do their job with 100% effectiveness. I'm the first to admit that the Aggie offense left points on the board, shot themselves in the foot, looked choppy and sloppy at times, and didn't score enough to win. So here's where I cheat and answer the question "did the Aggie offense put up a performance that should have been enough to win?" And I say yes.
Look, this might sound simplistic and this has been said by myriad people on message boards in the past couple of days, but 41 points at home against a team not named Oregon should be enough to win. Maybe this is lame, but my answer is that while the offense left points on the board, the defense is to blame. Because again, 41 points at home is enough. Or at least it should be enough. Auburn's offense isn't bad, but they hadn't scored 40 points against an FBS team all season until Saturday. Nor had they gained more than 470 yards. Meanwhile, our offense put up more points and yards than Auburn's defense had allowed all season. So what do I ask from our offense? Well, if they score more points on that week's opponent than any team has scored on them all year, that's more than enough. It's unfair to ask for or expect perfection from our offense. All I ask for, if you want a number, is 40 points. If we are losing games while scoring 40+, then we must look to the other side of ball if we want to assign blame. Triple stamp, no erasies, touch blue make it true.
Matt, I hate you for changing the question but I will go with it. My contention is no, the Aggie offense did not put up enough points to win the game because we did not win the game. And I know that that statement is a bit simplistic and moronic (then again, so am I), but let's dive deeper into what I mean.
First off, we have to stop looking at the ideal situation or what should work on paper. Should 41 points be enough to win a game in the SEC on paper? Sure. Why not? But the truth of the matter is that this makes two games (at Kyle field no less) in which we've scored 41-42 points and haven't gotten the win. So, I think that obviously means that given the abilities, strengths, and weaknesses of this particular team, 41 points is not enough, game-in and game-out, to win. Does it work sometimes? Sure, but it's just not enough. Additionally, if you average all the points we've put up per game this year you get 46.8... so technically this was a below average game for our offense. We put up 46 and we win.
Secondly, the reality is that our defense is still probably a year or two away from being able to turn in consistently positive performances. But look at what they did in the second quarter. They forced Auburn to punt three straight times... then when Auburn got the ball to start the second half, we forced them to punt again. I know that we gave up three straight TDs to end the game, but come on. If our defense gives us four straight three and outs, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect our offense to get at least 20 points off of that. But we managed all of 10. The offense did not do its job.
Lastly, let's look at that last drive. I'm not a betting man, but if you tell me that Johnny has the ball with under two minutes, and all three TOs with decent field position, I'm taking our offense putting up points every single time. But on that last drive, with three TOs left, we managed 22 yards on 7 plays. Read that again. 22 yards on 7 plays. That's ridiculous.
I won't get into playcalling (which I still think is disjointed and doesn't take advantage of our strengths), but I feel like I've made the case that the answer to the question "did the Aggie offense put up a performance that should have been enough to win" is no. We didn't do enough to win. 41 points is not good enough for this team to expect to win.
So now that both sides have made their points, I leave it to you loyal readers. Vote for your position on whether the offense did enough. And please, comment with your thoughts below because, quite frankly, mattywatty and I are nothing more than trained monkeys who happen to have keyboards.