With football season out of the way, what TV series have you been watching on Netflix?
Football? No, can't say I've heard of this "football." I've really been enjoying Sunday night programming on HBO. Boardwalk Empire and Treme are great. Also, there's a fascinating series on History right now, "The Men Who Built America." If you're interested in the development of America after the Civil War, I highly recommend it.
How did this happen? Was that championship really all Cam Newton?
It wasn't all Cam Newton, but it was all a bunch of things Auburn doesn't have right now. The 2010 offense featured the best single season ever by a quarterback, a senior-laden offensive line that was one of the best in the country, an outstanding running back combo of Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb, and an incredibly underrated group of wide receivers. On the other side of the ball, Auburn had the best defensive player in the country anchoring a great line and a ton of senior leadership at linebacker and defensive back.
Unfortunately, just about all of that is gone, and Auburn is paying the price.
Will anything short of winning out to go 6-6, including an Iron Bowl victory, keep Chizik's job?
I doubt it. It seems like everyone understands that it's time to make a change. Whatever the cause for Auburn's struggles, Chizik is ultimately responsible. Scot Loeffler has been a disaster as offensive coordinator, Kiehl Frazier was set up for failure in the pro-style system, Mike Pelton hasn't been very good as a D-line coach and there has been a serious underdevelopment of talent. All of those issues fall on Chizik.
If Auburn somehow won out, that would probably be a bad thing for the program in the long term. It would buy Chizik more time, and I just don't see him getting the Tigers back into the SEC and BCS hunt. But Auburn isn't going to win out, so we don't really have to worry about that.
If you were forced to rehire Tuberville or Petrino who do you choose?
I loved Tuberville. I thought he was the quintessential Auburn coach, and he led the Tigers to many thrilling wins over top ten teams. Unfortunately, he was also a little lazy in preparing for the not-quite-as-big games, and he led Auburn to some of the biggest head-scratching losses one could imagine. And in his final two years, he did a terrible job of recruiting. I'll take Petrino for the reasons I mentioned above. Some Auburn fans worry about him skipping town after a couple of good years, but that won't happen. If not for the scandal, he would have been locked in at Arkansas for the long haul, and that's the way it would be at Auburn.
Which coaches are on your short list?
Charlie Strong, Gary Patterson, Paul Rhoads and, yes, Bobby Petrino. Strong, Patterson and Rhodes are all defensive guys that have done a good job as head coaches. Strong would be my pick of the three, as he has plenty of SEC experience and is a young up-and-comer. Petrino is an absolute scumbag, but he would help the Tigers win immediately. He would have more resources at Auburn than he has had at any point in his career, and if he could hire a good defensive coordinator, he would have the Tigers competing for an SEC title in the near future. Like many Auburn fans, I wouldn't feel great about hiring him, but after a couple of years, his win-loss record would erase that apprehension.
What happened at the QB position this season?
Kiehl Frazier had never played in a pro-style system in his life, and he was asked to run Loeffler's version this year. He's a bit of an emo guy, and when he makes a mistake, he loses every bit of his confidence. That happened pretty often in the games he started. He's a really talented kid, and I think he could flourish in a spread offense. I won't be surprised if he transfers out after this season.
Clint Moseley, the current starter, is a guy who could be a solid game manager if he had better play around him, but he's not going to take a bad offense and make it good. For the second straight year, he started the season second string and took over midseason, which kind of says it all. He makes some good throws, but he also makes some bad decisions. Also, he may be the least mobile quarterback I've ever seen.
Brian Van Gorder's flavor savor: Great 'stache or Greatest 'stache?
Easily the greatest, especially when you pair it with his incredible hair. His introductory press conference produced this photoshop, which is one of my favorite images ever.
Who came up with "Chiz-rags"? Do you own one?
I'm not really sure about that one. I don't own one, but I'd like to change that. With Chizik's inevitable demise in the near future, they're bound to be collectors items.
We love the Toomer's Corner tradition. Any word on the health of the trees? Are there plans to replace them?
It doesn't look too good. Every report that comes back finds more and more poison spreading farther and farther from the trees themselves. There have been discussions about replacing with new trees, but the ground may contain poison for quite a while. Another option is some sort of statue, which isn't all that appealing.
Just thinking about all that makes my blood boil. I don't know what pisses me off more: Harvey Updyke himself or the gumps that wear "Free Harvey" shirts and pose for pictures in front of the dying trees. I could go on a 4,000-word tirade about the Alabama fanbase, but I'll spare your readers. Goddamn, now I need a drink.
Back in the day, we all heard about how Bobby Lowder ran Auburn. Who runs it now? Mr. Yella Wood?
When the Great Bagman Hunt of 2010 was taking place, a lot of folks were suspicious of the Yella Fella, but I think he's too busy with his pressure-treated pine to be running Auburn athletics. Pat Dye carries a lot of influence, and that isn't really a good thing. He brought Auburn out of the dark ages as a coach, but he needs to back off if Auburn is going to avoid returning to the dark ages.
Are you ALL IN?
I am all in this handle of bourbon sitting in front of me.
What's your score prediction?
Hell, I don't know. A&M will have a lot, and Auburn won't have much. Our defense has been shredded by spread offenses this year, and our offense has been stifled by any sort of defense at all. I think Auburn would have trouble moving the ball against a bunch of blocking sleds. I'll say 37-17.