All In. Not Alright.
Nails on a chalk-board. That sums up the 2012 season for the Auburn Tigers pretty well at this point. If you didn’t know any better, you would never guess that just twenty-one months ago this team walked off the field as victors in the BCS National Championship game in Phoenix, Arizona. To say things have gone south is a bit of an understatement.
2011 brought with it a much younger team than its previous senior-laden championship squad. The schedule was a tough one with the Tigers facing many tough SEC opponents on the road, but they found a way to get bowl-eligible and win 8 games. Fans were frustrated, but we had good-times coming and talent aplenty. Or so we thought. Cut to 2012 and a program seemingly on the brink of falling apart.
Gene Chizik made the unlikely transition from an unproven head coach with a 5-19 to Auburn hero. Now, he’s given reason for many to revisit his teams’ performances from every season he’s coached other than 2010. It’s a painful perspective, but an objective one. Chizik’s fall from grace is cut-throat college football in its purest form. Fans demand success, and when you deliver a national championship in year 2 it is hard to justify the on-field product of the Tigers at present.
The defense has continued to frustrate even the most patient of fans. Since Chizik arrived on the plains, it has been a weak link. Brian Van Gorder has done well thus far in 2012, but there’s still a prevailing sense that not many adjustments have been made. Pass-heavy offenses have given the Tigers absolute fits under Chizik, and there have not been many signs of improvement in this area.
Scott Loeffler’s offense has been abysmal. Lack of execution, lack of experience, and the transition to a new offense have all been factors in the Tigers woes on offense, but it’s not all that has given reason for concern to fans. Loeffler’s play-calling has been curious at best. At times it hasn’t appeared to have any real direction at all. The offense has displayed all of the range and dexterity of a fatigued sloth, but with none of the cuteness. Weekly World News isn’t even comfortable reporting the existence of Auburn’s offense right now.
Another issue that Auburn simply can’t get away from is discipline off the field. There have been numerous off the field incidents involving players. The alarming consistency of these lead many to believe that Chizik does not have full control of this football team. While I’d like to think better of him, it is hard not to wonder why we keep having so many issues with this. We are essentially the mullet of SEC football. Business in the front with Chizik’s all vanilla, non-revealing coach-speak and party in the back with our players seeming to only yield slightly to any form of authority they face.
It’s ok to look away. It’s ok to mute the TV. It’s even ok to only listen to the radio broadcast while you do something else. Just don’t give up or turn on this football team. Auburn’s detractors have plenty of ammunition as it is, and Auburn people aren’t quitters. As fans, we have to lighten up at this point. Think of the rest of the season as the fan-version of ‘casual Friday’ except with more adult beverages and less of a chance for being sent to human resources for a write-up.
Auburn plays Ole Miss tomorrow in Oxford. If the thought of another SEC road game makes you cringe, fear not. I’ve provided a creative way to pass the time in case the Tigers continue to search for answers against the Rebels. It’s everyone conspiracy theorist’s favorite rogue Auburn booster, Milton McGregor, and he’s finally bringing bingo to Auburn football. I know you’ve all been holding your breath.
Starting at top left and running left to right on each line; mark each square if a certain square is mentioned or occurs during the game. If you get a bingo there will be a replica Brian Van Gorder mustache under your pillow when you wake up Sunday morning:
1. The Col. Reb/Blackbear mascot confusion/controversy is mentioned or explained.
2. Bo Jackson reference.
3. Tailgating in the grove is highlighted.
4. Eli Manning reference.
5. Onterio McCalebb runs a sweep that has no chance of working.
6. Auburn muffs a punt.
7. Auburn’s recent struggles are recapped via ‘lowlight’ reel.
8. Cam Newton reference. Maybe a nod to his touchdown catch here 2 years ago?
9. Scott Loeffler’s play-calling gets so bad it causes your brain physical pain.
10. You find yourself missing Brandon Cox.
11. You spot Shepard Smith in the crowd. Good God he’s creep looking.
12. Kiehl Frazier starts at quarterback.
13. FREE SPACE!
14. You find yourself missing Tommy Tuberville.
15. Touchdown Auburn!
16. Thunderfoot Cody Parkey kicks a touchback.
17. Someone watching the game with you wonders out loud where Jay Prosch is.
18. You Trooper Taylor wave his towel.
19. Auburn is mistakenly referred to as the “War Eagles.”
20. Michael Oher/’The Blindside’ reference. Helloooooo Sandra Bullock!
21. Auburn rushes for a touchdown.
22. Auburn passes for a touchdown.
23. Wallace Wildcat Touchdown!
24. Corey Lemonier sacks the Ole Miss quarterback.
25. Clint Moseley starts at quarterback.