Statistics 101 with Dr. Welch

Published 11:03 pm Thursday, September 25, 2008

Statistics can be a funny thing sometimes.

They are often presented in paper form as a means of identifying patterns, dropping fans’ jaws or brightening or darkening the real story they are linked with.

For example, one baseball player can swing a bat 10 times a season and finish with a .500 batting average.

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Is he looked at as a batter who hit .500 or one who happened to step to the plate 10 times and got lucky five times?

But for the Auburn Tigers, unfortunately, some statistics never lie.

Their loss to LSU, statistically, was the death knell to their hopes of capturing the SEC West title.

Why you ask?

The loser of the annual clash between the Tigers and the, um, Tigers has never won the division.

All three times Auburn won the division, they beat LSU en route to the title. All four times LSU won it, the win over Auburn was pivotal.

The .500 batter, or the lucky guy who got 10 swings? Auburn hopes for the latter.

Meanwhile, Alabama continues to look impressive.

Nick Saban was expected to turn the Tide around quickly, but this quickly?

I’m not jumping on the “‘Bama is back” bandwagon just yet, though.

Saturday’s matchup with Georgia will give us a better feel than a win over an outmatched Arkansas team or a Clemson team that has only played one FBS team since getting drilled in Atlanta.

Georgia has proven it is far from the machine it was hyped to be in the preseason (another reason I hate preseason polls) as the Bulldogs have looked average — if not weak — in wins over South Carolina and Arizona State.

They are obviously not taking the Tide lightly, given their marketing of black shirts, jerseys, caps, socks and God knows what else to black out Sanford Stadium.

Or maybe the athletic department needs money. Who knows?

One thing is for certain. This weekend is huge for both of Alabama’s SEC teams.

The Tide can make a statement, and the Tigers begin their task of disproving statistics.