Here is my rambling review of the Auburn University football team's spectacular 2012 season.
3-9. It was complete and utter shite.
Thats it. Thanks for reading.
But seriously, one of the worst seasons in Auburn Tiger football history came to a disastrous end at the hands of the evil empire to the tune of [insert 2012 Iron Bowl final score here; I don't really know the score as I gave up watching in the second quarter and turned over the the Penn State/Wisconsin game which means I lasted at least a quarter longer than the Auburn football team]. Auburn was shutout for the second time this season which puts them on somewhat equal footing as a 2-10 Kentucky team. Well almost. Kentucky holds an advantage over Auburn since they got a win over a team that is currently ranked #23 in the nation.
Auburn started the season with mixed feelings of hope since they had a new offensive coordinator and more importantly they had a new defensive coordinator that replaced the much despised Ted Roof. I, like most people, expected some offensive and defensive problems at the start as they tried to suss out how the current Auburn personnel would fit into the new schemes. Various "experts" figured Auburn would win nine games or so. At the time I didn't disagree with them and thought nine wins would be a great year with new coordinators. As it turns out, on offense, "the start" contained the first twelve games of the season and the defense was up to the same old "olé" defensive scheme that we have all come to love over the last three years. Auburn continued to sit toward the bottom of the league in every defensive category. On a related note, you remember that much despised Ted Roof that I mentioned? Well he was hired on to Bill O'Brien's staff at Penn State as the DC and they managed to finish in the top half of most defensive categories in the Big Ten, even with a depleted roster after the NCAA lowered the hammer on the Nittany Lions. Turns out Teddy may not have been the problem.
Auburn ended the year with three spectacular blowout losses to SEC competition and two wins over teams that the former and no-longer existing Skyline High School football team could have handled. The first of those three SEC disasters came at the hands of Texas A&M and college football Übermensch Johnny Manziel. The final score was 63-21. It wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated. Two of Auburn's three touchdowns came against a TAMU intramural squad that they put in midway during the third quarter.
Auburn followed up that fine "They 'sposed to be SEC" performance by losing to Georgia and Alabama by a combined score of 87-0. Yikes! Here's a fun little fact. Auburn has not scored an offensive touchdown against Alabama since 11:55 to go in the 4th quarter during the 2010 Iron Bowl. This year Florida Atlantic threw for a touchdown against Alabama.
Prior Auburn shutouts cost Tommy Tuberville his job... twice. The first was the game against Southern California that kicked off the 2003 season. Sure he wasn't fired right after that game, but it is the season that ended with that infamous plane flight to Kentuckiana. So for all intents and purposes he had lost his job that year, its just his bosses were terrible at doing so. The second was the 2008 Iron Bowl disaster which finally ousted Tubbs properly. So if Tuberville couldn't survive two shutouts then most certainly neither could Chizik. In news that came as a surprise to absolutely no one, today Gene Chizik was relieved of his coaching duties at Auburn. I didn't read his statement, but I imagine he said that he felt blessed.
Chizik had a real Jekyll and Hyde four years as Auburn head coach. Obviously there was the magnificent year of Cam which brought along another Heisman and a National Championship, but people forget that the 2009 season was actually rather decent considering the debacle of the 2008 season. Apart from the Arkansas and LSU games, Auburn was actually competitive in their loses to SEC opponents. Just try to forget that one of those was to Kentucky. But still Auburn was scoring lots of points and setting school offensive records in 2009 with, weirdly enough, Chris Todd at the helm. They ended the year with a quite unforgettable Outback Bowl against Northwestern which Auburn won a half dozen times. So you have that year followed by the unbelievable 2010 season that led me, and most of the "Auburn Family", to think that this Gene Chizik hire may not have been as terrible as originally thought.
Well yeah... about that.
In 2011 no one in their right mind expected Auburn to be as successful as the 2010 team. They only returned 8 out of 22 starters. Auburn somehow managed to win the games, usually in quite ugly fashion, they were supposed to. They even won one that they weren't supposed to against South Carolina which was one of the most South Carolina things that happened that year. In the games that Auburn did lose, well, they were all blowouts. This was certainly not a good sign for coaching staff. Unimpressive wins and ugly losses. Turns out that you have a hard time winning against moderately good to great competition when you don't have very good quarterbacks and terrible, undisciplined defense. Clint Mosley has never ever looked comfortable on the field. Barrett Trotter wasn't playing at 100% as far as his health was concerned during the 2011 season. In fact the only game that I can remember him playing in without a knee brace was the bowl game that year when he came in for an injured Mosley and proceeded to light up Virginia. That game gave me a bit of hope for 2012 that was quickly extinguished when Gus Malzahn, Mike Dyer, and Barrett Trotter all said so-long to Auburn and left us with the tire fire of the 2012 season.
Auburn should not have gotten this bad. There is no excuse for it. As it turns out, this has just not been a well coached team and it has only been getting worse. This coaching staff had to go before it became unrecoverable.
Now the question becomes, "Who should Auburn hire?" I honestly don't know. My wish would be that they throw dump trucks full of money at James Franklin, but I think the smart thing for him to do would to just stay at Vanderbilt and become their coaching legend. I do know who I don't want them to hire.
If Auburn hires Bobby Patrino then I don't think I will be able to support the football program. Sure he has a track record of winning. He also has a track record of leaving programs in complete shambles and just being a terrible person in general. So no thanks to that.
Maybe Auburn should do the same thing that the BBC television programs Have I Got News For You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks have done over the last several years. After their regular hosts left those two shows started having different guest hosts each week. Only instead of having guest hosts each week Auburn should just have guest coaches each week.
Nothing in the past four years at Auburn has made sense. There is no reason that that shouldn't continue.