In American history, heading West is a action of hope. Those settlers who could not carve out a prosperous spot for themselves or their families could simply pick up and move west for more open land, for hope of a better life, for Manifest Destiny. The West became an idealized place of opportunity that offered the chance to begin anew, despite past failures and shortcomings.
For SEC teams, however, the West should have a different connotation. It has been a place of ambush and scalping. Since the conference went to twelve teams in 1992, the SEC has a record of 3-7 in Pac-10 stadiums. Here are the numbers:
- 1994 - Tennessee loses at UCLA
- 1997 - Tennessee wins at UCLA
- 2000 - Alabama loses at UCLA
- 2002 - Auburn loses at (5) Southern Cal, Mississippi State loses at Oregon
- 2003 - LSU wins at Arizona
- 2005 - LSU wins at (15) Arizona State, Arkansas loses at (1) Southern Cal
- 2007 - Tennessee loses at (12) California
- 2008 - Tennessee loses at UCLA
I just bring this up to show that our brethern's wagon trains have been ambushed by natives in the past. In some of those games, the Southern boys were just clearly outmatched, like Arkansas getting smashed to a fine powder and blown into the Santa Ana winds by Southern Cal. But, you can't tell me that Alabama and Tennessee had any business losing some of those games to UCLA. I also note that in 2005 an LSU team bursting at the seams with NFL talent, needed a last second heave and controversial catch to hold off an Arizona State team that finished 7-5.
There all all sorts of possible explanations, but the one that's often brought up is the time change. Coach Richt doesn't think there's anything to this. The Dawgs are leaving on Friday instead of flying out Thursday for a brief acclimation period. Ron Courson agrees after talking to teams that headed into the desert. To us, it should feel like a night game, playing at eight eastern.
Time change or not, I think we have too many rifles and smallpox infested blankets for the natives to survive. Plus, Richt still has that freakish record at opponent's home stadiums. After last week, he's 26-4 on the road.