It’s so easy for Crimson Tide fans and fans of other SEC football teams to poke fun at the Auburn Tigers. The failed attempt to discredit Bryan Harsin, thereby paving the way for his sacking, was the latest in a long history of Auburn’s missteps.
There is now a new story about Harsin. As al.com’s Nubyjas Wilborn reports, the Auburn Board of Trustees had nothing to do with the attempt to fire Harsin. The source for this statement is Auburn trustee Jimmy Rane.
In summary, Wilborn wrote:
Is Rane telling the truth? Who knows? But right now it doesn’t matter. Harsin has around 100 days before the Tigers begin a crucial season.
Willborn is right. Fact or fiction, Auburn football needs a return to normal. That begs the question of Auburn’s ability to bounce back from a terrible season that ended with five straight losses. Or could the 2022 season get worse?
A beginning step for any being striving to be what it aspires to be is a sober acceptance of what it is. As we discussed in a recent post about college football reality checks, Auburn’s football program has often been a challenge to accept for what it is. Auburn, the place, the school, the football program is something of a Brigadoon legend. Corresponding Webster The meaning of Brigadoon is ‘a place idyllic, unaffected by time or remote from reality’.
To varying degrees, Auburn is all of those things, at least sometimes. A recent example is the Tigers’ 2022 home opener. Auburn opens with Mercer on Saturday night, September 3.
There’s no shame in playing Mercer (although there should be). Alabama does it, and every SEC school plans lightweights. But there’s a reason Auburn should be ashamed of the game, and the Tigers brought it on themselves.
Auburn made the Mercer contest a whiteout game. Whiteouts are great, as was last season at State College.
SEC Football doesn’t need such gimmicks
But building fan engagement through a whiteout against an FCS team makes no sense. Do the Tigers believe fan madness is necessary at Jordan-Hare to beat Mercer? Or is the promotion a stupid overreaction to not having a night game on Sept. 17 for a “true” whiteout against Penn State?
Lamenting no night game for the Nittany Lions, Brian Stultz wrote for Rivals:
When the sun goes down and the lights come on at Jordan Hare Stadium, things of the unexpected are to be expected. There is something magical, almost an auspicious moment, when the pitch is lit up, the fans are in high spirits and the tigers are fighting on the field in an atmosphere that must resemble a Greek coliseum centuries ago. So many opposing teams that were more talented came in and faltered under pressure.
There will be nothing magical about the Mercer game.
Perhaps the Tigers are concerned the crowd size will be small and need a marketing push to remedy this. No matter how much the gimmick increases the crowd, using it for such a minor game is pathetic. It’ll set a new low for the Auburn program, and in a way, maybe it makes sense. No matter how bad the 2022 record, the bottom will be a Mercer game whiteout.