There’s a narrative that started bubbling up to the top this week I don’t get. It seems that members of the pundit class are coming to grips with the thought that Auburn has turned things around and looks to be headed for bigger things. Here’s Adam Rittenberg ($$) with an example of that thinking:
Like any new coaching staff, Auburn needed time to evaluate players during in-season practices, make changes and craft an identity, especially on offense. The Tigers lost Sept. 18 at Penn State and trailed Georgia State into the final minute the following week before scoring twice.
Harsin made some bold decisions, such as benching Nix against Georgia State and firing wide receivers coach Cornelius Williams the following day. Auburn then fell behind 13-0 at LSU before rallying to win behind Nix in what has become the team’s signature quarter. Auburn suddenly finds itself ranked No. 12 and tied with Alabama in the loss column for first place in the SEC West Division.
He breaks Auburn’s season into two phases: started 2-1; since 4-1. I guess I’m missing the dramatic turnaround. The Tigers went from losing to Penn State on the road and avoiding an embarrassing upset (with a little timely help from the officials) at the hands of Georgia State to… beating a subpar LSU team and a beat up, shorthanded Ole Miss team while getting walloped at home by Georgia. That’s progress?
The defense shut out LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss in the fourth quarter of recent wins.
Cool beans. Georgia’s defense shut Auburn out in the second and fourth quarters of their recent loss.
The Tigers finish their season playing three ranked conference opponents in their last four games. I guess we’ll see how much traction this narrative holds.