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#PMARSHONAU: Thoughts & impressions

These are sad Auburn days in so many ways. It's sad that good people are in danger of losing their jobs. It's sad that those who are charged with building a winning football program on and off the field have come up so short. And it's sad that so much anger has permeated the fan base.

Football, as we all know, holds a special place in the hearts of people in these parts. No doubt, some would say it's too important to too many people. But that's the way it is. When things go badly, people don't always handle it well.

I have to say that some of the vitriol is out of control.

From athletic director Jay Jacobs to head coach Gene Chizik to assistants and lower administrators, no one is immune. And it's only going to get worse if university president Jay Gogue insists on following the path he has followed in the past and waits until the season is over to say anything of substance. He will be set upon by reporters at the Nov. 16 Board of Trustees meeting. If no move has been made, it will be interesting to hear what he says.

Honestly, I don't feel all that badly for people who have buyouts of seven or, in the case of Chizik, eight figures. I feel badly for the assistants and support people and their families who are wondering what their future holds.

Moving on:

It might not be right and it might not be the way Gogue would want it, but much of his legacy as Auburn's president will be defined by what happens in the next month. The academic side of the university is far more important than football, but football is far more visible and invokes far more passion. ...

Based on hundreds of empty hotel rooms and complete lack of excitement the day before homecoming, I'll be surprised if the crowd for Saturday's game against New Mexico State is not the smallest at Auburn in years. There's just not much to say to recommend a game between two teams with 1-7 records. ...

Maybe I wouldn't do very well in the big-dollar world, but if I was hearing at every turn that I was going to be fired, I'd go confront my boss, demand to know if it was true and, if it was, say let's get on with it. ...

Auburn could and should win by a big score Saturday. That would be good for players, who haven't won a game since Sept. 15, and they would, no doubt, enjoy it. But I hope we're not subjected to glowing words from Chizik or anyone else about how much improvement there was or big it was. Beyond making players feel better, beating New Mexico State, no matter the score, will mean nothing.

On the other hand, losing to New Mexico State would almost certainly raise the level of anger and angst to such a level that Gogue would have no choice but to take action. ...

I have to say that I find the fascination with Bobby Petrino, well, fascinating. Many of those who believe he should be hired have somehow convinced themselves that nothing else is acceptable, that not hiring Petrino means there is no commitment to winning. Those opposed to it act as if it would be the end of the university as we know it. Neither, of course, is true.

But the most fascinating thing, from my standpoint, is how upset some people get at me just for reporting what I know to be true as if I have anything to do with whether Petrino is hired or not. It's an interesting phenomenon. ...

It's also interesting to see and hear how many people believe Auburn has a terrible track record for hiring football coaches. If all Auburn has done is hire bad coaches, it's amazing how much it has won. ...

I sincerely believe that, by far, the best course of action would be for whatever is going to be done to be done immediately. But I also believe that it is most likely that nothing will be announced before the end of the season.

It's going to be a long three weeks.

Until next time ...

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