In January of 2008, I drove to work listening to a sports morning show in Birmingham play over and over the now infamous heckler of Jay Jacobs. Jokes were made at the expense of my school that provided me a foundation for a successful career. Like many in Alabama and around the country, they had a good laugh. Another gimmicky spread offense from a quirky former high school coach? Giggles. The Limo gambit? Chuckles abound.
Auburn was a punch line not 6 months ago. A 5-19 coach inheriting a team devoid of talent and playmakers. Some said lucky if they would win four. A notorious pot-stirrer in the radio world here in Birmingham proclaimed Auburn, one of the better programs in the country over the last 25 years, no longer relevant.
Auburn may lose next week to West Virginia. Auburn has a ways to go to get back to the upper crust of the SEC. But answer me this- after a 37-13 manhandling of a La Tech team that won a bowl game and a 49-24 blowout of what is considered to be a pretty good SEC defense, do you hear those laughs now?
After this weekend where a favorite for the SEC west struggled with Vanderbilt, at home, at night while another trailed late in the first half to Florida International, how comfortable are our SEC West opponents today? How good do they feel about their prospects of getting to Atlanta when a 2008 anemic Auburn offense now sits after 2 games at #2 in the country in running the football in 2009? When the top 2 rushers in the SEC wear the Auburn uniform?
After arguably the most impressive start by any SEC school this season, save the Gators, our detractors are a little less vocal. Sure, our friends of the Crimson persuasion said after week one that we'd see what we had after an SEC defense got to the spread eagle 2.0. Those same friends now say wait till we play someone good. When will that be? Week 12?
Kirk Herbstreit got laughed off of the radio for saying Auburn might start out 5-0 or 6-1. He also said with 5-0 or 6-1 start that Auburn would still go 7-5. I agree on the first part, Mr. Frosted Tips.
On the latter-this team, this chemistry, if they start 5-0, (and judging by Tennessee with Crompton at the helm-good possibility), who knows?
The bottom line here folks-after week 2, given the way things are beginning to take shape, my Tigers are not a punchline tonight. Nobody's laughing tonight.
After a night when we destroy an SEC opponent and put out a so/so performance all around, I am sold on Gus Malzahn. I am sold on Kodi Burns. This kid who gave an address that unified a team, now makes an offense easy money in the red zone.
Win Saturday night against West Virgina and I am sold. I haven't enjoyed watching a Auburn team this much since watching Ben Leard shred LSU 10 years ago on a Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge. Expect another shocker or two like that a decade later.
And savor the fact that nobody's laughing now...