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SNAP JUDGMENTS: #4 Georgia 21, #12 Auburn 14

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Some of us are starting to admit there might be a real need for change.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 16 Georgia at Auburn Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well, we lost to Georgia yesterday, and for all of the reasons that it normally sucks, this one sucks even more because it seems as if some of us have realized that major changes are needed after trying to hold off on that talk for quite some time.

SNAP JUDGMENTS

I feel like the staff here at College and Mag has been some of Gus’s biggest supporters over the last two years. I think most of us are off now. The players executed well *enough* to keep this game close, but it’s clear we are a in a purgatory of being better than most of the conference but definitively less talented than the elites. It’s frustrating, because Gus deserves a ton of credit for turning Auburn into a consistent top 15 team. But there are clear, definitive decisions you can point to that have kept Auburn from getting over the hump. Tonight, the timeout before half was the backbreaker. Absolutely inexcusable. In the larger scheme, it’s mind-boggling that the guy who championed a unique, specific offense refuses to run it until his back is against the wall. At that point, it’s too late. I don’t know guys. I love this team and the players on it. But the relationship between Gus and the alumni/fan base is beyond repair. I wish him all the best, but I don’t think it will be here.

Time to go drink.

-Ryan Sterritt

We didn’t play well enough to win, and yet these ******* ****s get every ******* call again. Big surprise.

-James Jones

We can gripe about the officiating and it was highly suspect at the end but you can’t get into a 21-0 hole at home and expect to win. The two key plays I’ll remember from this game are Gus sending Anders out to attempt a FG on the first drive when he was going to go for it which turned into 0 points. And second, with the offense doing nothing, he calls a timeout that gave Georgia’s offense some time to go down the field and score right before half. Our defense forced NINE 3 and outs!! As usual, they played their tails off and have nothing to show for it.

I thought this was a game Gus had to win and I’ve defended Gus for a long time but I don’t think I can do that anymore. It’s gonna be a longgg few weeks on the Plains.

On the plus side, Bruce and basketball are 4-0 on the court and getting it done in recruiting! Welcome Chris Moore!

-Will McLaughlin

Time for some soul searching, folks.

-Josh Dub

I dunno man, this sport has way too high of stakes. Wish I didn’t care so much about it. Georgia shouldn’t feel good about this, but they should feel better than us.

-Son of Crow

I am damn proud of the players on this football team. They ain’t perfect. Bo Nix isn’t yet good enough to beat the best teams in the country but he’s showing more & more flashes every chance. Boobee Whitlow fights his butt off on every carry. Seth Williams was THAT DUDE tonight. Every single player on that defense should pay for nothing the rest of their lives in the city of Auburn. There’s a lot of special football players but more importantly special people in that locker room. They have my full support & I will be cheering my ass off for them in Jordan-Hare in a couple of weeks.

But they deserve better. Not every failed play is Gus Malzahn’s fault but the trend has been there for too long. For the 4th straight year AU has been good enough on the defensive side of the ball to play with anyone. Consistently the point of failure has been Malzahn’s offense. His scheme is predicated on running the football yet he’s built a program better fit for the Air Raid. The biggest flaws upon his resume isn’t what he’s done against Bama like the national media wanna say. It’s what he’s done against UGA & LSU.

2015 UGA

2016 UGA

2017 LSU

2017 UGA SEC Championship

2018 LSU

2019 UGA

Win half of those games & I can be bummed about tonight but still on the bus. But he didn’t. He continually loses against any team with remotely similar talent. Winning on the road against top team is hard but you better at least protect your own house. He’s not doing that.

I like Gus Malzahn. I still think there’s a good coach inside there. I WANT him to be a success because that’s what’s best for Auburn. But we are 7 years in now with the same consistent afflictions. We are ramming our head against the same ceiling. Making a change is risky & could set the program back but not making a change traps AU in purgatory.

I hopped off the bus after Tennessee in 2018 but hoped I would see an opportunity to hop back on board. Tonight felt like the final blow, at least to me. Maybe AU comes out & takes down Bama in 2 weeks vs a backup QB. Maybe they get the bowl win & finish with 10 wins. That would be awesome! I would love that. But right now, on November 16, 2019, count me as one of those who is done with the Malzahn era

-AU Nerd

You can’t call that timeout before the half knowing the opposition gets the ball to start the second half. They looked completely fine with going to the locker room and making adjustments, but if you’re willing to roll the dice, so were they. The game turned when Georgia went up 14-0. Our defense played outstanding and deserves so much better than 3 losses at this point in the season. Our offense was so out of sorts for 3+ quarters that we get routed without their effort. Derrick and Marlon laid their guts on the line and came away empty handed. And their ain’t a damn thing they can do about it but go on out there and lay them on the line again. And again. And again. But man, what a discouraging feeling to know Georgia crossed our 40 yard line 3 times and we crossed theirs 7 and we muster 14 points in a touchdown loss. People with much more authority, influence, and money have got some hard things to look at. And no matter my disagreements and/or agreements, we can all see this coming. Steve Spurrier I think said it best when he left Florida that you tend to lose 10% of your fanbase with each year you’re at a school. Well we’ve seen this for 10 years total now and I think that statement has at least some truth to it.

This team is capable of beating Alabama in 2 weeks because this defense is too good and has too much pride to do anything but leave it all on the field. But the optics of this, with a flurry at the end, are only something to build upon when it’s your first year in Baton Rouge and you wonder what might’ve been if you had another 15 minutes. In year 7, it’s showing a real crack in the foundation. At least one side of the football has been broken for the better part of 10 years, with some wild success and major failings included along the way. But the feeling of seeing the defensive side build something consistently for 4 straight seasons and to come away with your _best_ season to date in that time frame netting you 4 losses is something I’m not willing to be OK with.

Auburn should’ve been a playoff team at least once since 2014. They should be on their way to at least 1 more division title. They should have at least 1 more conference title. Instead we’re regulated to a postseason destination that’s nothing more than hopefully a reward to somewhere warm for a group that has fought their guts out and deserves to have some fun, but a trip that will ultimately mean nothing meaningful, and be a source of contention.

I’ve never thought this was a year where Auburn would make a coaching change for the sheer size of the buyout. I still believe that. What I’ve hoped is that we could do enough to calm the waters in 2020, when you essentially replace both sides of the line of scrimmage. Maybe there is enough by beating Alabama in 2 weeks. Maybe not. But as we move forward, I think it’s a fair question to ask ourselves what the expectation is at Auburn. At Alabama it is to win national championships. At Georgia it is now to just win 1. At LSU it was to beat Alabama and get back to a competitive standing in the SEC every year. What about us? What do we expect? Because I think it depends on who you ask, and if we can ever get on the same page with that answer I think it will help us all figure out what we need to do to get there.

-Josh Black

I’ve been one of the ones that wanted to keep Gus Malzahn for multiple reasons. He’s never missed a bowl. None of his predecessors can say that. He was the architect of an offense that got us to two national championship games. None of his predecessors can say that. For the most part, we’ve been in most games that we’ve played while he’s been at Auburn. Getting blown out is, by and large, a thing of the past. Is that a direct result of his offense or the other elements around the team? It’s tough to tell. The last four years, Kevin Steele’s defense has been a huge part of that, but Gus hired him. He made a great decision there.

However, were his successes on offense in 2010 and 2013 due to the guys who we’ll come to cherish more and more as time passes? Cam Newton was the best college football player I ever saw, and Nick Marshall was perhaps the perfect zone read quarterback. Did Gus benefit from them more than they benefitted from him? In hindsight it seems like a yes.

As for the game itself, we got screwed in some aspects — the missed facemask on the last drive that would’ve given us a first down and momentum, the Seth Williams overturn, the onside kick — but maybe we shouldn’t have waited three-plus quarters to start playing offense. That’s on Gus. I still don’t really know what our gameplan was, and I don’t know what it was in Gainesville or Baton Rouge either. For a season in which Gus bet on himself, there needed to be some wild stuff happening on that side of the ball and we just haven’t seen it. It’s really hard for me and others to rationalize why the innovator of the HUNH doesn’t want to run it until he has to, and then it’s successful. Why won’t that work earlier? There’s no real answer.

Maybe it is time to move on. At this point it’s probably best since the trust factor between Gus and the fanbase is gone. It sucks, because we’re obviously griping about a season in which we’re 7-3 with losses to two teams currently in the Playoff top four, and another top ten team at their place. What will satisfy us? For this season at least, a win over Bama and the promise of something more in the future.

-Jack Condon