Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Spring of My Discontent

It's been a long winter and spring for me as an Auburn fan. In January, we watched as AU finished off a subpar year on the gridiron with a nice blowout win over Virgina in the Chick-Fil-A bowl. Unfortunately, that was the highlight. And since we have suffered through an intolerably bad basketball season and an even worse offseason. And to top that off, AU's baseball team spent the better part of the year getting mopped by some good teams (see South Carolina) and some crappy ones (see Alabama). It makes me long for autumn with the hope that the 2012 Auburn football team will be once again on the top shelf in the SEC. But first, let's look back at the carnage we saw fom the middle of January until now. First of all, no one thought that Tony Barbee would put together a team that would get anywhere near the big dance in his second season. He had decent talent, but no decent big people or shooters for that matter. But from what we saw in the pre-SEC schedule the team appeared to be at least scrappy and would give some teams trouble. Auburn played eventual National champ Kentucky about as good as anyone did at home in January. At that point, I really thought they might be tough enough at home to sneak into the NIT. But somwhere along the way the scrappiness disolved, and we saw a team that could build a tewnty point first half lead at home against Arkansas only to watch it evaporate in the second half. This theme repeated itself countless times over the season. Auburn's season came to a merciful end in the first round of the SEC tournament. Then things got really bad. First the point shaving scandal of Varez Ward, then the transfers of Morena and Kouassi, follow that up with Josh Langford and Cedric McAfee getting kicked off the team and you begin to wonder if Barbee has control of his prgram. He's still signing good players, but a new roster every year usually doesn't work out well unless you're Barbee's former boss. Anyway, my optimism for the future right now in AU hoops is guarded at best. Baseball season I thought would bring us more promise. John Pawlowski returned several very good players from a team that was a pitcher or two from being very good last season. Auburn added that pitcher or two and we were looking at a pretty good team on paper. Oh if the games could be played on paper. Auburn started out the SEC season in fine fashion, winning the first three series. Then came Easter weekend, when the Tigers got swept by the worst team in the conference, which happended to be their arch rival. Alabama's 3 victories over Auburn accoutned for exactly one third of their SEC wins. Unfortunately the sweeps didn't end there, and Auburn backdoored their way into the SEC torunament, but not before losing at hoem to NCAA bottom dweller Jacksonville State. The baseball program seems like it has a pretty bad chemistry problem right now. Next year does not appear to look much better considering all of the loses to graduation and the draft coming up soon. Auburn's postseason hopes died in Hoover, losing to South Carolina 5-3. So for the 6th time in 7 years, Auburn baseball will be home for the postseason. Considering beloved former Tiger Casey Dunn landed Samford a regional spot, the clocking may well be ticking on John Pawlowski. So now I sit here waiting for football season, and it cannot get here fast enough. So to Emory, Keihl, Ontario, and Lutzy, I say-Help us, you're our only hope.