Respect vs. reality on the Plains

I defer to no one in my disdain for preseason polls, but I think Chris Low is off the mark with this observation:

… this is the first time in history, dating back to the advent of the AP poll in 1936, that a defending SEC national champion has been left out of the top 10 in that next season’s preseason poll.

The closest was Georgia in 1981. Coming off their unbeaten national championship season in 1980, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 10 in the 1981 preseason AP poll.

For what it’s worth, they finished 10-2 in 1981 and won their second of three straight SEC championships.

The Auburn players have continued to shrug off the lack of respect they’re being showed in the polls and predictions. They were picked fifth in the Western Division at the SEC media days.

I’m wondering how many of those teams lost both a Heisman Trophy winner and a Lombardi Award winner from one season to the next.  Or went into the following season with the greenest team in D-1.  Or played what Phil Steele says is the second toughest schedule in the conference (and ninth toughest in the country).

I don’t think Auburn’s going to implode this season.  But given the above, it’s not a sign of disrespect to expect a significant drop off from a perfect season, either.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

25 responses to “Respect vs. reality on the Plains

  1. FisheriesDawg

    It isn’t like they were 1995 Nebraska last year, either. They trailed in a good portion of their games last year (can’t remember the exact number) and got some good luck/Cam Newton superman hijinks to bail them out. I wouldn’t exactly count on either of those showing up this season.

    • D.N. Nation

      Exactly. The Barn’s trip to Glendale required:

      – Clemson double-clutching on a FG in OT, thus negating an Auburn offsides. If the offsides is upheld, Clemson has first and goal down 3 in their half of OT. They score a TD and it’s over.
      – Trent Richardson dropping a wide open TD pass.
      – Mark Ingram fumbling through the endzone.
      – And another Bama fumble in the red zone.

      Not to mention close shaves against South Carolina and Miss. State, as well as a cavalcade of Penn Wagers-inspired derp against Arkansas. Who knows how that one would’ve turned out.

      • Macallanlover

        All of the above is true, AU was hardly an overwhelming team last year in several games (few undefeated teams in history were.) But I cannot believe you didn’t include our game. We had them on the ropes early like Bama did. If Fairley the Fairy had been ejected in the 1st qtr, as he should have been for the Murray “helemt rape”, the remainder of the game would have played out differently.
        The final score does not indicate how close that game was, we went for a desperation 4th down deep in our own territory that gave them a cheap TD at the end. Not saying we were even close to being the better team, but if they were the best team in the country, playing at home, with all the emotion CamGate had stirred up that week, they should have never struggled with an average team in a rivalry game.

        • D.N. Nation

          Didn’t include our game because we didn’t stop Auburn once in the second half. Agreed that Fairley should’ve gotten the heave-ho, though.

          • Macallanlover

            Understand, we definitely were disappointing most of the games on defense. Based on the lead Bama choked, they must not have stopped them either.

          • JayBird

            and so should about half the Georgia team for coming off the bench onto the field in the 4th quarter.

            • 81Dog

              awww, Jay. I cant believe you’re still complaining about that. I’m even more surprised you didnt throw out the word “butthurt” somewhere in your post. Isnt the idea that you have to use it any time you criticize an opponent partof the Auburn Creed? I think it’s the section right after “Because I believe in leaving no trail for NCAA investigators, I will always deal in cash with recruits and their families.”

            • Macallanlover

              Guess if some thug attacked a family member in your front yard you would sit in the house and do nothing. When are you AubieCanes going to stand for something ethical? The game got out of hand, period. You cheat, you play dirty, and you defend bad behavior….why do you think the nation turned on you last season? The sad part was you were surprised.

              Auburn is a disgrace to the SEC and I wish we could replace them…with anyone. You can deflect all you want, but there is a reason for the reputation you now much carry.

      • Xon

        Auburn also went to Kentucky and got all they could handle, winning on a last-second field goal.

      • Marmot

        The Clemson game was a close scrape on many counts, but the double clutch by the center was intentional to draw Auburn offsides and the ref made the right call. On that play every single Auburn player jumps and not a single Clemson player moves. Only way that happens is if the Clemson players know what is coming.

  2. Connor

    You don’t have to look far to find a good historical proxy for 2010-2011 Auburn. 2009-2010 Florida is very similar. They didn’t win the SEC, but they have to be pretty close to the top of the list of best teams to fail to do that, and they’d won it all the year before. Like Auburn they lost a once-a-generation player at QB, the heart of their defense, and lesser hearaled but vitally important pieces all over the rest of the line up. They went from an undefeated SEC regular season to 7-5. There are some differences, UF lost Strong and Addazio’s limitations were exposed, where as AU has no offensive coaching questions. On the other hand, UF played in a pretty week division last year, going 4-1 against the East and 0-3 against the West. Auburn obviously won’t be able to duck any of the West teams this year. I don’t think expecting between 6 and 8 wins is unreasonable.
    One small note, not that anyone has forgotten, but UF still beat UGA, close though it was.

  3. Biggus Rickus

    The closest to a comparable team coming off a national title was LSU in ’08, but they’d won 10 games so many years in a row, they got the benefit of the doubt.

  4. Go Dawgs!

    The preseason “lack of respect” card is one of the most tired stories in sports. If the 2010 Auburn Tigers were taking the field in 2011, I’d be willing to bet that they’d be the preseason #1, even despite all of the various near-misses they experiences last year. However, the names featured in 48-point font from last year’s team are gone. The 2011 Auburn Tigers are a different creation, and if they go undefeated through their murderers’ row schedule, they’ll be back in the BCS Championship Game. It’s that simple. Spare me the garbage about “respect”. Frankly, it’s out of overabundance of respect to the accomplishments of last season (and probably also the job that Malzahn did with the 2009 Auburn offense) that they’re in the Top 25 at all. Without the trophy, this team’s unranked in the preseason, because the only name that the non-Auburn fan knows on this team is Michael Dyer.

  5. Cojones

    Don’t think thatanyone is whistlin’ through the graveyard here. Auburn’s D was fodder for us year before last and Fairley made the difference last year. Don’t know of anyone added and know they lost help in that secondary as well as the line. We can account for one of their losses this year if we played now, but playing late in the season sometimes gives them time to mature in their play(so do we). Can’t tell about that maturity differentiation , but can tell now that our O can put the points to’em while the D holds’em by the nose. Special teams ought to widen the margin. Aubby should be ours for the taking this year.

  6. AusDawg85

    I’m pretty sure the agreement with the WWL and SEC was that the Barners could only pay for the 2010 season in advance. Once the NCAA leaves town, they can open the credit line again and be back in contention.

  7. If you value CammyCam and Fairly Indecent as +3 games each, dropping a combined 6 from the record isn’t unbelievable. Considering I’m not even counting the fact that the entire O-Line is different, I’d say a 6-6 season would be luck on their part unless the new QB turns into the second coming of [insert random Malzahn QB name here].

  8. CB

    What has Auburn and their fans upset deep down is that they know that the media would never diss Alabama in the same way. Alabama loses Ingram, Jones and McElroy and they make them no. 1.

  9. donkeydawg

    It’s pretty clear a lot of this “disrespect” talk reflects two different things: people who haven’t paid a bit of attention to the quantity as well as the quality of Auburn’s roster losses; and the belief that Malzahn is a once-in-a-generation offensive genius. If The Barn finishes in the Top Ten this year, Gus will certainly deserve that rep and will forthwith be somewhere else as HC.

  10. 81Dog

    Do the words “regression to the mean” ring a bell here?

    actually, I think Chin Gizik is just trying to clear cap space for the big free agent, errrrrrrrr, prospect class of 2012.

  11. Bryant Denny

    Auburn will have to play pretty good ball to win four and will have to fight like crazy to win six. Six starters return, they have a very young team, and have a target on their back. Plus, the schedule isn’t too kind to them either.

  12. ….and have a target on their back.

    That to me is the key quote here. They rubbed a lot of people the wrong way last year (it ain’t just Bama and UGA fans, ask South Carolina fans what they think of them). I find it hard to believe that Mark Richt and the coaching staff is going to forget about how that game got out of hand and how Chizik and Taylor and company let Fairley run roughshod on our QB last year. Win or lose, Auburn is going to feel the hurt after the UGA game this year. I guarantee it.

  13. Spike

    Time for some payback for all the Fairley cheap shots.

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