Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Is there such a thing as too much sunshine?

Could prolonged exposure to the Guz Malzahn and Trooper Taylor hires be hazardous to your health?

So the Mrs. JCCW arrives home last night after a hard day of work, and the first thing out of mouth other than "So, no disasters on the jobby-job front today,huh?*" is "HEY! Guess what! You remember that awesome coach I was telling you about Auburn might hire? They hired him! It's awesome!"

"That's great," she said. "What does he coach again?"

"Wide receivers," I said.

"Oh," she said. "Just the receivers?"

"Well, kind of, yeah," I said. "But he's supposed to be incredible at recruiting."

"That's great," she said again, because there's not really any reasonable conversation to be had with idiots wearing the kind of idiot grin I wore around for the last half of yesterday.

But of course, eventually I had to put the grin away long enough to brush my teeth, and once it was gone I kind of realized: A few years ago, I couldn't have even named who Auburn's wide receivers coach even was. And now I'm ready to break out the party hats and kazoos for one? Auburn's still 5-7, its head coach still 5-19 until further notice. Is even Taylor really that big a deal? Have I been grinning like an idiot because I am an idiot?

This train of thought only picked up steam when Blutarsky asked this morning if maybe Auburn fans like yours truly had been blinded by the glory of Chizik's hires to the facts that Chizik's still the same 5-19 guy who abandoned Auburn in the past and has been basically forbidden from setting foot inside the Ames citiy limits ever again. The Senator points out this post at the Wiz which points us towards this post at a brand-spankin' new ISU blog. It's a tough read. You get the sense that it's not all Pollardesque sour grapes--some, certainly, yes, but there's also some genuine thought and disappointment behind it. It's not the sort of thing I think it's fair to just outright dismiss with a wave of our Auburn hands--as I've written before, it does make me deeply uneasy that Chizik burned so many bridges on his way out of ISU, and the general (admittedly slanted) portrayal we've gotten a few places of Chizik being, I don't know, less than completely-and-utterly committed to the Cyclones' cause is also unsettling. From this perspective, and from the "just a wide receivers' coach" perspective, I can admit that yesterday's highly-concentrated brand of optimism is over-the-top and borderline irrational.

But speaking for both myself and for any other Auburn fans--I suspect they're out there--whose newfound enthusiasm for the new staff and the Chiznick are being greeted with "36-0, LOLZ" and "5-19" and "Mercenary," those two perspectives aren't the full perspective. The full perspective takes into account where we as Auburn fans were shortly after the Chizik hire. Our beloved former coach had left at least a year ahead of schedule under circumstances that were, at the very least, mysterious. He had been replaced by a man whose head coaching record to date portrayed him as an out-and-out loser, a defense-first head coach whose defenses had been horrendous, who the buzz suggested had been hired solely because he was cheap, a willing stooge in the administration's various power-plays, and a Jimmy Sexton. Then came the introductory press conference, where Chizik professed wanting a "200-year-old" offense and Pat Dye was nearly as visible as Chizik himself. The buzz grew into a belief that not only was Chizik a stooge, but that he'd be stooged into bringing on an entire staff of unqualified old Dye cronies who'd haul Auburn football even further into the Stone Age than, some critics would argue, it already has been. And then, as the cheery on top of this miserable sundae, Auburn's good name gets dragged through the national media's mud for a few days as a lost hive of White Citizen's Councils.

Just a few weeks later, here we are, and Gus Malzahn will be scheming Trooper Taylor-recruited and -coached players, and this will be happening on Auburn's sideline. It would be nearly too-good-to-be-true if it was happening under Tubby's watch. That it comes after the horrors of this particular coaching search and its fallout makes it too-good-to-be-true, no qualifiers. The "emotional roller coaster" analogy that gets thrown around so often is actually pretty apt in this case, because the reason we're this high is because we that last low was really that low.

Put another way: let's say you ask your grandmother to pick you a jacket out of the closet before you go out. You love your grandmother. She doesn't always have the best taste, but she's usually able to find something that looks snappy enough, and after all these years you can't help but trust her. Besides, you'll be happy to wear nearly any jacket that's hanging in the closet. But somehow, she picks out the worst possible one, a faded, ratty, moth-eaten thing you're surprised was even there for her to pick out to begin with. But she's your grandmother, so you put it on, and you have to go out, so out you go into the cold. And as you're walking down the sidewalk, your hands are freezing, so you have to put them into your pockets. You don't want to, because at some point you placed some set mousetraps carefully into the pockets of some of your jackets, and this is one of them. You put your hand in, you think, and it's going to get smashed and broken and it's going to hurt like nothing before. But you have to, because it's cold. So you slowly slide your right hand into its pocket. And surprisngly, there no trap. Instead, you feel around for a minute, and ... HOLY HELL, IT'S A HUNDRED-DOLLAR BILL! You check the inside pocket--it's an entire book of coupons for free Chick-Fil-A, and they don't even have an expiration date! Wow! On their own, a hundred dollar bill and a bunch of free Chick-Fil-A are pretty freaking sweet, but when you thought you were going to find set mousetraps? Man oh man, that's the best hundred dollars you've ever clutched in your warm hand, it's going to be the best-tasting Chick-Fil-A ever. And most importantly, your left hand is getting pretty cold by now. You weren't sure if you were really going to get the gumption to stick it inside the jacket or not, but now? It's going into its pocket, and yeah, maybe there's still a mousetrap waiting in that one, but from everything you've found out about this jacket so far, you've got to feel pretty good about your chances. And at the very least, it's not going to freeze.

So, yeah, if you could hand me my party hat and wait for a moment while I strike up this kazoo, I'd appreciate it. Rational or not, blinded or not, risk of burns or not, it's going to be all-sunshine for the time being at the JCCW. I don't think I could help it if I tried.

*Note: May not be actual words spoken.


jrsuicide said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jrsuicide said...

my grandmother did buy me a pretty sweet member's only jacket at a garage sale a few x-mas's ago and she had no idea that it was back in fashion. dumbluck is better than no luck. i was pretty stoked.

sometimes grandma will blow your mind, dude.

JayAU'92 said...

There's still plenty of rain for the parade from Auburn's various media "friends." Given their penchant for all things Auburn when it came to (completely baseless) charges of racism, surely the same inquisitive journalists would give some attention to the recent hiring of FOUR qualified AND African-American coaches at Auburn. What's that, something bordering on kudos in the wake of the bad press from ESPN? Forget it. Instead, we get not only silence on the hires but this dark cloud (gleefully?) predicting '09 failure that threatens to ruin the freshly minted spirit of hope and optimism now thriving on the Plains.

Behold, your 2009 predictions (or hopeful plea?) from a familiar and dubious voice, ESPN hack Mark Schlabach:

"17. Auburn will name Gus Malzahn its coach-in-waiting
After the Tigers lose their first three games against Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State and West Virginia, Auburn will name offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn its coach-in-waiting to succeed recently hired Gene Chizik. USC quarterback Mitch Mustain, who played for Malzahn in high school and briefly at Arkansas, will transfer to Auburn."

Auburn will lose its FIRST THREE GAMES and AU will immediately target Chiz for extinction???!!!

Something tells me this is more in the category of the author's HOPE than prediction. After all, he's alreadly demonstrated his agenda by "reporting" (on ESPN's Between the Lines) that Auburn would not hire Turner Gill because of his (and his wife's) race. His sources for such an inflammatory and scandalous accusation: two (unidentified) coaches at other SEC schools (!).

Golly gee, Schlabach, surely coaches from competing SEC programs competing with Auburn for the same recruits (and insisting on anonymity) wouldn't have an agenda in making false allegations and tarring Auburn with the "racist" label during prime recruiting season, would they?? Now that's hard-hitting AND responsible journalism. Way to root out the obvious bias and agendas in order to get to the "truth" Schlabach (you despicable HACK and imposter)!!!.

I could almost live with these examples of deeply flawed and irresponsible "journalism" (as the expected byproduct of a little known, poorly educated, pseudo-reporter trying to climb the ladder of journalistic success) IF and ONLY IF there was some subsequent attempt at even handed reporting, e.g., a small crumb of recognition for the facts that are inconsistent with and, in fact, belie the original accusations of racism.

And these recent AU hirings provided the perfect opportunity for redemption. Sadly and pathetically, there are NO reports from Schlachbach or anyone at ESPN about the TT and Luper hirings or the fact that a regime accued nationally so recently of racism has hired FOUR (and counting) African American coaches. Pathetic, sad, ... and positively infuriating. Wait, add "disgusting" to the list of appropriate adjecctives to this state of affairs.

By the way, Kudos to K-Scar for an excellent article to that effect in today's Bham News.