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Auburn cornerback Chris Davis returns a missed field goal attempt 100-plus yards to score the winning touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter against top-ranked Alabama. Auburn won 34-28. (Associated Press)

Auburn cornerback Chris Davis returns a missed field goal attempt 100-plus yards to score the winning touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter against top-ranked Alabama. Auburn won 34-28. (Associated Press)

If the Saints can win on road, anything possible

Last Modified: Monday, January 06, 2014 12:29 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

If the Saints can win a road game, then maybe Auburn can win the SEC’s eighth straight BCS title against Florida State tonight.
That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.
The Saints even lost to the Rams and Jets on the road and Auburn started the season picked to finish fifth in the SEC West, not exactly high up on the radar.
But if the Saints can win a road playoff game, then maybe it doesn’t matter to Auburn that the anointed SEC team has never been a 10-point underdog during this national championship streak.
Frankly, I did not give the Saints, who you may have heard had never won a road playoff game, much of chance in Philadelphia and when I saw Auburn lose to LSU — its only loss – I fi gured the former would be on the road to Shreveport before it chartered a jet to the Rose Bowl.
If the Saints can win a road playoff game with temperatures in the low 20s, then surely Auburn can win the fi nal game of the BCS format, which the SEC invented and constantly tinkered with.
The Saints, we thought, were a classic dome team not accustomed to icicles on their whiskers, preferring climate-controlled conditions for their fi nesse. Now it appears they wouldn’t mind playing next week in Nome, Alaska, if the NFL decreed it. Nobody can fi gure out how Auburn sneaked into the BCS game but the Tigers were stiffed in 2004 with a perfect record. So the system owes them one.
If the Saints can win a road playoff game in front of Philadelphia’s nasty folk, then maybe Auburn really is a team of destiny.
That Saints win, considering the atmosphere, was as gutsy as anything they’ve ever pulled off including the Super Bowl. Auburn, I hear, is starting to take offense to the “destiny” tag and wants to be judged straight up, for its skills, against the Seminoles. Good luck with that one.
If the Saints can win mostly because of their defense, then Auburn may well discover the forward pass against the Seminoles tonight.
It’s taking some getting used to with the Saints, who have always tried to work around their defense, but the truth is this a really good unit, particularly up front, that just stuffed the NFL’s leading rushing team for 80 yards on the ground. Auburn must be thinking a reformed defensive back, Nick Marshall, can light up the Seminoles secondary too.
If the Saints can hang on and win with Rod Sweeting in the secondary, then maybe Auburn hasn’t used up its ration of miracles just yet.
Apparently in the kinder, gentler and lawsuit-conscious NFL, knowing what day it is and what city you’re in is not enough to pass the concussion test. And it almost looked unfair for Sweeting to have to replace the dazed Keenan Lewis at cornerback. That’s the part the Saints had to work around defensively and somehow pulled it off. And who knows? Maybe the Prayer in Jordan-Hare (Georgia) and The Return (Alabama) were just warmup acts.
If the Saints can win with Drew Brees putting them in the hole with two costly interceptions on poor decisions then maybe there’s something to Auburn’s running game, which has still yet to be defi ned.
Brees recovered nicely in the second half, but his biggest key plays all seemed to be quarterback sneaks. Where’d that come from? Auburn’s running game looks like smoke and mirrors, but the SEC’s two best defenses, Alabama and Missouri, were no match for it. Just saying.
If the running game can be the key to the Saints’ offense in a victory, then maybe it won’t matter that Florida State has had a month to prepare for whatever it is that Auburn does on offense.
Brees threw only one pass in the game-winning drive, which I’m sure is the way you would have predicted it. There’s a theory out there that whatever Auburn is doing with that deceptive running game is too similar to the wishbones that don’t fare well in bowl games when teams have ample time to study and decipher them.
If Mark Ingram can arguably be the Saints’ offensive MVP against the Eagles, then maybe it’s not a given that FSU’s Jameis Winston will be the big star in tonight’s title game.
Yeah, it still makes no sense for the Saints to let Chris Ivory get away, but that No. 1 draft pick on Ingram isn’t looking as wasted anymore. In the last month or so, Ingram has been proving us doubters wrong and, while the effort was always there, maybe the talent is starting to rise to the top. He was an unlikely stud Saturday. Auburn can take hope that Heisman Trophy winners rarely fare well in the BCS title game.
If the Saints can win a game this year, any game, on a field goal then you must assume Florida State will be somewhat careful about how long it risks a field goal attempt against Auburn.
OK, the Saints changed kickers, but we hardly knew Shayne Graham and would anybody in Louisiana have been breathing Saturday night if Garrett Hartley had been lining up back there with the season on the line.
As for long field goal attempts against Auburn, just ask Nick Saban

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