TAKES: 2ND EDITION, VOLUME 10

Todd Van Emst/Auburn University photo

A PIPING-HOT LOVE LETTER TO JAY JACOBS.

Hey, gang! It's your old pal The Playmaker here delivering takes hotter than a pawn shop pistol. I took last week off because I didn't get to see the game. You see, I was at VooDoo Fest in New Orleans watching Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails and The Cure. And man oh man was it good! So good! But this week, I was back in the Magic City. I rolled out of bed in time to roll to my couch and watch our beloved Auburn Tigers defeat the mighty Tennessee Volunteers. I really wanted to make the trip, but that 11 a.m. kickoff is hard when you try to make some extra scratch on Friday nights by covering high school football. But it was a great game to watch! I loved the touchdowns! So much fun!

Come closer. Shhh. I didn't want to write this blog post until after the season. But it's time. It's time because nothing that happens from here on out changes going from nine losses to nine wins this quickly. It's time because I hope I have a lot of super cool stuff in these two rivalry games to rave about.

Dear Jay Jacobs,

Hey, pal. You remember April? I sure do. Man, people were really mad! It's funny what a football season will do, ain't it?

See, I don't want to neglect you. People will say that you ruined the swimming and diving program by ruffling some feathers. People will argue that basketball is terrible, and I mean, it is, but it's traditionally one of the two worst basketball programs in the SEC, so I've never blamed your tenure. People aren't thrilled with baseball, but I mean, you made a pretty cool hire and there seems to be potential. That fella sure knows how to make some funny videos for AUHD!

Here's the thing, though: Folks were mad because some of those things weren't doing well (it can happen) AND football had a really terrible year. So people lit their torches and marched on the complex. They wanted you gone. But I tried to tell them, Jay, I tried to tell them, "Look, sometimes coincidences happen."

What bad hire had you made? Everyone thought Tony Barbee would be pretty cool. He wasn't, but who is? Auburn basketball is a dumpster fire and it always will be. No one liked your Gene Chizik hire, but he won a national championship! What the WHAAAAAA? Amirite?

But today, you need to be thanked. You did something in both 2009 and 2013 that other schools [COUGH COUGH GEORGIA COUGH COUGH] don't have the balls to do: You realized when a relationship had run its course and you cut ties.

We loved Coach Tuberville. I did not want to see him go! Winning nine games a year and maybe competing for an SEC Championship every five was awesome! Or should I say AUsome? [WINK] But you, Jay, you realized that Auburn could do a little bit better at its favorite sport. And you dug through a pile of coaches including one that was the preferred choice, an African-American man, and chose the worst possible candidate.

You knew he would win a national championship, didn't you? You sly fox. You knew it! You knew that this cat with a 5-19 career record would put together Auburn's most memorable season! I see you, Jay.

But THEN? This fool got power hungry. He wanted to prove it was his show. He coddled his players. He ran off the man that made it possible. And he absolutely and predictably went into the toilet. What did you do, Jay?

You didn't give him another year. You got it done, son. You knew it was time to cut that tie and move on. And rather than hire the sexy name with a sexy past that could have easily been had, you made the comfortable hire.

AND IT WORKED.

You marvelous genius. You thought, "What is Alabama doing right now to be so good?" And you said, "I'M GOING TO DO THE OPPOSITE OF THAT."

And goodness gracious, we're grateful.

No one is telling you that. They had plenty of time to tell you that you sucked in April when everything was bleak, but no one has taken the time to tell you thank you for the things you have given this football program.

I want to see swimming and diving dominate the way it once did. I want to see baseball be as competitive as it was under Baird. The latter is a pipe dream with the lottery, and I get that. A lot of folks don't, but I do. And I get that basketball is always going to suck. I hate it, because we cheated our asses off when I was in school and it was a lot of fun, but I prefer doing it on the up and up. I mean, I guess. But really, would probation be that much worse?

Jay, the thing you know and the thing that basically keeps those torches and pitchforks at bay is football. And frankly? You've killed it. I wouldn't have fired Chizik last season. He was a great man that brought a national championship to Auburn. But, brother, you knew just when to pull the cord. Just like you did with Coach Tuberville, whom I also would not have fired.

Auburn is playing a major rival this weekend that has no idea how to do that. Maybe Georgia wins, and if it does, this opinion doesn't change. If the Bulldogs don't? You've manufactured the biggest turnaround EVER. Like, it's sort of a hazy dream. No idea how you did it. If Auburn wins 10 games this year and you don't have people sending you flowers, I just don't know, pal. Come to Birmingham. I'll literally buy you anything you want on the menu at Courtyard. Cee Lo is the chef. He can probably invent something really fancy if I ask and pay him enough. Let's do this.

I love you, Jay. You need to know that. I hope you have a great Monday.

xoxox

Blake

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