I know basketball will never come close to reaching the level of excitement that Auburn football generates in a good year, but don’t you feel like you’re missing out on something?
With Auburn and school officials choosing to sit out another season of competitive SEC play, all fans had to look forward to this weekend were the NFL Combine and Auburn baseball taking on the likes of Middle Tennessee State and the College of Charleston.
Hell, I’d rather sit through an entire night at the Oscars than be subjected to those two events. No offense to John Pawlowski and company. I love you, but wake me up when the real season starts.
If Ole Miss can build a basketball program, why can’t Auburn? With the Tigers on the way to perhaps its worst season in a generation, athletic director Jay Jacobs continues to voice support for embattled coach Tony Barbee.
“We have to be patient,” wrote Jacobs last week to Tiger Unlimited members.
“Coach Barbee recently said we have to change the culture to elevate our program to a new level. History says he is right.”
Jacobs even compared the current plight to that of Sonny Smith who came more than 25 years earlier. “Our history says we can be successful in basketball, but it also says we have to be patient.”
I would also add that comparing Auburn basketball today with that of a former coach who walked the courts during the Reagan administration is moronic at best.
Despite proclaiming before the season that this year’s team was his best, Barbee has now lost 11 of its last 12 games. They’ve lost four of their last five home games and have been beaten by 30 or more points in two of its last three games.
Anybody that reads my weekly columns know I’m no fan of Jacobs. I just don’t get it. Since taking over nearly 10 years ago, Auburn has seen drastic declines in all four its major sports. Football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball are all in significantly worse shape than when he inherited it.
Take the 2010 football season out of the equation and you realize this has been one of the darkest periods in Auburn history. Yet Jacobs continues to thrive. It’s one of the damndest things I’ve witnessed in my lifetime.
I’m still amazed that those who give the most to the athletic department hardly complain (at least publicly) about coughing up $7 million to let Gene Chizik sit home and watch Ellen every day at 3 o’clock.
If my hard earned money was going toward covering Jacobs’ mistakes, I believe I’d demand a change. I was only on the hook for three sets of season tickets this past season, and I still feel violated.
The good news is the basketball season is nearly complete and some will begin buying into Barbee’s promises for 2014. He’ll undoubtedly sign several blue chippers in the off-season who’ll not qualify academically and Jacobs will swear the culture is changing.
Meanwhile, both he and Barbee will pocket another couple of million dollars and the beat will go on.
It’s a good gig if you can get it – and keep it.
Tags: Auburn basketball, Auburn blogs, Auburn Sports, auburn Tigers, jay jacobs, Tony Barbee