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Auburn Had to Give Up Something

By on May 5th, 2014 in Baseball, Football 16 Comments »
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It seems most Auburn fans are satisfied. I guess I see it as a missed opportunity. When league members agreed on the 8-game conference format preserving its long-time rivalries, fans across the state cheered.

Alabama gets to keep its annual rivalry with Tennessee and Auburn continues playing Georgia. That’s the good news. On the flip side, the idea of finishing on the road in Athens and Tuscaloosa during even years, gives me concern.

Believed to be a temporary hiccup, the schedule has now become permanent. Both Gus Malzahn and Jay Jacobs have downplayed the change, but it undoubtedly hurts from a competitive standpoint and financially with ticket sales on even number years.

Jacobs made a good point, “everybody had to give up something.”

The real missed opportunity was not lobbying harder to move to the Eastern Division of the SEC. Maybe Auburn tried. If so, it was done under the cover of darkness. It’s never made sense to remain in the West.

For fans of a certain age, it still feels unnatural not to play Tennessee and Florida annually. Swapping them for Ole Miss and LSU has never felt right. The move to the East would have meant sacrificing the Alabama-Tennessee series because of the Iron Bowl rivalry.

But then again, how long has it been since that series has been competitive? Alabama has won seven straight by an average margin of 25 points. That sucker is on life support.

With last week’s vote, Auburn keeps something special with the Georgia rivalry, but it now seems destined to never play a pair of old rivals on a regular basis again.

I guess everybody had to give up something…

Some of the early preseason polls are being released and not surprisingly, Auburn is in the top five of all of them. What is surprising is how highly Alabama sits considering its quarterback still lives in Tallahassee.

The Sporting News, ESPN.com, USA Today and CBS Sports all have Gus Malzahn’s second team sitting fifth in their preseason polls. Meanwhile, Alabama ranks higher than Auburn in all of the above. I wonder where Auburn would sit had it won the national title?

What does it all mean? Nothing. We all remember where Auburn started last season. We all remember where Alabama started. And we can’t forget where each finished. Thankfully, for the first time ever, polls will not determine who plays for the national title…

Things have gone from bad to worse for Sunny Golloway’s team. His Auburn baseball squad gave perhaps its worst outing of the season yesterday in a 12-1 loss to Miss St. The Bulldog win completed the weekend sweep for State.

With the loss, Auburn falls to 25-22 overall and 9-15 in SEC play. As of now, Auburn is on the outside looking in for a berth in the SEC Tournament. For a team that Golloway predicted would make it to Omaha this season, the weekend meltdown was particularly brutal.

“It’s a huge blow to any opportunity that we had,” Golloway said. “We were hanging on by a thread. We let so many games get away from us early in the year when I thought we were playing well.

“We found a rallying point at Fayetteville and played really good on the road in a tough environment. To come in here this weekend and not get a game, I don’t even know what word is for it, it’s a huge blow for us no doubt about it.”

Auburn has two series left to squeeze back in the tournament. They travel to Kentucky for a three game series this weekend followed by a home series with LSU in two weeks.

It won’t be easy.

16 Comments

  1. mvhcpa says:

    I don’t understand why the proposed nine-game schedule in itself would have represented a threat to the AU-UGA regular series. I know there was a proposal to end permanent cross-division rivalries with either eight or nine games, but the ninth game was spun on some websites as the death of AU-UGA itself. I thought nine games would give you the opportunity to play through more rotators while keeping the permanent opponents.

    Also, when we still kept had FL as a permanent opponent after conference expansion, LSU rapidly became a great new rival in place of TN, and I was okay with that. When the other shoe dropped in 2002 (taking away FL as permanent rival) thinking of FL as being replaced by Ole Miss and Arky was not very comforting at all.

    However, Ironically, the four times we have been to the SEC championship game, three of them were repeats of teams we played in the regular season before, and two of those were NOT Georgia. So I guess we got enough coverage of the conference.

    What was the impetus to dump permanent rivals–lack of parity? This is freaking football: to be (or SAY) you are the best, you have to play the best. Of course, I guess if that doesn’t translate into selling tickets these days (in Death Valley or Tuscaloosa), we all know money talks and BS walks.

    Michael Val
    (who says go to a TEN game SEC schedule and play almost everybody!)

    • uglyjoe says:

      In the end, I think the dismissal of the nine game schedule comes down to money. From a financial standpoint, a home and home series against an SEC opponent does not put as much money in the pot as a every-year home game against a cupcake. Say what they will, but I have a hard time understanding any other reason.

      In a “what-could-have-been” thought, suppose Auburn went to the East two years ago, and suppose we went to a nine game schedule….we would get Florida, Tennessee and Georgia every year, keep Alabama as a permanent opponent, and pick up one more as a permanent. What a great schedule, but who would we want that permanent opponent to be, and why? I say TAM…..I think they will become a great rival for us.

  2. uglyjoe says:

    Also, does it rub anybody else the wrong way that Jameis Winston is back on the FSU baseball team…..?

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      Yes. Yes it does.

    • win4au says:

      Yes. I think it’s BS. But JW is the “star” and it is FShoesU we are talking about. That guy could get away with murder or rape…Oh wait

    • au25432 says:

      I could not care less if he is on the baseball team or not. He is an idiot, but he was only issued a civil citation because that is all that Publix would allow. Publix would not press charges otherwise. Jimbo should dish out some punishment for his stupidity as well, but its none of my business either way.

  3. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    I agree, Auburn should have been moved to the East. The AU-Tenn (Oh, Peyton Manning you were tough!) and AU-FL (Jesse Palmer looking at you, ’caused we owned your ass) series were epic. I don’t mind the AU-LSU series, because it’s interesting and just good football. I do mind the AU-Arky games. Especially with Bert in the picture.

    The presence of Bert in the SEC has forced me to reevaluate my ill feelings towards Richt–which is a HUGE stinkin’ deal. In fact, I find Mark Richt only mildly annoying in comparison to the utter abrasive stupidity displayed by Bert on a daily basis. I mean, I still hate Georgia, but there’s only so much hate that one can carry around for opposing coaches…and right now, Bert’s got mine in a landslide. Congrats Bert, I feel like buying Richt a beer……..

    If that’s not growth, people, I don’t know what is……….

    • win4au says:

      The problem with Bert is that he has not won a damn thing in the SEC, and losers can’t make demands or change rules. Build your program, win and then maybe you’ll have more leverage, until then your just a loser and your mascot is a pig!

  4. SEC_Eric says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else see a problem with coaching for Auburn Baseball?

    I mean the team has some of the best pitching in the league and alot of the players back that led the SEC last year in hitting. Why is Auburn in 13h place near the end of the season?

    Golloway came in boasting about what a good team he had even promising that they would play in Omaha this year. Now looks like they may not make the SEC tournament. And as the team has not lived up to his predictions, he seems to blame it on the players alot. (Reminds me of Saban). I’m beginning to wonder if swapping Golloway for Polowski was such a good move.

    • uglyjoe says:

      I share similar thoughts, but I decided on a one year benefit-of-the-doubt. I will withhold judgement until next year.

      • SEC_Eric says:

        I guess everyone deserves a mulligan. I’m just not convinced he will change in a year and if he doesn’t it will put the program further behind. But I hope for the best.

    • SEC_Eric says:

      Meant to say swapping Pawlowski for Golloway

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Something just doesn’t seem right. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the shift from long ball to small ball is too dramatic of a shift to make so quickly.

  5. AUjoe says:

    Jay as to this notion that everybody had to “give up something,” I am curious, what exactly has alabama ever given up? They only have 2 traditional rivals (AU and UT) and they kept them both AND managed to steer clear of adding any other traditional powers to their permanent schedule (the greatest of all of their many traditions).

    Meanwhile we’ve given up UT and UF and are apparently now forever marooned in a division without any of our traditional rivals. I understand that filling up all these brinks trucks with money is complicated business for our conference commissioner and that scheduling requires some give and take. But it sure seems like some do all the giving while others do all the taking.

    • AETiger AETiger says:

      Agree completely, if any school is going to get the shaft, it is AU. Latest example, playing UGA & UA both on the road in the even years! Come on, is there another school in the country that closes the season in such a difficult fashion? Come on Jay & the powers that be at AU, don’t take this scheduling non-sense laying down.

      • au25432 says:

        Actually, they didn’t take it laying down. If bama had its way, we would have been playing a 9 game conference schedule without permanent cross over games. We should be in the SEC East. Auburn publicly campaigned to be moved to the East 2 years ago when Mizzou and TA&M came into the league. Bama is the reason we are not in the East and Mizzou is. They are of the opinion that if AU is in the East, that our Florida recruiting will be enhanced. That is a miserable uninformed opinion, but they are scared crapless over that notion.