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#PMARSHONAU: Twisting in the wind

Former Georgia quarterback Mike Cavan, a friend of many years, and I were chatting in the press box before Saturday's game between the Bulldogs and Auburn.

"We're scared to death of this game," said Cavan, a fundraiser in the Georgia athletic department after a distinguished coaching career. "Night game. Great atmosphere. It's going to be tough."

It wasn't tough, of course. Georgia won 38-0 with head coach Mark Richt trying his best to keep the score down. It isn't tough against Auburn for anyone who is any good.

This is the worst Auburn team of my lifetime, and the amazing thing is that it wasn't close to that when the season started. This team was much better in the first game than in the 10th game. It's not even close.

Nothing is going to change where this season is going. Auburn will beat Alabama A&M next Saturday and Alabama will name the score a week later in Tuscaloosa. It's over. Meanwhile, Auburn coaches, players and fans twist in the wind.

Why? Because waiting until the season is over is the way Auburn president Jay Gogue has always done it. He did it that way at the University of Houston, New Mexico and Utah State, so he has so far insisted on doing it that way at Auburn.

But as the screams of agony grow louder, surely he is listening. Surely athletics director Jay Jacobs is listening. If they come to the conclusion they want to stay the course with Chizik, why not go ahead and say it now and take the heat? And, if not, why not give fans who are literally grieving something to hold on to?

If there is a change, Auburn is going to be competing with Tennessee and Arkansas for coaching talent. The earlier it can start, the better off it will be.

Gogue is a good man trying to do the right thing. Of that, I have no doubt. But I've said it before and I'll say it again now. It's time for him to put his cards on the table. ...

Sunday reflections:

It might be that the biggest mistake Chizik made in all of this was his decision to switch to a pro style offense. It always was puzzling to me. The SEC has won six straight national championships, three of them by teams running a version of the spread. As of today, Texas A&M, with its potent version of the spread, is probably the best team in the league.

Chizik, it would seem, was swayed by Alabama's and LSU's recent success and by the decision of Texas coach Mack Brown, who he views as a mentor, to make the same move. Not only did Chizik decide to make the move this season, he pulled the plug on Gus Malzahn's offense three games into last season. The results have been nothing short of disastrous. ...

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder's comments after Saturday's game sounded ominous, but were also open to interpretation. He was asked about Auburn's program, not just his defense, and what needed to happen. Here was his response:

"I don't have a lot of doubt in my mind. I'm not going to talk about that out of respect for everybody. If you are into football and know football, you can look at it and pretty much know the route it has to go. We have to improve greatly. If you are really intellectually into the game, it's very obvious."

Was he talking about the head coach, assistant coaches, players? Only he knows. ...

Former Auburn fullback Heath Evans' statements about toughness and accountability lacking in Auburn's program were damning. Evans has unquestioned credibility. He works out during the summers with Auburn players. What he said is his opinion, but his opinion carries a great deal of weight. ...

Auburn's seniors, who will play at Jordan-Hare Stadium for the final time on Saturday against Alabama A&M, will certainly have tales to tell their children and grandchildren. They were part of perhaps the greatest season in Auburn history and one of the worst. The fall from where the Auburn program was in January 2011 to where it is now has been breathtaking and unprecedented in the modern history of college football. ...

Until next time ...

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