Auburn fans ready to forget 2012 season
by Johnathan Bentley
Jul 27, 2013 | 1672 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Johnathan Bentley
Johnathan Bentley
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Former Auburn football coach Pat Dye once said he wouldn’t swap Gene Chizik for 10 Nick Sabans — as if there were that many to go around.

That insane statement was uttered less than a year ago after Auburn’s 1-3 start to the 2012 football season.

I wouldn’t ask Dye for investment advice any time soon.

Instead of getting 10 Sabans, Auburn paid Chizik millions of dollars to go away.

In the end, I think Dye meant to say 10 Doug Barfields, but even that would have been a bad deal.

I liken the Chizik era to that of a journeyman major league pitcher who puts together one incredible season — thanks to Cam Newton — and then goes back to being the journeyman we all knew he really was.

After last year’s debacle, a 3-9 record and an 0-8 SEC mark,  I’m anxious to see what Gus Malzahn can do on the Plains now that he is the head man.

Always the pessimist, I keep thinking that anything better than 0-8 in the SEC is an improvement. The game I wanted to see last year was Auburn-Kentucky to find out just who was the worst team in the SEC.

What I want to see this season is a competitive team. I’m not talking wins or losses, just give me a few games that I can enjoy in the fourth quarter. Those have been rare over the last two years.

I don’t mean a nail-biter against Utah State or a thrilling overtime win against Louisiana-Monroe, I mean a good showing against a good SEC team.

Since 2008 — even if you include the BCS championship season of 2010 — the Tigers are just 3-12 against LSU, Georgia and Alabama.

Auburn is also 0-2 against Vanderbilt in that span. Please note that the last two times Auburn has lost to the Commodores, the Tigers fired their coach at the end of the season.

Go ahead and circle that game Malzahn.

Over the last two years, Auburn hasn’t just lost, it has been battered by the upper echelon of the conference, losing to  LSU, Georgia and Alabama by a combined score of 231-41 — and that’s including Auburn’s narrow 12-10 loss to LSU last season.

I also left out Auburn’s embarrassing performance in a 63-21 loss to Texas A&M. As bad as that was, it could have been worse.

I call 2012 the lost season. While Auburn games were televised last season, the Tigers should have been banned, much like they were in 1993.

I rarely made it to halftime before giving up and tuning in to a competitive game.

I really don’t know what to expect this season.

Fans are excited about Malzahn’s bringing his fast-paced offense back to town, but I wonder if those same fans have forgotten the play of quarterbacks Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace.

Last year, those two — especially Frazier — would have had trouble running a toybowl offense. I vividly recall seeing Frazier fail to throw the ball to a receiver who was standing five yards away  during the game against A&M — Alabama A&M. Had the receiver been on stilts he would have had a chance.

The quarterback duo combined for six touchdowns and 12 interceptions last year.

If either of those two line up at quarterback to start the Washington State game, I will be very nervous.

Though he hasn’t been through a single practice I expect incoming junior college transfer Nick Marshall to take snaps as the starter come August 31.

Even if Marshall doesn’t start, I recall Malzahn turning a below average QB like Chris Todd into a formidable force in 2009, so there is hope no matter who is back there.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to the start of the season. Fans and players are all ready to forget about 2012 and excited to see what Malzahn can do.

Though he hasn’t coached his first game on the Plains, I wouldn’t trade Malzahn for 10 Pat Dyes.

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Johnathan Bentley is the Sports Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at johnathan.bentley@mountaineagle.com.