Wednesday, November 09, 2005


With apologies to the valiant 1988 presidential campaign of The Right Reverend Jesse Jackson, my theme for the Annual Renewal of the South's Oldest Rivalry is "Keep Pope Alive." In a nutshell, if Leonard Pope has 4 or more catches, the Dawgs will win.

This season, Pope caught 4 against UT, 3 against everyone else except Vandy (1) and Florida (2). I almost made the over/under 3 catches, but I think 4 or more seals the deal. Indeed, Pope hauled in 3 last year at Auburn and it was not enough. In the Dawgs only other loss in 2004, Pope caught only one ball against UT. While I anxiously await Kyle King's preponderance of statistical analysis due Thursday, I will boldly state that the only statistic that you will need to watch Saturday is the number of catches for the big Junior out of Americus. Or, maybe it is not so bold since the Dawgs have never lost when Pope has caught 4 or more passes. (Please don't bother me about the sample size of my statistical data, I slept through Stats and was happy to escape with a C.)

Throwing to Pope means first downs. Throwing to Pope keeps linebackers and safeties looking around for #81, loosening the coverage over the top for potential deep balls. Throwing to Pope can beat the blitz and soften the defense against the run. Throwing to Pope allows us to watch a man 6'7" and 250 lbs run over helpless 180 lb CBs - which is good sport in and of itself. Can there be any doubt but that we must throw the ball to Pope! Oh, and throw it to Milner as well. He will catch it this week.

If we hear Larry Munson saying, "Pope, Pope, Pope, all night long it has been Pope, Pope, Pope," we will surely hear the Chapel Bell ringing by 11:00 pm.

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