By Michael McCoy
Saturday was a good day on the Plains. Auburn took out three games worth of frustration on the hapless Ole Miss Rebels and salvaged a season that appeared to be on the brink of disaster (so the media would have you believe) after such a promising start. Many of the same people who had extolled the virtues of this team after the 5-0 start just as quickly condemned them to a season of inevitable failure after three straight losses. Luckily for Auburn, the team had more belief in itself than did many of its own fans. No doubt brought about by the rush of blood media frenzy, the ghost of 5-19 reared its head once again and second guessing became the new pastime. Nevermind that the same people praising Chizik for the 5-0 start were now the same ones questioning his head coaching acumen, logic was not a luxury which many afforded themselves. The hyperbolic nature of the criticism was astounding, the goodwill of 5-0 ceding to question marks over the future of the program under Coach Chizik.
Erstwhile journalist Paul Finebaum, when questioned if the mounting losses would affect Auburn's recruiting responded that "it could." Nevermind that Alabama under Nick Saban lost its last four games in 2007 only to bring in the nation's top recruiting class the following winter, the knives were out for Chizik and his staff. Hopefully the Auburn fans who were consumed by this notion that all of the sudden this program was faltering will have learned their lesson. Turn down that radio dial, don't believe everything you read. Reports of Auburn's death were greatly exaggerated. As Coach Chizik said afterwards, this team willed itself to victory against Ole Miss, and judging by the Coach Chizik's verklempt reaction in the locker room afterward, the strain he and his team were subjected to the last few weeks was more than he or they should have had to bare.
The truth is, it's far too early to call Chizik either a success or a failure, but all Auburn fans can do in the meantime is show up every Saturday and show the boys in blue our unwavering support. It's okay to feel disappointed after a loss and it's just human nature to second guess certain things because hindsight is always 20/20, but it's not very constructive in the end. To the credit of most Auburn fans, the atmosphere on Saturday was incredible and the team was able to feed off that energy all game long. Let's keep that up for the last three games. Who knows what the rest of the season holds (well, past a victory over Furman anyway), but we now have a little momentum heading into Amen Corner any anything is possible, good or bad.
In the meantime, let's heed the words of former Coach Pat Dye, spoken shortly after the seminal victory over Alabama in the 1989 Iron Bowl. Coach Dye said, "It doesn't matter who's running the ball, who's catching it, who's rushing the passer, or making the tackle - just as long as he's got a blue jersey on." It's all that truly matters in the end when it comes to Auburn football. Everything else is just noise. War Damn Eagle!