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This was posted for "insiders" on espn.com for those who care...
Success at the elite level of college football requires sustained performance over time. The contenders for national championships rarely emerge from out of nowhere, and elite performance on the field helps drive recruiting success off the field so that the power programs generally remain at the top of their game, year after year.
Teams from the SEC have raised the crystal football at the conclusion of the BCS Championship Game in each of the past seven seasons. Alabama has dominated the conference and the national title chase in recent years, and while LSU and Florida have been less consistent since claiming championships of their own, all three programs are well-situated for future success. According to our Program FEI ratings, a measure of five-year drive efficiency, Alabama, LSU and Florida each rank among the top five college programs heading into this fall.
There is one glaring exception to this rule of sustained success in recent years, however, and that is the Auburn Tigers.
Auburn followed up its undefeated and national championship season in 2010 with a very shaky 8-5 season in 2011 and a disastrous 3-9 season in 2012. The PFEI ranking for the Tigers dropped from No. 21 to No. 53 in one year, the second-largest change in PFEI of any team in the past 10 seasons and the largest by any team previously ranked among the top 40. (Washington State dropped from No. 49 to No. 95 in PFEI from 2007 to 2008).
Precipitous drops in the Program FEI rankings typically don't bode well for a swift recovery. Oregon State dropped 20 spots in PFEI from 2010 to 2011 and recovered nicely in 2012 with a 9-4 campaign. Ole Miss dropped 16 spots in PFEI from 2010 to 2011 and bounced back with a decent 7-6 season in 2012 that has them trending in the right direction for next year and beyond.
But Auburn's fall was nearly twice as significant as either Oregon State or Ole Miss, and there are many more examples of teams that are still struggling to recover. On average, teams that dropped at least 10 positions in PFEI from one year to the next continued their slide the following season.
The problems plaguing Auburn are numerous, and new head coach Gus Malzahn has his work cut out for him. In 2012, the Tigers ranked 119th in opponent-adjusted offensive efficiency and produced at least one first down on only 57.1 percent of drives, the seventh-worst rate in the nation. They weren't much better defensively, allowing 55.4 percent of available yards (105th most nationally) and giving up nearly 1.5 more points per drive than they managed to produce. Auburn's schedule will continue to be a major challenge, as well, with four games against PFEI top-20 opponents on the 2013 slate. Auburn played the seventh-toughest schedule last year according to our drive-based FEI ratings.
The few areas of success Malzahn can build upon are in special teams and field position. Senior place-kicker Cody Parkey led Auburn to a top-20 mark in field goal efficiency and the Tigers' kickoff and punt coverage teams were strong, as well. Field goals alone won't win SEC championships, but Auburn needs to start by doing the little things well to have a bounce-back season this fall.
Glad to see ESPN expressing such concern about AU football (said with tongue in cheek). What else would we expect from them?
The truth hurts. Hide from it if you will.
Don't really see that as a negative article on Auburn. They're simply stating the statistical facts of our situation and the obstacles Malzhan we will have to overcome in order to be successful. They state no opinion on his abilities or chances of turning this team around quickly.
I thought it was interesting ...
I am not hiding from it whatsoever! I lived through all of the excruciating pains of last year like the rest of us here. I just don't have the glass half empty opinion for this year's football program. I know there is a LOT of work for Gus and Company to do to repair the damage caused by the former staff. I just did not see anything even remotely promising from this write up other than Gus could build on our kicking game. I just did not like the total negativity projected for Auburn's future. I have a glass half full outlook for our future. WDE
Dunno how you can argue with anything they said. Auburn did fall off the map after 2010, and they used substantiated stats to lend credit to their statement. Auburn will be back, but to imply that ESPN is being unfair to Auburn here is just not liking the truth. They basically just said how bad we were after 2010 and what Gus will have to do to fix it. They didn't say "Gus can't do it."
Big change when you go into an article without bias already on your mind. Everyone here complains so much about ESPN and their articles, but then someone will post one and be like "Look at this crap from BSPN!" and 99% of the time, there really isn't much wrong with it if you can look at the article objectively.
I was going to put a witty joke here, but I forgot bama fans still use picture books. So I thought I'd expedite the process for you...
Point is... There is no reason to act like this is new news. We know this. And bspn has shown us that even they can read. But isn't it lucky that with some made up point ranking system that we fell the furthest and will take many years to recover.
Reality actually doesn't hurt. Its the misguided that can't see that reality.
We have talent. And you and anyone else can think what you will. But this is no ten year program. 4 prolly. But significant improvement can come from just having coaches that actually know how to coach. And for the love of god having an identity. That is half the battle.
Realistic expectations. 2-3 years to compete in the west 3-4 years to be in atl 5-7 to put another trophy in the case. That's if we continue to progress in recruiting. And develop that talent that is already on campus and bring the newcomers in and getting them going in the right direction. That would be realistic.
If you cant be honest....whats the point of being anything?
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