How far we've come? No practice over the weekend, so no real developments to follow from, you know, an actual football perspective. But Fan Day is a good opportunity to reflect on the tidal surge of optimism that's swept the fanbase since Chizik started hiring his assistants ... and the OA-News's Mike Svetitz takes advantage of that opportunity:
It was an honor to be there, they said. An honor to shake hands with the coach. An honor to speak with him. The chips were just a bonus — two and three bags at a time.On the one hand, I always feel like stereotyping the Auburn reaction to Chizik's hire using the airport heckler shorthand is awfully disingenuous--that was one guy, and when Chizik finally made it to Auburn, there was a lot more people there than "one." (They also happened to be just a bit friendlier.)
What a far cry from Dec. 13, 2008, when Chizik was first announced as the man to replace Tommy Tuberville.
You remember. Just YouTube “Auburn + Heckle + Airport” in case you forgot.
Did you ever think that now, eight months later, fans would line up hours in advance in the 90-degree-plus heat just to get a plastic helmet signed by Chizik?
My, how things change. And Sunday proved just how much.
On the other hand, Svetitz is right that the pendulum couldn't have possibly swung further from one direction to the other. Chizik's hire was greeted in nearly every orange-and-blue corner (this one included) as a colossal mistake, a career-ending error for Jacobs, a small step for the program but one giant leap towards Auburn irrevelance ... and eight months later, Chizik can elevate Chris Todd to the starting quarterback position after nine practices and receive nothing but hosannahs. Countless columnists said Chizik would have to work hard to "win over the Auburn faithful" or some such. For the time being, Chizik can keep that goal safely crossed off his checklist, I think.
To be frank, though, I wonder if the pendulum hasn't swung too far in the opposite direction. Much as we can try to go Eternal Sunshine on that 5-19 thing, it happened, and it didn't happen entirely by accident ("accident" here being code for "Iowa St."). If the Chiznick really goes 9-3 (!), he won't just have learned his lessons from the ISU debacle, he'll have become coaching Einstein or something. (That, or Dr. Gustav will be an even bigger genius than we think he is.) When Svetitz mentions fans who get defensive in the face of even a "whiff of doubt" ... well, we haven't seen Chizik coach one quarter at Auburn. I think retaining at least a whiff of doubt is only healthy at this stage, if not outright necessary.
Fannin. We've got a quote on his permanent home at H-back:
“This position I’m playing in, you’ll have great games in some games and some games will be OK,” Fannin said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “I understand that now, so I’m just waiting for my time.”I'd guess he's reached the Kodi stage: not thrilled, but at peace.
Condolences. The JCCW of course joins the rest of the Auburn family in mourning the loss of former Auburn pitcher Brent Schoening, who passed away Sunday morning after a battle with leukemia. I strongly recommend reading Jay Tate's recollection of Schoening's 1999 Super Regional performance against Florida St.
I suppose I have to mention this, don't I? As you've no doubt heard, Colonial's gone under. Impact on Bobby Lowder's trusteeship or Auburn football: zero. I guess perhaps, maybe, possibly, it makes it just that little bit harder for Lowder to pull the various strings he's acquired over the years ... but I doubt it. The story here are the jobs lost and the failure of one of the state's premier financial institutions, not the bank's connections to Auburn.
Todd 2: the Toddening. More blAUgosphere reaction, as Jay Coulter weighs in (and pays Burns his due respect) and Guaranteed to Satisfy makes the worthwhile point that once you get past the shock of Todd's ascension, there's not really much to get genuinely excited about here. That post is also worth reading for the following description of Dr. Gustav:
The guy walks around with an IV of the blackest coffee in the southeast and probably takes more caffeine pills than Jessie Spano.I was never as big a fan of that particular program as most of the other members of my generation, but I can still recognize a killer reference when I see it.
LOLZ. I can't say I enjoy Gump4Heisman's choice of team allegiance or the occasional requisite Auburn needling, but damn, the dude can photoshop a Sports Illustrated cover. My favorite from the inspired above-linked collection:
Punditry. Two Auburn mentions you may want to see from the college football MSM, the first coming from yesterday's "Ask CFN," and I'm as surprised about this as you are:
I love what you do for college football but I couldn’t help but think that you have lost your mind entering the 2009 season. I just noticed that you picked Auburn to beat Alabama. That is a complete joke! It will take a team who can throw the football and is at worst comparable to Alabama on the offensive and defensive lines. Auburn has none of those things. They will have one of the worst offensive lines in the SEC and their QB situation is a joke. They will be lucky to make a bowl and I can promise you that one of their wins won’t be over the Tide. – Michael H.Hey, he's right! Or at least more right than the guy who thinks Auburn has one of the worst offensive lines in the SEC. Not right enough to actually be right about Auburn beating Alabama, mind you--even I have a hard time making myself believe that--but it's nice to have a neutral party recognizing that we've got a few building blocks to build our overindulgent optimism around.
A: Remember, there are always, always, bizarre upsets that come out of the blue each and every year. When doing the preseason picks, we look for the perfect storm of conditions to predict an upset. Is Auburn better than Alabama? No, but the Tigers should be much better and much sharper by the end of the season, all the pressure will be on the Tide (this could be Auburn's BCS Championship game), and it's at Auburn, where Bama hasn't won since 2001. And then there's the timing. Alabama has just six days between the scrimmage against Chattanooga and the Iron Bowl, while Auburn has close to two weeks off to rest up and prepare.
Secondly, this is all kinds of old, but if you missed it, check out what Tony Barnhart--who has seen his fair share of exciting SEC games, I'd wager--picked out as his "most memorable moment covering college football":
December 2, 1989.Pretty sure I don't have to tell you what that date's referring to, but I strongly recommend reading Barnhart's recollection of that rather incredible day.
Vol-denfreude. That's my new word for the delight I can't seem to help taking in the tribulations of Lane Kiffin and the Volunteers. In this week's edition, Ivan Maisel warns that Tennessee's poor offensive scrimmage performance is an ill omen and Holly reacts appropriately to news of Jonathan Crompton's spectacularly Cromptonian performance in said scrimmage. I've gone on record a couple of times as saying I think the Vols will be better than Kiffin's bumbling would suggest they will ... but that doesn't mean the continued Cromptoning isn't going to be tons of fun to watch.
Etc. SEC campuses prepare for an onslaught of night games, and though I may be in the minority, I think the positives of night games vastly outweigh the negatives ... Trooper Taylor continues to hype up his freshmen receivers, and Charles Goldberg espouses a theory behind said hype I'll be happy to co-sign, having already espoused it myself.