Georgia has been taking part in soccer since 1892. It has had 3 unbeaten/untied seasons. One got here in 1896, when Pop Warner’s staff went 4-0; Charley Trippi and Herschel Walker figured within the different two.
Auburn has had 3 unbeaten/untied seasons during the last quarter-century. The primary was once in 1993 beneath Terry Bowden, who’d changed Pat Dye, on whose watch the Tigers incurred a postseason ban that stored Bowden’s 11-Zero staff from successful the SEC or gracing a bowl. The second one, beneath 2004 beneath Tommy Tuberville, likewise didn’t yield a countrywide name; USC and Texas began the season ranked Nos. 1 and a couple of and didn’t waver, and the BCS handiest counted to 2.
The 3rd was once in 2010 beneath Gene Chizik, who fell into the one-season reward of Cam Newton’s presence. That did carry a countrywide name. It didn’t carry lasting glory. Chizik was once fired in 2012 after going 3-9, 0-Eight in SEC play. The BCS-winning trainer hasn’t ever once more been a head trainer. He was once changed at Auburn through Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator throughout Cam’s run, and his Yr 1 got here inside of 13 seconds of yielding some other nationwide championship.
13 months in the past, Malzahn’s proceeding employment was once open to query. As of Oct. 14, 2017, his groups had long gone 28-18 (14-14 in SEC play) since Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin made his high-rise catch at 0:13 of the overall BCS name sport. On Nov. 3, athletic director Jay Jacobs – who’d employed Malzahn as head trainer – introduced his purpose to surrender. (Jacobs is now govt affiliate AD at Florida.)
Georgia, ranked No. 1 through the School Soccer Playoff committee, arrived in Auburn on Nov. 11, and there was once concept that an Auburn loss may just smash the Gus Bus as soon as and for all. (Amongst different issues, it was once stated that he didn’t grab the significance of the Deep South’s Oldest Competition, having long gone 0-Three towards the Bulldogs for the reason that Prayer at Jordan-Hare.) However Auburn gained 40-17 after main through 30, and two weeks later it disillusioned Alabama, which was once the CFP’s new No. 1, to win the SEC West.
The day ahead of the Tigers met Georgia in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the SEC championship, Malzahn was once being requested about experiences that he sought after the Arkansas task. With Kerryon Johnson hobbled, the Tigers misplaced the rematch 28-7, which put them in a strange position: They’d overwhelmed the groups that may play for the nationwide championship, however they didn’t make the playoff themselves. They returned to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and misplaced to UCF, which proclaimed itself nationwide champ.
Between the 2 losses at Mercedes-Benz, Malzahn re-upped with Auburn for $49 million over seven seasons. (Arkansas was once reported to have introduced $50 mil over seven. Place of origin cut price!) The Tigers started this season ranked No. Nine within the Related Press ballot and moved to No. 7 after beating Washington at MBS, their house clear of house. They’re unranked through AP nowadays. They’re No. 24 within the CFP rankings handiest as a result of they mustered two touchdowns within the ultimate six mins towards Texas A&M. They are able to’t repeat as West champs. They’re 14-point underdogs to Georgia.
Which once more brings us to Auburn and strange puts: Now not a complete 12 months after handing Malzahn a brand new contract, Allen Greene – he was AD in January – was once moved to supply the ol’ Vote Of Self belief. Greene referred to as Malzahn “our trainer of the longer term,” which for contractual causes the Tigers had higher hope he’s. In the event that they had been to fireplace him after the season, his buyout could be $32.1 million.
As the arena is aware of, Auburn has noticed its proportion of ordinary training machinations: Bowden resigned in midseason as a result of he ran afoul of the poisonous booster Bobby Lowder; faculty bigwigs flew to Sellersburg, Ind., to interview Louisville’s Bobby Petrino for the task whilst Tuberville was once nonetheless hired; Chizik was once out two years after hoisting the BCS crystal soccer. Even through Tiger requirements, this Gus stuff is bizarre. This time final 12 months, Auburn wasn’t certain it sought after him. Lately it’s now not certain it needs him. In between it passed him a $49 million contract.
The Tigers should disillusioned Georgia or Alabama to stay from completing 7-Five and playing the Tune Town Bowl. They’re the one SEC staff to have misplaced to Tennessee, and so they did it at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Regardless of having a returning quarterback in Jarrett Stidham and regardless of Gus being a schemer of excessive reputation, Auburn ranks 11th within the SEC (89th nationally) in overall offense. Regardless of having Kevin Steele, a defensive coordinator making $2 million in step with annum, it’s 7th within the SEC in overall protection.
Sure, it’s strange. It’s additionally Auburn, the wild temper swing of systems. The final time the Tigers had consecutive 10-win seasons was once beneath Dye in 1988 and ’89. The final time they completed within the AP best 10 two years working was once beneath Bowden in 1993 and ’94. And the Deep South’s Oldest Competition has pivoted to Georgia. For the reason that fourth-and-10 Devon Aromashodu catch/run/fumble of 2005, the Tigers are 3-10 towards their neighbor. About to be 3-11, I’d bet.