This is not the year that we would like to focus on during this countdown, and there’s really not much else to talk about in regard to the number 25, so get out now. Leave.
Coincidentally, as this post will talk about the swansong of the 1992 season 25 years ago, the only time Auburn’s won a game while scoring 25 points in the last 50 years came in 1992.
Auburn 25, Louisiana-Lafeyette 24
This game came during a wonderful stretch at the end of Pat Dye’s tenure in which the Tigers finished 1992 1-4-1 after starting 4-1 with the only loss against a pretty good Ole Miss team. Auburn beat the Ragin’ Cajuns by one in between two straight defeats to Mississippi State and Florida (both on the road), and a tie with Arkansas before the fairly close losses to Georgia and Alabama to finish the year at 5-5-1. Those UGA/Bama teams finished a combined 23-2 in 1992.
That opening loss to the Rebels turned out to be the biggest defeat of the year in a season that you could almost categorize as a “What if” type of year. In the same vein as the 2008 season, in which Auburn started in the top fifteen and sputtered under the Tony Franklin experiment, 1992’s team had plenty of talent but just played under the cloud of impending NCAA sanctions due to the Eric Ramsey scandal.
Of the other losses, a more spirited team may have been able to play closer games and possibly squeak out wins in some of the contests. Four of five defeats came away from Auburn, and the teams that Auburn lost to averaged 9.6 wins on the year. It was a strong schedule.
Still, Auburn boasted plenty of talent in 1992. On offense, a junior Stan White shared a backfield with James Bostic and Tony Richardson, while he threw to Frank Sanders, Thomas Bailey, and Andy Fuller. Up front, Wayne Gandy and Shannon Roubique manned things, while the defense had Willie Whitehead, Alonzo Etheridge, James Willis, Chris Shelling, and Calvin Jackson prowling around. Every single one of those guys contributed greatly over the next couple of years when Auburn won 20 games. 1992 just didn’t see it come together.
Furthermore, it was the end of the Pat Dye era. Dye left his position as athletic director in May of 1992 due to the Eric Ramsey scandal, and it was late in the season when Auburn received the actual notice of allegations from the NCAA.
The next August, Auburn received some of the harshest penalties the NCAA has given a team in the last generation. The TV ban, in particular, is tough to imagine now. With the SEC’s numerous contracts, as well as a devoted cable channel, it’s tough to even fathom that a team would’ve been banned from playing on television. With the decision coming down in the middle of August 1993, it’s even crazier. Of course, only a few choice games were broadcast on TV then, and thankfully we had Jim Fyffe painting the pictures for us from the radio booth.
Anyway, the night is always darkest before the dawn. Whether that dawn comes for a blind man unable to watch his team is another matter, but it would happen in 1993. We’ll make up for a sad sobfest tomorrow with a look at the greatest season never seen.