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Thursday Night in the SEC: Auburn at West Virginia

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Meme of the week: What a game this could have been, this match-up between Auburn and West Virginia (7:30 p.m., ESPN; TSK Open Thread begins at 7 p.m.). Preseason, you know, these teams were supposed to be national title contenders, and now ... well, now they're not very good.

At least we think so. Strike that. We know so with Auburn, which is such an abysmal team on offense that their solid defense really doesn't matter.

We think so with West Virginia, but the'Eers actually come into this game on a three-game winning streak following the early-season, back-to-back upsets at East Carolina and Colorado. That said, the three wins came against Marshall, Rutgers and Syracuse. The season could go up or down for West Virginia based on what happens in Morgantown this evening.

The total offense numbers aren't great for West Virginia, though they're not anywhere as bad as Auburn's. The Mountaineers rank 79th, despite averaging 224.8 ypg on the ground and having a decently efficient passer in Pat White (147.83 rating). Of course, they haven't asked White to do much -- they never really have -- so the passing attack is only averaging 117.3 ypg.

The striking thing about the Mountaineers is how thoroughly mediocre the team is. Most of West Virginia's numbers tend to fall in that middling range between 38th and 79th in the country.

Auburn, as any SEC reader of this blog should know, is simply awful. They have a good enough defense (14th total, 9th scoring), but it's painful to watch the offense play: 69th rushing, 105th passing, 107th total. West Virginia is likely tempted to pummel Auburn for embarrassing the "spread offense" concept that made the 'Eers a contender.

Auburn will managed to slow down both West Virginia's offense and their own; this is a game someone is winning by scoring a touchdown and a couple of field goals. That's exactly what the Mountaineers do.

West Virginia 13, Auburn 10