The college football season ended last night (uneventfull, I might add), and the Auburn Tigers found themselves in the top ten when the final poll was released.
Auburn rounds out the top ten at #10, and that’s an amazing accomplishment in itself when you look at how the Tigers’ opponents from this season finished.
With a record of 10-4, but a two-game losing streak to finish the season, Auburn dropped eight spots from where they were before the SEC Championship Game at the start of December. One can’t help but wonder if Auburn had beaten Georgia, would the SEC have gotten two teams in the Playoff? Bama probably gets left out in that scenario, and last night is wildly different however you cut it.
Whatever you may say about Gus Malzahn, all of Auburn’s losses came to teams that were ranked in the top twenty — #2 Georgia, #4 Clemson, #6 UCF, and #18 LSU. All of those defeats were either on the road or at neutral sites. Auburn played five games - five - against teams ranked in the top six (#1 Alabama, #2 Georgia twice, #4 Clemson, #6 UCF), and came away 2-3 in those contests. It was by far the toughest slate in college football, and I think 10-4 is darn good, even with the inconsistency we saw on the offensive line and the playcalling at times.
Personally, and I don’t think this is up for debate, but when Auburn was at its best this year, the Tigers were the best team in college football by a pretty sizable margin. Sure, we had the lows in Death Valley, Pts. I and II, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium is apparently a hellhole for orange and blue football, but watching this team on November 11th and November 25th convinces me that we played like the best team in the country but just couldn’t sustain it for an entire season.
However you slice it, we clowned the two national championship participants. If Georgia had won, they would’ve had the comeback of getting revenge against a worn-down and injured Tiger team, but there won’t be a gas station attendant across the great state of Alabama that can look at your Auburn shirt and truly be able to say anything.
Is that a “little brother” way of looking at it? Maybe. If taking pride in beating the hell out of Alabama is a little brother way of looking at things, then I’m guilty as charged.
Good season, everyone. Weird season, for sure. But good season. War Eagle!