Patience is hard to come by in college football at highest level, and there's not much of it at Auburn these days.
It's difficult to ask people to be patient at the same time you are spending millions on facilities, asking them to donate thousands of dollars for ticket priorities, to pay $100 just to park or to pay for tailgating spots, all while the head coach makes $3.5 million per year.
It's also hard to ask them to be patient when all their biggest rivals are ranked in the top 10 in the country and TV commentators are predicting their team will go 3-9.
That's where head coach Gene Chizik and those who make big decisions in Auburn's football program find themselves.
I've written here previously about the reality of Auburn football, the fact that after the 2010 national championship, the cost of two lost recruiting classes came home to roost. But those are just words, and they don't make a lot of people feel better.
Sometime after last season or maybe during last season, Chizik made the decision that Auburn's football future would be best served by moving away from Gus Malzahn's up-tempo, no-huddle offense and to a more physical style of offense. It was the same decision Mack Brown made at Texas after the 2009 season. Chizik readily acknowledges that Brown is influential in his approach to coaching.
Brown suffered through a 5-7 season in 2010 and a bumpy 8-5 ride last season. This season's Longhorns seem to be back among the nation's best.
But did Chizik miscalculate? Did he wrongly believe he had enough capital from winning it all that Auburn people would understand and accept what is trying to do?
Chizik hired Brian VanGorder as defensive coordinator and Scot Loeffler as offensive coordinator after last season, moving on both sides more toward an NFL-style approach. The transition has been difficult, to say the least.
Would this Auburn team be better today on offense if it was still running Malzahn's system or one like it? It almost certainly would. Would it be better today on defense were it not for major changes that are much more noticeable to players than fans in the stands or writers in the press box? Maybe.
But Chizik didn't make those changes for the benefit of this season. Those changes are about a future he believes can be bright. Was it worth it? Will the difficulty of this season lead to glory in future seasons? No one can answer that now.
Meanwhile, the unrest among Auburn fans grows by the day. That doesn't mean Chizik's job is in danger. I don't believe it is, at least not at this point. But things could get really, really uncomfortable.
The 2012 Tigers broke through Saturday after losing their first two games, but it was not a win that created much celebration. They lost a 28-14 lead in the fourth quarter before beating Louisiana-Monroe 31-28 in overtime. And things are about to get really tough. LSU, sure to be ranked No. 2., comes to town next Saturday.
Down the road, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama await.
All is not lost. If this team improves as it goes, it can win some of those games, maybe a lot of those games. But if that doesn't happen, if the Tigers not only lose to traditional rivals but aren't competitive, the screams will be loud and long.
Patience? It's been priced out of existence. That's life in the fast lane of college football.