That's the sort of thing we'd like to do, right? Not just the runaway beatdown part, the whole thing: a nationally televised, nationally-covered nonconference matchup in a neutral stadium in the middle of a recruiting hotbed only 120 minutes away from Auburn? Seems like about the most fun-n'-exciting possible way to kickstart the season that wouldn't involve the phrases "scantily-clad Salma Hayek" and "halftime entertainment."
I mean, it worked out pretty nicely for 'Bama, didn't it? This is the sort of action we'd love to get in on, right? If ABC tried to set us up with an opponent that would have to travel cross-country to be there, for a prime time showcase that could establish our up-and-coming bona fides to pollsters everywhere in 2010, we'd leap at the opportunity, wouldn't we?
No, according to the Los Angeles Times, we would not:
Efforts to match UCLA in a nationally televised game against Auburn to open the 2010 season fell apart when Auburn officials decided against the matchup, which was to be played in the Georgia Dome.The game would have replaced the Arkansas State game on Auburn's schedule*.
ABC was attempting to broker a deal for the game, which would have replaced one against Kansas State on the Bruins' schedule.
There are, I suppose, arguments against the game. Auburn's already made a deal with Arkansas St. The 2010 schedule would only have seven home games. With a home tilt against Clemson already on the docket, Auburn would be playing two tricky BCS-level out-of-league games, and based on our experience with West Virginia and South Florida the past two years, that's at least one too many.
I'll just come right out and say this: I think each of those arguments are horse pucky. I don't care what Arkansas St. thinks if we pull out of the deal**. I know there would be some financial loss in losing a true home game, but the benefits are overwhelming, and as for Auburn's fans I can't think of one I know who'd be more excited for a home game against Arkansas St. than one vs. UCLA in the Georgia Dome. And if Auburn passed because they're genuinely worried that playing a UCLA team that flew across the country two hours from the Plains will make the nonconference schedule too difficult ... that's just sad.
I'd like to just straight-out scapegoat Fail Jacobs for this, but it's possible the decision was made in cooperation alongside others in the athletics administration and/or Gene Chizik. So I'll just address this to whatever person or persons was responsible for this decision:
You blew it.
UPDATE: Jacobs had this to say for himself:
"We talk every year with ESPN to help us get games. They helped us with Washington State, Kansas State; they had their hands in West Virginia. They are great partners and always helped us.One a year, huh? To that I have to say:
"We've told them, `We're going to play one BCS team a year, how can you help us?'"
*This assumes the L.A. Times' information is correct. I don't see any reason to assume otherwise.
**The one argument I would be willing to listen to is if there's a contract signed between Auburn and ASU that gouges Auburn for some additional giant sum if they pull out. If that's not the case: BOOOOOOOO.
HT: the Good Doctor.