Larry Burton (Syndicated Writer)
Kevin Norwood started the season with a touchdown and a goal line-crossing somersault. You haven't seen much of Norwood catching passes since then. The message is simple: Act like you've been there before.
With the season winding down, Alabama is finally beginning to play a team that's been there and done that before.
Auburn is looking like a team that relishes the spotlight and small victories, and overlooks the big picture.
In other words, they are playing like a team that shows they've never been there and done that, and in fact, they haven't.
Auburn is just barely beating teams that they should be putting away easily. They want to make more highlight moments and win personal battles than they show interest in doing what's best for the team and the big picture.
Case in point: stupid plays bordering on the dirty. The first is the questionable play of Nick Fairley, who was mentioned several times for late hits and questionable hits to the legs.
Fairley risked penalties and even ejection and suspension from the next game for such hits.
That did, in fact, happen to two Auburn players. Michael Goggans and Mike Blanc were ejected for throwing punches because of a fight that broke out because of Auburn's dirty play with just seconds left in the game.
That ejection also means that that Goggans, Auburn's defensive end, and Blanc, a defensive tackle, must sit out the first half of the next game, according to NCAA rules.
That just happens to be the most important game of their lives.
It shows utter stupidity on the part of the Auburn players for these actions. Auburn's defense has enough problems without having to sit out two good players for a half.
Also, Fairley will be on a very short leash himself and could be ejected from the Alabama game for the first questionable hit, as it was rumored that Georgia officials may file a grievance with the SEC about Fairley's questionable play.
In Saturday's contests, Alabama had 24 yards of penalties while Auburn tripled that number with 73. Alabama players controlled their temper and the top-20 Georgia Bulldogs, while Auburn's game against an unranked opponent was in jeopardy until the fourth quarter.
Such things usually come back to haunt you in big games. It's just one more reason to give the early nod to Alabama for this year's Iron Bowl.
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