By Jay Coulter (firstname.lastname@example.org) on September 5, 2012
How big is Saturday’s game at Miss State? Like it or not, it’s pretty damn big. We’ve been hearing it all week and it’s true. Might as well embrace it.
There’s no arguing the direction of this football program. Its last four recruiting classes have been among the nation’s best. From top to bottom, it has one of the best coaching staffs money can buy. There hasn’t been talent this deep at Auburn since Pat Dye roamed the sidelines.
Auburn fans have been patient. They’ve bought into Gene Chizik’s plan. Now they must give him time – more time.
A week into the season, the state media has already begun questioning Chizik’s direction.
Just yesterday, Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky pointed out that Chizik was 16-11 in games played without Cam Newton.
How idiotic is that statement?
That’s like saying Vince Dooley was a lesser coach because he had Herschel Walker or Urban Meyer was a phony because most of his wins came with Tim Tebow.
By now, Chizik has grown accustomed to the moronic statements made by some writers. It’s important that fans see it the same way.
Against the backdrop of Alabama’s rise back to the top of the polls, Auburn heads to Starkville Saturday to take on a team that’s as dangerous as they come. Auburn should win the game. It’s expected to win. But it’s far from guaranteed.
What transpires in East Mississippi on Saturday morning will go a long way in determining the 2012 season, but not Chizik’s tenure.
Things may get worse before they get better.
The last time Auburn started 0-2 was back in 2003. Tommy Tuberville hobbled to an 8-5 finish against a much weaker SEC. Dye’s 1984 team lost to Miami and Texas to start the season and finished 9-4.
This year’s edition will have a much tougher time hitting either of those marks should they come up short Saturday. That’s life in the SEC.
There was plenty to like in Atlanta on Saturday. There was a lot of ugly mixed in with it too. There will be naysayers in the coming weeks who will question whether Chizik and staff are one hit wonders. A loss Saturday and the stories will come fast and furious.
No one is conceding Saturday – far from it. Auburn should win and likely will win. Regardless, Auburn people must continue to maintain perspective and patience. This team may shock everyone. Then again, it may struggle like last season.
But don’t lose the forest for the trees on this one. This Auburn team is close to being back. It may or may not be this season; but it’s not far from competing for national titles.
Trust Chizik, not Kevin Scarbinsky.
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