AUBURN, Ala. -- And so it begins.
Malzahn has engineered the biggest turnaround in Auburn and SEC history.
Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long. I guess the usual suspects just assumed that Alabama would win big, and Auburn would return to its rightful place not among the top five schools in the SEC, as Pete Thamel wrote in his latest takedown of the Tigers.
“Auburn will never be better than the fifth-best job, as Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU are widely considered a notch above the Tigers' position,” Thamel wrote.
Did he come up with that on his own, or just copy-and-paste it from an Alabama message board?
I’ll address this little fallacy before I move on to his other 1,145 words of slow-wittedness.
Alabama: Yes, they’re the most tradition-rich team in SEC history, and hold a 42-35-1 series edge over the Tigers. However, since the series left Birmingham’s Legion Field on an annual basis in 1989, Auburn holds a 13-12 Iron Bowl advantage.
Florida: Auburn leads the all-time series against Florida 42-38-2. Since 1990 when Steve Spurrier arrived and brought the Gators unprecedented success, Florida holds an 11-6 advantage. Since Auburn and Florida stopped playing on an annual basis in 2002, the Tigers are 3-0.
Georgia: This has been one of the best and closest rivalries of all-time. Right now, Auburn holds a 55-54-8 series lead. Since Mark Richt arrived in 2001, Georgia holds an 8-5 edge.
LSU: The Fighting Tigers hold a 27-20-1 series edge over Auburn, but since the series started being played on an annual basis in 1992, LSU holds a 12-10 advantage.
Auburn fits quite nicely in that club. To say otherwise is to distort the truth. To say never is comically inaccurate.
Of course, Thamel was just getting started. The best part of his column, and by best, I mean most inane, was his assertion that Gus Malzahn should leave Auburn as soon as possible because successful Auburn coaches “don’t have long and stable professional careers.”
Texas, he says, is a much more stable job. The same Texas that is ready to run off Mack Brown, a coach that has guided the Longhorns to more than 150 wins, an undefeated national championship season, and two one-loss seasons.
Yea, that makes a lot of sense. Texas, that bastion of stability, that ran Fred Akers off three years after going 11-1, David McWilliams a year after finishing 10-2, and John Mackovic two years after finishing 10-2-1.
Of course, Thamel trivializes Auburn’s success this season with his “serendipity meets reality” remark, which is just a cute way of calling Auburn lucky.
And we can’t have a Thamel story on Auburn without him rehashing everything negative that’s happened -- real or imagined -- over the past couple of decades.
He uses the shooting deaths of Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips in 2012 as as example of an off-the-field issue, instead of the tragedy it was and still is. Of course, he brings up Cam Newton, how could he resist, but fails to mention that Newton and Auburn were entirely cleared of any wrongdoing, and Auburn’s opponent in the 2010 BCS Championship game, Oregon, was eventually sanctioned by the NCAA.
Wait, I think I just saw an out-of-control Auburn booster run past my window.
What a ridiculous column from a ridiculous writer. But that’s become the norm for Thamel. He just can’t accept or handle Auburn’s success. His schtick sounds more like a caller to the Paul Finebaum show than a coherent column.
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