I am not a fan of the early kickoffs, but I have always enjoyed attending the the Auburn/UGA game in Auburn. Also, I had planned on attending the Auburn/SE Louisiana soccer game later in the evening. By the way, Auburn did win the soccer game 1-0 in their first NCAA Championship game. It was a beautiful day and I arrived in Auburn expecting to have trouble finding a parking place, but parking was plentiful. I had heard that a lot of the UGA fans had decided not to attend this game due to the early kickoff time and their unhappiness with Mark Richt. It was the most unusual Auburn/UGA game that I have ever attended. It was evident that the UGA fans did not show up as they had in prior years. In 2013, Auburn and the Auburn Arena open and the game was on the big screen. The arena was packed on that day and I still remember watching the"miracle pass" by Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis on that big screen. This time, the arena was closed and there were only a few people watching the game in the food service building nearby. The UGA fans that I talked to after the game were indifferent to the win. One fan told me that both teams were not very good and either team could have won the game. Another told me that this game had no meaning since UGA had already lost to Bama, Florida and Tennessee and their season was over. By the way, the Auburn tail gate experience was exceptional this time. I will always feel that Auburn has the best tailgating in the SEC.
It was another disappointing SEC loss to one of Auburn's rivals. There was very little talk about this game as I walked through the tail gate area outside the stadium after the loss. It almost seems that the Auburn fans have accepted that this season has been a big disappointment and are apathetic. I continue to be baffled by the play calling by the Auburn coaching staff. Auburn had control of this game in the first half by running the ball and then they changed QBs with a hobbled QB and could not move the ball. Of course, as a fan and alumnus, I have to continue to remind myself that the path of this Auburn football team is completely out of my control. Perhaps this is a transition year and Gus will do better next season. I do feel that the Auburn defense is improving. They did perform well enough on Saturday for Auburn to win this game; however, the offense did not perform in the second half.
Some possible future remedies for this Auburn team are:
1) Auburn needs to find a good tight end.
2) Auburn does need a read option QB to run the Gus Malzahn offense. Auburn tried to persuade Deshawn Watson to be the Auburn QB. If he had signed with Auburn, this season would have been very different. He is the reason that Clemson is number 1 in college football today. John Franklin is supposedly coming to Auburn this December for early enrollment and he will be ready to play. I do expect him to start at QB next season.
3) It is time for Gus Malzahn to hand over the responsibility of the play calling to an offensive coordinator.
We must weather this storm and hope for sunny days ahead.