1. I'll get the worst part out of the way--that was a heartbreaker. We had every chance to win that game. Auburn practically tried to give it to us at the beginning of the fourth quarter. They fumble in the redzone and we fail to recover on what very well could have been a runback for a TD if we had fielded it cleanly. Then they get a TD waved off on a flag. Then they miss a chipshot FG. And then the rest of the fourth quarter happened and we made their mistakes look trivial in comparison. Completely dejecting.
2. I strongly disagreed with Steve Spurrier's choice to put in Conner Shaw. It's not so much that I didn't think Stephen Garcia deserved it; let's not beat around the bush--Garcia lost that game for us, and it's quickly becoming apparent that he remains the same liability that he's always been. In fact, I think he worries me now just as much as he did late in 2008, which was truly a lowpoint in terms of my confidence in our QB situation.
That said, I don't think it was a good idea to insert young Connor into a pressure-cooker situation like this. I just don't see how you can place the burden of having to dig the team out of an eight-point hole while you're on the road in one of the country's most hostile atmospheres.
That said, if Spurrier wants to start Shaw against Alabama, I'm fine with that. He made some freshman mistakes while he was in, but he looked quite good at some points, and you can't blame him too much for throwing into coverage considering that we had to sell out to score the TD. Shaw is the future. Maybe it's time to give him the reins and see what he can do, because it doesn't look like Garcia is ever going to be any better than he is now, and that's simply not good enough to take us to the promised land.
3. This was one of the worst defensive performances we've seen in quite some time. Granted, a lot of credit goes to the Auburn offense, which has boatloads of talent and is well coached and gameplanned by Malzahn and his crew. However, we have lots of talent and experience on defense and a good coach to boot, and we got used today. We essentially only stopped Auburn once all game. Auburn hurt itself a couple of times with fumbles and penalties, but other than that they had their way, especially in the second half when our defense was sucking wind and they were able to get their run game cranked up. Johnson needs to make some adjustments, quick. He might start by benching Chris Culliver.
4. The season isn't over. This one hurts, but it was a road loss to a good team. It happens. We need to regroup and try to figure out a way to beat Alabama. It can be done and we can still make it to Atlanta.