Of course, that the clip exists at all is maybe the most dated aspect of the whole thing, since it shows how freaking excited Atlantans were about their basketball team at the time. That screams "mid-80s!" at least as loudly as the giant sunglasses. (Giant HT: Lifetime of Defeats.)
*crickets*. When the big news out of the Auburn football front this week is "Gene Chizik has started out on the rubber chicken circuit" (and that someone is making some outright gigantic tiger-face balloons), you know you're in the dead middle of the offseason. The one quote of note from Chizik's appearance:
Do you expect Tyrik Rollison to qualify?The complete lack of waffle on that is encouraging--and frankly means a lot more to me than Chizik saying he wants to get Auburn back to its 2004 level of talent. (If he didn't want that--if he said, "you know, I think we'll be perfectly fine with not recruiting future first-rounders," then that would have been news-worthy.)
Speaking of the Chiznick, if it's bothered him at all to have had Kiffykins, Saban, etc. overshadow him in the media spotlight since his hire, he's going to have a hell of a time changing that at SEC Media Days--he'll be the first coach at the mic on a day that'll continue with Steve Spurrier and wrap up with Les Miles and Kiffykins. Odds of Chizik saying anything that'll still be in the headlines when those three guys are done: nil. (I suspect Chizik is perfectly OK with that, of course.)
Exes, not in Texas. We got updates on two former Tigers this week. Tray Blackmon signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL, where despite all his troubles on the Plains I still find myself hoping like a hope-machine he can get himself straightened out and turn into the Linebacker He Should Have Been. I'm a sucker for happy endings that way. (HT: Auburntron.)
If seeing a former five-star fan-favorite take a last-gasp shot in the CFL is a little on the depressing side, though, the news on Blackmon has nothing on the word on Anthony Mix: he's facing (misdemeanor) sex charges in Baldwin County for having sex with a 15-year-old. Ugh.
Chicken Soup for the Auburn Soul. Acid at Track'Em:
I remember a year, back in the last millennium, when championships were a fading memory. Our championship coach had resigned, in the wake of trouble, and a shutout loss to Alabama. There had been a disappointing season or two, before the changing of the guard. The cupboard seemed to have become bare in just a few short years. A number of great coaching names were bandied about, but in the end, Auburn hired a real head-scratcher of a candidate to run the program, a lower-division coach that would be the youngest Auburn head coach in history.I won't spoil the surprise, but I'll give you a hint: it's the year Auburn went undefeated under a coach whose name rhymes with Blarry Blowden. And while I just can't see Auburn catching that kind of lightning in a bottle a second time--the absence of a four-year starting quarterback is a pretty massive between that team and the current edition--it's still a nice reminder that turnarounds on the Plains can happen a lot quicker than we might expect.
Spring drills were pretty depressing, that year. The quarterback situation was up in the air. Folks were transferring out of the program left and right. The linebackers were green as could be. The wide receivers could not catch a cold, and there were pretty danged few of them to begin with. Weren't many offensive linemen, either, although the few we had did have some potential. Had a few veteran backs returning, but none of them had been a big-play guy in the past. Team depth was such that A-Day was pretty much only a controlled scrimmage. Sound familiar?
The new coach had managed to come up with a few signing day surprises, and had wowed a lot of folks with his assistant coach hires. There was a renewed emphasis on physical football, and fundamentals. While everyone was ready to move forward, few folks expected Auburn to have a winning record, that year. Alabama had won 12 games the year before. Ole Miss was returning perhaps the nation's top defense. Arkansas had hired a national championship coach to return them to glory. Mississippi State had been to two straight bowls, and was ready to take the next step. LSU survived a promising quarterback's crazy freshman year, and now was expected to make some noise. The SEC West looked like an absolute meat-grinder! Have you figured out what year I'm reminiscing about?
Holy crap. Every now and again, Dr. Saturday will pull out a graph that just makes your jaw drop. Like this one:
This doesn't have anything to do with Auburn, but from the perspective of a college football fan who came of age in the late-80s/90s when the U and the 'Noles were the absolute gold standard for year-in, year-out dominance and Heisman-quality talent, it's just stunning. There must be eight- and nine-year-olds out there right now who think of the 'Canes and FSU as nothing more than two anonymous, run-of-the-mill ACC teams, and judging by the current talent levels they're right. Unbelievable. Unfathomable.
'Round the SEC. So Nick Saban's going to be in The Blind Side. Hope they remember to upload actingnatural.exe before his scene. I certainly don't blame Saban for taking part, but let's take a moment to note the number of Tide fans who would accuse Chizik of frivolous frivolity while praising Saban for working to dominate every day or whatever--i.e., many--with the number who have said word one about Saban taking up this offer, i.e. zero.
Up in Knoxville, we could see some very interesting depth chart issues this season now that, with backup wideout Ahmad Paige departing on good terms, 10 different players have left the program since Kiffykins took over. Particularly interesting is the quarterback situation: with B.J. Coleman one of those 10 and no incoming freshmen, the only scholarship QBs on the fall roster will be Jonathan "Disaster" Crompton and Nick "I Couldn't Beat Out Jonathan 'Disaster' Crompton Last Year" Stephens--and that's before next year, when Compton graduates. 3SiB has a comprehensive rundown of the situation that's well worth your time.
Krootin'. Not much going on, but Auburn's in the top four for Eric Mack, an important offensive line prospect out of South Carolina. Seems likely Auburn will have to beat out Clemson for him. For those of you wondering about the current staff's work rate, Jeremy Richardson is apparently getting a hand-written note from the Auburn coaches "almost daily." Which is great! Kind of sad for the fallen and craven nature of current civilization, sure, but great!
Etc. OverThePylon takes an interesting look at which teams won what high school yearbooks called "Best All-Around" last year, at least from a statistical perspective ... Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi says Urban Meyer should apologize for his "misinformed" Auburn comments, but he won't, because he wasn't misinformed ... PPL updates us on the professional exploits of former Auburn baseball players ... Nell Fortner, Coach of the Year.