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Undercover Barner: Threat level Pat Dye

This week's Undercover Barner looks at how far we've come in a year. SPOILER ALERT: Pretty far.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The unfortunate part of having UcB typically publish on Tuesdays is that I don’t always have original opinions to share.

Since someone’s TAKES kind of said everything I’d planned on saying, including a caveat about not being able to watch the game*, we’re going to have to go in a different direction.

So Auburn improved to 5-1 on Saturday, one win away from bowl eligibility. Sure the opponent was inferior and few people outside of Alabama actually cared about the game. But man did the team show out. By the grace of some journalists and no thanks to Georgia, Auburn wound up No. 24 in the AP poll this week, one year removed from a season that saw the Tigers only win three games and none in the SEC.

I’ve been thinking about how much can change in a year. If you’ll remember, at this point last year, Auburn had just been absolutely destroyed by Ole Miss and was sitting 1-5**. We were finally beginning to accept that the 2012 season was just an unadulterated raging dumpster fire.

And we as fans were stumbling our way through the five stages of grief, mourning the loss of the season. If you think that sounds familiar and that I’m about to be a complete tool and quote myself, you’re absolutely right.

This was the beginning of the Oct. 16, 2012, edition Undercover Barner, entitled "Okay fine: The sky is falling." Because it was:

So Auburn is bad. Really bad. Like, just gave Ole Miss its first SEC win in years (plural!) bad.

If you’re like me, you probably went through a range of emotions on Saturday. Maybe you refused to believe it at first. There’s no way this is real life. It’s a comedy of errors!

And then you got mad. Oh man, Chizik is SO fired! This is just embarrassing!

Maybe you tried to make a deal with the universe. Seriously, as long as ANYONE but Alabama wins the national championship, it’ll be okay. I’ll stop cussing and start recycling. Anyone but Bama!

You may have found yourself sinking lower into a football-induced black hole of sadness. //sips bourbon.

And then you finally landed in a happier place. A place where our record didn’t quite sting as much and our descent into the subterranean cavern below the basement of the SEC wasn’t constantly on your mind. I mean, I’ve still got my health. And there’s always next season. These things are cyclical, you know. Hey, remember that time in 2010 when we won the national championship? Remember how cool it was to see Cam fly? And how awesome it was to watch Josh Bynes command his defense? That sure was fun.

Sound familiar? It should. Auburn fans, in the course of one game, we made it through the entire Kübler-Ross model, more commonly known as the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. That range of emotions tells the larger tale of our season.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but our football team just isn’t very good this year. The Auburn Sky Watch 2012 © is officially at Threat Level Ahmadinejad: Total Nuclear Destruction Imminent. And you know what? It’s going to be OK.

You know the really nice thing? It was OK. The sun came up. It’s a new day and all that. This team isn’t perfect, but we love it. It's given us something to cheer about, something to look forward to. I spent 95 percent of last season just wishing for it to be over. That probably makes me a bad fan, but I couldn’t stomach it anymore. I don't feel that way this year.

I didn’t think last year’s Tigers could beat anyone. Now they have at least a chance to beat anybody left on their schedule. I’m not here to say that they will beat Texas A&M. Or Georgia or Alabama. But they have a chance, which is a hell of a lot more than they would have had a year ago.

I have a hard time drumming up hate for Texas A&M, mostly because I’m neither from Texas nor am I an Alabama fan. I guess it’s the Ag school thing, too. But I hope our defensive line finds a way to corral that little monster***.

If I were forced to update the Auburn Sky Watch 2013 ©****, I’d put Auburn at Threat level Pat Dye: A little rough around the edges but still only needing 60 minutes to beat 'Bama*****.

If you’re making the trip out to College Station this weekend, I’m insanely jealous. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the hospitality of the Aggies. Win or lose, it should be a great time. Obviously winning would be better though.

Gah, it’s great to be an Auburn Tiger.

Until next time — War Eagle.

*I was at a family reunion, surrounded by non-Auburn fans, and I couldn’t get the stream to work on my phone. While the company was lovely and good times were had by all, toasting to Rammer Jammer while I can’t watch or listen to Auburn is basically my own personal version of hell.

**Seriously it’s the perfect inverse record. I’d love to take credit for the idea to flash back a year in UcB history, but I can’t. While I was whining about writers block, a friend who is definitely not a Georgia fan because I don’t associate with Georgia fans may have suggested looking back at how badly we sucked last year. Because we super did.

***How in the world is Johnny Football as good as he is when he runs like a girl (which I'm not saying is necessarily a bad thing, but come on, it's football) and has the worst ball security I’ve ever seen? That is not a rhetorical question. Someone tell me.

****This is a thing we used throughout last season, and I hope never to have to use it ever again.

*****I know this is uncharacteristic of me, but what the hell? I'm feeling froggy. SHOTS FIRED.

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