Don’t know if you heard, but college football got canceled last night because of the pandemic. That’s right. We didn’t get to play Georgia in Athens, and we definitely didn’t get our doors blown off and we definitely aren’t waking up this morning thinking about everything from the good old days to coaching changes and all things in between.
Thanks Gus. I’m done
We’ve been prolonging the inevitable for some time now but here’s the truth. Gus Malzahn has a clear ceiling & a clear floor. He’ll keep this team bowl eligible & he’ll give teams hell at home but he won’t win another championship as Auburn’s head coach. As much as it pains me because I genuinely like the man, we are being left behind by the top tier SEC programs. Tonight was an embarrassment to everything Pat Dye did for this Auburn football program. We will likely have to wait a year due to COVID but the truth is that Gus is done. Here’s to hoping we can knock off LSU in Jordan-Hare.
War Damn, ya’ll.
Well..... I picked Georgia to win this game because I couldn’t trust Gus to win a game in Athens. Man I hate being right sometimes. But the omens were there yesterday.....
#1 - This day started bad when news came out that Cam had tested positive for COVID.
#2 - Then on the basketball side, JD Davison, as I figured, committed to Bama.
#3 - It was announced that SEC Freshmen of the Week Jaylin Simpson was out due to injury, a huge loss.
#4 - We didn’t have Shaun Shivers or Eli Stove on offense, also due to injury.
So we were behind the 8 ball before this thing started. And then it just snowballed from there.
I will say in a positive that Tank Bigsby lived up to his name and I’m excited to see him continue to get better.
Basketball starts in 7 1/2 weeks though.
I said before that this was a game you absolutely could not lose. You were going against a walk on quarterback who was 5th string earlier this offseason. Georgia looked like garbage against a team that hadn’t won an SEC game in three years. Auburn’s 3-10 against Georgia in the last decade.
Well, we lost that one. There’s no X’s and O’s needed. You just got punked. Sure, it’s one loss in a weird year against an Uber-talented team, but it’s indicative of where this program is. Can we beat anyone? Sure. Are we a top half SEC team? You bet. But I’ve given up hope that this regime will ever get us to the top. War damn.
The better program won this game tonight. It has been over a decade since this series has been competitive, so tonights result should come with no surprise. Simply put, our standard that Pat Dye built has been diminished into a distant memory. We’re extremely comfortable being 3rd in a division on a regular basis with 3 wins over our in-state rival in 8 years, all at home, while we simply do not compete for Sixty Minutes on the road against the teams that we want to beat.
For as bad as this defense looked tonight, we should be appreciating what the championship-level defense of 2016-2019 was, all led by a generational talent up front who is now starting as a rookie in Carolina. This defense was always going to struggle by comparison. But it’s the offensive side of the ball that has been an inconsistent disappointment for large chunks of every season since 2015. And truthfully, our offensive line, which was patched up in 2017 with transfers, has not been right since around 2016, or around the time the prior staff’s recruits funneled out (Braden Smith excluded, but it’s clear he’s an outlier with regards to recruited talent along the OL from this current program). This version of our offensive line is probably more gifted than last year’s in some aspects, but they have yet to have 4 consecutive weeks of practice thanks to COVID. Even then, at an upward trajectory we should expect this offense, led by a legacy quarterback, to be misused through various points of this season and into next. It’s our standard, after all.
So, it begs the question. Not for today. Not for this year. Maybe not for next year. But at some point, who are we going to choose to be when it comes time to take a good long look in the mirror? We’d all love to go there now, but fiscally you are kidding yourself if you entertain it. So, I’ll just say when that day comes what I want to be able to say when we look in the mirror is that we want to be a program that consistently contends for championships. We want to be a program that will outwork our rivals. We want to be a program that expects to beat Georgia, LSU, and Alabama or have a fair shot no matter if the game is in Jordan-Hare Stadium or the very gates of hell themselves. I hope that’s what we’ll want. But my fear is that we’ll beat Alabama in Auburn next year and just enjoy the memories of when we were a legitimate program that built upon itself. That’s what Pat Dye did. And that’s what’s been wrong with Auburn ever since we stupidly decided to let him go. We once could look in the mirror and say that we were the toughest team anyone on our schedule had to play. Now? We’re telling the truth when we say that our opponent is supremely more talented than we are. And that’s a damn shame.
And until we are at that crossroad of having to answer that question, this numbing feeling of normalcy over performances like tonight are more painful than the loss itself. This should not be normal. This should not be numbing. This should be a wake up call. But if history has shown us anything, it’ll just be another lost night in Athens, GA until that day of self-confrontation arrives.
Lopsided, brutal 60 minutes. How does this team bounce back next week? That will tell us a lot about this team, their coaches, and their leaders.
Everything that’s been said or needed to be said about the game has been said above. Listless effort. Less talent. No heart. No prep. No adjustments. No will to win, save for one player, a freshman. It doesn’t need to be rehashed because you all watched what happened last night and that was as embarrassing an effort as we’ve seen likely since Baton Rouge in 2015.
Josh Black talked above about Georgia being the better program, and it’s true. We should be mad at Gus for not being able to manage the roster so that we don’t have total turnaround on both lines to go against the recruiting behemoths on our permanent schedule. Despite his faults as a head coach, Gene Chizik’s staff was built to recruit, but he had to bring that standard up after Tuberville’s failures. Not to shove blame off of Gus, but there’s a reason that Georgia and Alabama were able to find their footing and become top tier programs so quickly Auburn had the upper hand. Auburn was it. Tuberville was able to turn those 2 and 3-stars into SEC stars. He didn’t need to get the blue chips. BUT WHAT IF HAD TRIED? Imagine if Auburn was winning six straight in the Iron Bowl and going against Mark Richt at the same time as they were signing 5-star players. Alabama never gets its footing after one year with Saban, because he’s got real competition in the state. Auburn would have been established. It began there.
Now, it’s been too easy to recruit against Gus. He makes it easy on himself. When you see what Alabama does with a Jaylen Waddle, you’d like to go there and become him instead of Anthony Schwartz. Yeah, they tried last night with Schwartz, but it didn’t hit. You hit a couple of those plays and everything loosens up. We’re supposed to be good enough to convert those plays. Meanwhile, there’s little solace taken in the fact that Gus was right when he said that Georgia had the best talent in the SEC, and Kirby was wrong when he said we did (even facetiously).
10 years since our last win in Tuscaloosa, 15 since our last win in Athens, 21 since our last win in Baton Rouge. Those are staggering numbers. What do you do? Fire Gus? It’s already been said, and it started as early as the second quarter last night. Who do you get? Therein lies the rub. You can’t grab some hot young assistant. You have to compete now. Would we give a Dabo type of hire the time he needs? Clemson didn’t really get competitive until his fourth season. Take three years of beatdowns and then we start to play? Nobody’s patient enough for that.
We may be stuck here with that kind of a game every so often, quite honestly. There’s likely not a better alternative at this point, but there are things that need to change. We can’t get trounced on the recruiting trail anymore, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t be getting wrecked by our chief rivals. We can’t mismanage a roster like this, and we can’t go into a road venue and show literally nothing. Damn.