The Dye-Log: Tigers Making Progress

Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye gives his opinions about Auburn and SEC football in his column.

Looking at Auburn's 2011 football season the Tigers head into November with three losses, all coming to teams that are ranked above Auburn with ratings one of one, seven and eleven in this week's BCS standings. The Tigers have a victory over the ninth-ranked BCS team, Coach Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks.


Auburn has won all of the games it is supposed to win plus one it wasn't supposed to win by beating the Gamecocks on the road. Looking at the perspective of Auburn's whole season, I am happy with where the Tigers are now as they prepare for their third month of games.

I also believe this team is getting better. I think that happened on Saturday night in the 41-23 victory over Ole Miss. I know your competition has a lot to do with the way you look sometimes, and Ole Miss has struggled, but I still think that Auburn's offensive line grew vs. Ole Miss, particularly in the second half.

With Auburn having an off-week giving the players extra time to rest, get healthy and prepare for their next road trip to Georgia, I think the Tigers should be ready to go to Athens and give the Bulldogs their best shot. That game should be a challenge for Auburn because in my opinion Georgia is the third most physical team in the SEC this season behind Alabama and LSU.

Auburn should head to Athens with momentum from what I thought was a good performance vs. Ole Miss, and a great performance at quarterback by Clint Moseley. I think how he played vs. the Rebels will do wonders for his confidence and wonders for the team's confidence. It was a very encouraging night for the Tigers.

Elsewhere around the SEC, the Arkansas at Vanderbilt game was very interesting. Vandy should have won, but one turnover produced a 14-point swing and was devastating to the Commodores, who also missed a chip shot field goal at the end to tie it.

Vanderbilt is kind of snakebit, I guess. Maybe Vandy has got to win some of those to gain the confidence to win more of those types of games in the future. At times it looks like it is hard for the Commodores to get over the hump, but I think their coaches are doing a good job this season. I was impressed with the quarterback, who is making that team more dangerous.

I thought Georgia would beat Florida in a big game for the Bulldogs and that happened, even with John Brantley returning at quarterback for the Gators. Brantley helped Florida in the first half, but in the second half he was totally ineffective, which had a tremendous bearing on the outcome of the game.

Georgia's physical play finally wore down the Gators and that was the difference in the ball game. The SEC is a speed league, and Florida has got speed, but you have to man up, too, and in my opinion Georgia kind of took control of the game in the late stages of the fourth quarter.

Mississippi State and Kentucky were both looking for their first conference victory. It wasn't surprising that the Bulldogs won that matchup. Early in the season Mississippi State was a better team than it is now, but the Bulldogs are still too strong for the struggling Wildcats.

There was a heck of a game out in College Station matching the SEC's two newcomers. Missouri, which is expected to be announced as the SEC's 14th team, rallied to beat Texas A&M, which will be the SEC's 13th team, in what was an entertaining contest that wasn't decided until overtime.

Another overtime game that was a good one to watch featured Stanford pulling out a victory over Southern Cal. I was impressed with both teams, especially on offense, and I can't argue with anybody who says that Andrew Luck is a great quarterback. The way he led his team down the stretch, bouncing back from throwing a late interception that was returned for a touchdown, says a lot about Luck's mental toughness.

The team that was a major disappointment a week earlier, Wisconsin, did it again with a loss to Ohio State. I thought the Badgers had a chance to finish undefeated and they must not be as good as I thought they were.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.

Pat Dye's Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve and Lodge

Pat Dye's Quail Hollow Gardens

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