Apparently, for some Auburn fans focusing on this week’s Iron Bowl is not on their agenda. Given the success the Tigers have had against Alabama Football in Jordan-Hare Stadium, anticipating the game should be a given.
Instead, Auburn faithful are presuming a not-close defeat to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Some are willing to place all the blame on Hugh Freeze.
The complaints from Auburn fans have been heard before. Before the Tigers pulled off a big win over Arkansas, some fans were hoping for a return to Auburn by Gus Malzahn. What fancied the Auburn fans was the possibility that UCF would fire Malzahn and Auburn could then hire him as its Offensive Coordinator. The big road win at Arkansas quieted such nonsense for several days. In the interval, Malzahn and UCF got a big win over Oklahoma State, quieting UCF’s dump Malzahn contingent.
For Auburn, the Arkansas win was its third victory in a row, assuring bowl eligibility. It led to renewed enthusiasm for Auburn’s future under Hugh Freeze. Shortly afterward, what Freeze called a “bad dream” happened in a shocking loss to New Mexico State. The Aggies went into the game as three-plus touchdown underdogs. Instead, Auburn lost by three touchdowns.
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The mood among Auburn fans plummeted. As reported by Fly War Eagle, Auburn alum and former NFL player, Marquel Harrell spoke out and doubtless many Auburn fans agreed.
"“Realistically we probably like five years from being good again,” said Harrell, who predicted AU returning to prominence after the completion of Freeze’s first (and perhaps only?) contract handed out by the Tigers’ current brain trust."
Justin Lee, who writes for the Opelika-Auburn News was even more blunt than Harrell.
"Progress erased.Auburn will be looking for a portal QB in December after all. Auburn will have to shakeup its offensive staff after all. And there’s more. Year 0 is just that, now: Zero progress. Freeze will try again from scratch."
Hugh Freeze, from Lee’s perspective, has spent almost 12 months rebuilding Auburn Football. The results, quoting Lee, are “zero progress.” Which means a spring, summer, and fall, including 11 football games have been wasted by Freeze.
How bad of an indictment is that of Freeze? By comparison, Sam Pittman’s shaky situation in Arkansas can be defined as a honeymoon.
In reality, Freeze has made some progress in Auburn. He will add more, much-needed talent for next season. The Tigers might even play their best game of this season in the Iron Bowl. If so, it will not be enough. The only team that can beat the Crimson Tide on Saturday – is Alabama.