Auburn will contend in 2010

Despite an unproven (but trendy) quarterback, a mid-SEC level defense and depth issues all over the field, the fact that Auburn played Alabama close in 2009 and won an emotional New Year’s Day bowl translates to the Tigers being a major contender in the SEC West, certain to vie for a spot in Phoenix next January.

You heard it here first.

Or maybe not.  All you need is a short memory to remember another trendy team that was all the rage this time last summer.

Remember Ole Miss in 2009? Remember the powerful Jevan Snead? Remember the game of the century that was to take place in early October in Oxford?  Don’t worry; nobody else does either.

In 2009, Ole Miss was Phil Steele’s pick to win the West, lose to Florida in Atlanta and play in the Sugar Bowl.  These days Steele has indicated that one of his models for the upcoming 2010 season has Auburn being the surprise team in the West, leading to feverish anticipation not seen since, well, last year.

In fact, almost a year ago to the day, here was his bowl predictions for SEC teams for the 2009 season (ten total):

Now, here were the results: 2009 season bowl results

To save time, of the ten games and twenty participants from the SEC he predicted, he got four right.  Not match-ups.  He didn’t get any of the ten match-ups correct (Team A vs. Team B).

Instead, Steele “nailed” four of the twenty participants.  That’s 4 out of 20.  20%.

Can you imagine your doctor telling you he was 20% certain what was wrong with you?  Or your HVAC technician?  Or your mechanic?  How confident would you be moving forward?

Getting back to the grind, as for the No. 6 finish he predicted for the Rebs?  Heck, let’s just look at the entire Top 25. Here’s how it played out in real life.  The left poll shows the final BCS standings.  On the right you’ll see the Sporting News, Athlon’s, Lindy’s and Phil Steele’s predictions for ’09:

Notice anybody missing?  But for a little more fun, let’s see what else we have here…

  • Steele “nailed” three of the top 25 finishers (Texas at No. 2, Virginia Tech at No. 11 and Nebraska at No. 22) but missed on the other 22.  That’s a 12% success rate.
  • Steele didn’t rank Oregon (No. 7), Georgia Tech (No. 9), Oregon State (No. 18) or Utah (No. 23).
  • Steele had Notre Dame as a dark horse to compete for all the marbles, projecting a reasonable finish at No. 7.  The Irish finished 6-6 and didn’t play in a bowl.
  • And of course, Steele had Ole Miss finishing at No. 6…but the Rebs didn’t even make it into the final poll.

So what led to the Ole Miss love at the beginning of last season, besides a fan-crazed hunger for football prognostications this time of year?  Well, it’s simple:

A trendy quarterback, a strong finish in 2008 and an emotional New Year’s Day Cotton Bowl win.

Sound familiar?  Notice a trend?

Look, one can argue that Phil Steele’s body of work holds water.  But his predictions are no better than yours if you had enough time to sit down, analyze the schedules and data and submit your predictions to a publisher.  The rest of us get paid to do something else.

For what it’s worth, Steele had Bama being great in ’08 and good in 2009, finishing behind the Rebs in the West.  But for some reason I remember a different scene from last January .

The most fun last summer any of us had was getting to participate in pumping sunshine into our Rebel friends who believed the pie in the sky that the pundits like Steele, Tim Brando and other talking heads were selling.  Now that pie has an interlocking AU on it, and it tastes good to any orange and blue pallets out there willing to take a bite.

But ask only our friends in Oxford about the aftertaste that crusty old pie can leave.

So let me be the first to say, Auburn will win the West this year, finish 12-0 and face the Gators in the Georgia Dome.  Anything less than a 10-win season and BCS bowl appearance will be a monumental disappointment.  The Tigers’ time has come.  No one can stop them this season! (Spread the word…)

24 Comments

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  1. 1
    MidWestBamaFan

    I think AU could have a solid 9-3 or 8-4 record this year, but to be honest, I would not be the least bit suprised if that team falters and goes 6-6. All this hype around Cameron Newton and Gus Malzahn brings back memories from 2008 with all the hype surrouding the great Kodi Burns and the great offensive guru known as Tony Franklin. The sad thing is, that team had WAY more hype then this team coming up with a preseason ranking of #11! When the season started however, Auburn ended up being the biggest bust that year. That being said, if Cameron Newton lives up to his hype, I think AU does 8-4 or 9-3 this year. However if he turns out to be a bust like Kodi Burns did in 2008, AU will struggle and go somewhere along 6-6 this year.

  2. 3
    Pluto

    We know that there has been this effort to pump up Auburn in the Media to ensure that there is Penetration into that Advertising Market. The Ad People are telling Programming that Auburn must be treated as an Equal of Alabama – to ensure Market Share.
    That’s Right. Advertising is telling Programming to play it Equal and pump up and favor especially on Sports Talk Radio – Auburn Callers.
    That’s why an White Trash Aubie Moron like Tammy is a Star on PFRN .
    Yup. Any News from Auburn – Shit . Stop the Presses !

  3. 4
    Bamafan2

    Auburn has a better coach now, but I really don’t see them winning but about 8 games. They will get better then what they have been the last few years though. I can see them having a decent team in a year or so. I know Newton is suppose to a great QB, but I want to see what he can do in the SEC week in & week out. He will have his problems at first, but if Auburn wants to get anywhere he better get over them quick. Good story. If you guys want somemore good stories, go to http://championsoftheroundtable.weebly.com/index.html It’s a great new site for Bama fans too. RTR

  4. 5
    finebammer

    to be fair, when houston nutt was hired at ole piss, most in the mainstream sports media were getting that proverbial thrill up their leg. problem is there’s more to fielding a top notch sec football team than hiring a top notch coach. (and that’s providing you think nutt’s a top notch sec coach……i never have)

    the two keys to having a championship caliber sec program is money and recruiting. ole piss has neither.

    their alum and fans don’t fund the program to the level of florida, alabama, georgia, etc…. all one has to do is look at their facilities.

    two, they don’t recruit. alabama regularly cherrypicks the top mississippi talent annually. the rebels reveled in their old south segregationist past for too many years. perception is reality and that perception ain’t going away anytime soon.

    there is the unfortunate habit of most ‘bama posters on this site to trash everything auburn. personally, i think auburn gets way too much attention here. if alabama people take care of their business as they should, nothing auburn does will make a difference to us.

    but the fact is auburn’s in a better position than programs like ole piss. they recruit better and there’s more money and better facilities. will that translate to a sec championship this year with saban across the state at alabama???

    probably not.

    but unless auburn hires another doug barfield they’ll traditionally be in a better position than an ole piss or s. cockalina.

    and i don’t think chizik is another barfield but only time will tell.

  5. 6
    finebammer

    and to pluto’s point on tammy, pluto, i love aubies like tammy.

    the existence of tammy blows this perception aubies like to protray themselves as alumni. i was raised around a classic auburn fan who went to school there. he loved to hold himself above the fray and look down his nose at somebody like me and claim he wasn’t just any “pick-up truck” fan, he had a degree from auburn and most auburn fans did.

    well, i work in blue collar environs around the state and i can tell you there are significant numbers of aubies cleaning bathrooms and driving forklifts.

    tammy validates.

    (again, to be fair, the university has their share of blue-nosed snot alumni fans. but coach bryant knew where his bread was buttered. ditto coach saban. those championships weren’t won with legacies alone. far from it)

  6. 8
    capstonereport

    I believe Auburn will win 12 games in 2010 too! Anything less than Atlanta is a real disappointment for this talented team, and the team should score more than 100 points per game.

    I don’t believe Auburn has a better coach now. Nor do I think Auburn has a better staff. Tuberville was lazy during his last few years, but Tuberville has accomplished much more than Gene Chizik ever will. Tuberville’s problem was allowing a cancer on his staff like Tony Franklin. Franklin’s book should’ve told Tuberville the guy was disloyal and arrogant. Disloyal and arrogant—that kind of sounds like Malzahn now.

  7. 9
    coach chet

    Bama dudes really trip me out when it comes to evaluating other sec talent. Re: Cam Newton; there won’t be any growing pains. He’s already been in the sec.Look at the video’s and the stats, without question you r in touble bama.The team is loaded. Cam does’nt have to make all the plays this year but believe me , when called upon he will.

  8. 11
    InTheKnow72

    Believe me coach chet, I know it. I look for Cam to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for another 1,500. We don’t have a chance this November. Please ask Chizik to have mercy on us.

  9. 12
    almightytmc1

    Same here Itk and Cappy.
    The SEC is doomed. I think Auburn will truley have a stellar season. We are talking 750 yards of offensive production a game. Thats what Malzahn is known for. (Sure, he might not have put up numbers like that against the upper echelon SEC teams, but……)
    And then you have Cam Newton. I mean lets look at his SEC Stats! The guy clearly shined in (very) occasional (mop up) duty for Jesus Tebow while Timmy was posing for magazine covers and being fellated by the press.
    Can anyone here say that Meyer picking Brantly was nothing but a racist dig against the former Blinn Community college SUPERSTAR? I think not.
    And dont get me started on that laptop. Everyone knows he “borrowed” it and was trying to throw it out the window to the rightful owner when he was framed by the Racist Meyer. End of story. Anyone who says differently would have to prove it too me by posting at least 25 credible links. (*None can be from Florida or New York.*)
    I just want to go on record as saying this…
    Auburn fans….Please buy those SEC and national championship ticket/hotel packages NOW! And if it doesnt work out for you (But we all know it will) I will be there to purchase the tickets from you. It might be at a slight 90% loss to you but hey… I am a great guy… And I am willing to help you out if you need it!

  10. 14
    ITK

    Almighty, you are truly a nice guy to make such an offer to our barner friends. But like they won’t be able to use any SEC championship tix they buy. Please.

  11. 15
    julio

    OH MY GOD!!!! I post one sentence about Phil Steele predicting a strong season for Auburn and you jump straight in and post a full “smear campaign” article about the guy??? Did that one little comment bother you that badly?? Now you’re actually trying to say that Phil Steele has no credibility??? I especially love this line: “Look, one can argue that Phil Steele’s body of work holds water. But his predictions are no better than yours if you had enough time to sit down, analyze the schedules and data and submit your predictions to a publisher. The rest of us get paid to do something else.” First of all, one could also “argue” that Phil Steele’s magazine is universally accepted as the most accurate pre-season magazine in the country over the past ten years. Secondly, despite your apparent ignorance of the fact there are plenty of others besides Phil Steele that “get paid” to sit down, analyze data, and submit their predictions that have not been near as accurate and consistent as he has. See ITK, stupid comments like this is where you lose your credibiity.

  12. 16
    ITK

    Julio, like your buddy Phil, there’s a 20% chance that what you just said holds any water.

    Numbers don’t lie. Did you even compare his predictions with what happened, or did you just skip down from the title to “submit comment”? Wait, don’t respond to that. We already know the answer.

  13. 17
    julio

    You’re right ITK, numbers don’t lie. Phil Steele has had the most accurate pre-season magazine in the country over the past 10 years. But of course, it’s always easy to pull a tiny slice out of someone’s entire body of work to mislead others into believing you have a valid point. I’m sure if you examine his record over the last 3 years in games where he picked 6 point underdogs playing on the road after 5 PM in temperatures between 58 and 62 degrees you could find some flaws, too. You’d have us believe that is reflective of his entire record (unless he says Bama’s going to do good, at which point you would immediately initiate a smear campaign against anyone who said the same things you just said about him.)

  14. 18
    ITK

    Look, I think I’ve made myself clear. You’ll get no arguments out of me. Auburn will go undefeated this season because Phil Steele said they would. 12% at picking the top 25 is pretty strong. Heck, God only requires 10%.

  15. 20
    ITK

    You’ll have to translate that into English so the rest of us can also…

    DANG! You beat me to that one! It was so snazzy and clever, it’s easy to see why you borrowed it from someone else.

  16. 22
    StablerRaider

    I’m not a religious man, Julio, but even I understood ITK’s reference.

    Anyway, you want to keep unzipping Phil’s “10-year-record,” to make yourself feel better about Abarn, that’s fine. You don’t want to respond to how much he missed the mark last year, that’s fine. Just don’t make any pretenses that last year was a “tiny slice.” I think one year out of ten is, wait for it, 10%.

  17. 23
    Xanusus

    Well let’s see out of all the major universities in the country Auburn has the most experience(strictly by the numbers according to Steele). Newton is an upgrade at QB. He does have some SEC games under his belt plus he did lead his team to the National Championship( in other words he’s not some unproven commodity as you guys are implying). He’s not unproven on the college level in the sense that Burns was so that is an unfair comparison. Burns was a flop at QB with no prior SEC or college experience. Newton has proven in the SEC AND junior college that he has the tools to get the job done.

    We lost Tate but Fannin has always been the better yards per carry man. He always averaged more than Tate. He didn’t get the start in his earlier years due to a ball handling problem which hasn’t been a problem for him lately. So once again, we’ll be fine there. Plus 5 star Dyer reckons to play some and a healthy beefed up McCalebb will be back also. Our offensive line will be one of the best with 4 of 5 starters coming back. Our receivers are also solid. So we’re looking good offensively.

    Defensively we’re getting some players back who were injured last year for the season and will have more depth there this year so I expect an improvement on defense over last year. I’m not talking stellar lights out improvement but better than last year.

    So all around Auburn will be a better team this year than last.

    Considering that all but two of our losses(Arky and LSU plus the bad calls in that game) last year were games where we had a solid chance of winning, I’d say Steele is about right in his ranking of us.

    Considering that last year was the first year of this coaching staff and to improve Auburn from losers the year prior to a winning record is a good sign. Chizik’s staff did better than Saban’s in his first year.

    And the pot shots at Malzahn are laughable. Considering that everywhere he has been he has made the offense better. IN 2008 we were near dead last in offense. A coaching change and Malzahn has us in the top 20 in O. Even better than you guys which was proven in the Iron bowl last year. Pretty good for his first year if you ask me.

    Of course I don’t expect you guys to agree with me since anything not colored Crimson can’t be looked at objectively.

  18. 24
    ITK

    Well Xanusus, it’s like this…

    When Abarn accomplishes something…not just talks about it or tries to construct something in place of actually accomplishing something, we will give you your due. I promise you we will, because we understand excellence better than most. We’ve achieved it.

    But until then, Abarn is just another also ran team looking at our backs. And friend, you’ll never see Abarn do what I watched Bama do last January. Not in either of our lifetimes.

    Crystal.

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