A Huge Month for Auburn Football

By Posted on: October 1st, 2012 in Football 12 Comments »
chizik sidelines

The success of any Auburn season is typically measured by what happens at Amen Corner, those final games of the season that include Georgia and Alabama. When you start off 1-3, you just hope to make it that far in one piece.

Never in Auburn’s history have upcoming games with non-marquee teams like Arkansas, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt meant so much. Yet that’s where Gene Chizik’s team finds itself this week with Arkansas coming to town.

The noon kickoff speaks volumes about the direction of both programs. It would have been hard to imagine back in August the significance of a game involving two teams with combined records of 2-7.

A win on Saturday, followed by road wins over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt means Auburn welcomes Texas A&M in late October with a winning record. Lose one or more and bowl opportunities become scarce.

A loss to any of these three teams likely ignites a fire under Chizik not seen in these parts since 2008. Plain and simple, these are must wins, and they should be.

While significant progress was made in the loss to LSU, it has become apparent during the off week, that a close defeat is not near enough to make up for what happened in September.

Despite a national championship, three top10 recruiting classes and a Heisman Trophy winner, this coaching staff must still deal with these stats: 1-2 vs. Arkansas; 1-2 vs. LSU; 1-2 vs. Georgia; 1-2 vs. Alabama.

Having to go on the road next season against three of the four, makes winning this year all the more important. Even with 2010, it’s impossible to imagine a coach sticking around should he go 1-4 against even three of his four rivals.

That’s why Saturday is so important. It not only sets the stage for the rest of the year, but more importantly the future – one that right now looks cloudy at best.

On the bright side, after a weekend of watching football, it’s apparent that Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama are not nearly as good as ESPN wants you to believe. I’m not suggesting Auburn will roll out of Bryant-Denny with a win, but games with Texas A&M and Georgia could be winnable with a strong October.

I’ll stop short of suggesting that October is Chizik’s last stand; that would be stupid. But it’s pretty damn important.

Without question, he returns in 2013, regardless of what happens the rest of the way. But it’s hard to imagine things getting significantly better without a strong showing this month.

It’s time to put September behind us and focus on a big October. With only one win to-date, these next three games are much more significant than the opponents name on the marquee.

It’s about the future.

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  1. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Brother, you ain’t kidding. Auburn will be lucky. LUCKY to be 6-6 this season. And I am ok with that because I see how terrible we are at offense. Until the LSU game we were equally bad at defense. There is no getting around it.

    I worry for Coach Chizik but the good thing for him is that he has a huge buy out this year so I think he will be safe. But next year… not so sure. I hope things change for him. He is an honorable guy. But even honorable men have to be accountable for poor play in the game of college football.

    WDE

  2. Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

    Well said, Jay. I think it is a big misconception that a National Championship awards a coach a ‘blank check’ if you will, to buy himself as much time is needed. Well everyone and everything has a price. I’m not saying Chizik has run out of time, but we may closing in on the exact amount fans are willing to tolerate a coach’s issues after winning the big one.

    War Eagle! Beat Arkansas!

  3. aub5710 says:

    Hopefully Chizik will start lighting the fires underneath the Coordinators before he has the fire ignited under him. Seems like BVG is on the way to making the necessary adjustments on the defense. SL seems to be calling the same plays over and over, mainly on 1st downs that seem to put us in 2nd and 10 or 15. Hopefully the coaching staff will remember the history of games against Arkansas (2-7 when played before 1pm cst). That would be great to beat that history and beats the Hogs to get that first SEC win and get the team fired up for the remainder of the October stretch heading into November.

  4. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    If our coaching staff can’t out-coach John L. Smith…..we are in serious trouble.

    I need some Tylenol…..

    • audude audude says:

      Ditto…

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      TOTM, if AU can’t beat ARK, we are in some serious doo doo.

      Considering that the man (John L.) was and is a nut job… what would that say about Chizik? No matter how you slice it, CGC wouldn’t fair well and I think as a result our recruiting would take a dive. Oh,maybe not this year… absolutely next year for sure. That has been a plus for Chizik – even with 8-5 records (outside of 2010). But even with this success its obvious that something isn’t happening with our staff and the preparation of players as our 1-3 record would indicate. I can understand Clemson and LSU (to a degree)… but MSU? I was there. It was disgusting.

      Not to mention the obvious… but ‘up the road’ they must be recruiting pro players who just look 18. The good news is that we did perform better against LSU. Obviously the boys didn’t pull a ‘last year’… and we competed. The bad news is how much has LSU dropped since the NC game last year? Bama has only gotten better. Ah, well, we will know soon enough.

      WDE

  5. autizzer says:

    I don’t see how its a big month if he’s for sure coming back next year. This year doesnt really matter. It just gives them some game experience. I think that’s why he brought in the new coordinators, he knows he’s not gonna get fired this year because of 2010. So he can take this rebuilding year and try to compete for a title next year, or so we think

  6. jstrib jstrib says:

    I think Coach Chiz is fine this year and maybe next, but without big strides his seat gets real warm real quick.

  7. autizzer says:

    The thinking is if we go 5-7 or 6-6 this year, next year a improvement would be 7-5 or 8-4. That’s not good enough when u have what will prolly be 4 top 10 recruiting classes and one of the highest paid coaching staffs in the country.

    • WarEagleAtlanta WarEagleAtlanta says:

      Makes you wonder whether we’re really getting top 10 classes or if we’re developing them to their full potential.

      • wde1988 wde1988 says:

        WEA, I have heard this in many venues as of late. Mostly by folks comparing us to our cousins up the road. I have to admit, there is an obvious difference and honestly its hard to argue against it when the guy is about to get back to back titles.

        My only hope for this season is that AU competes. LOL. Funny but sad too. A huge change from AU wins.

        WDE

      • Bren Dekura Bren Dekura says:

        This is my issue with the coaching staff. The staff seems to lack the ability to develop players to their full potential. I understand that perhaps some in the recruiting classes might not develop into great players, but surely not everyone was wrong on the amount of potential these young men possess. This lack of development mainly applies to the defense in my opinion. Thankfully, we’ve seen them get better as the season progresses, yet we still see poor angles, atrocious tackling, and a supposed ‘lack of ability’ to play press coverage.

        Auburn’s offense appears to be another story. What we’ve got there is a relatively young O-line along with a new starter at QB, and an apparent RB by committee. My issue with the offense isn’t necessarily the inexperience and neither do I believe it’s a lack of talent. In all honesty, it’s my opinion that the issues arise from the play-calling and personnel choices. How long do you think it will take Loeffler to use one of his ‘real’ RB in Mason and Blakeley behind his All-American FB? This is what should be used to setup the outside runs by OMac. Perhaps it would even take pressure off of Frazier in the passing game if we //gasp// establish the run. Unfortunately, having a real job, Loeffler can’t claim inexperience for his lackluster performances. I believe this is where the problems lie. Ultimately, Chizik has to recognize and rectify these issues or he is gone.