Season Report Card: Auburn Tigers
Welcome to the world of sports.
In case of you have ever wondered how much of a difference a coach can make, see this year's Auburn team as an example. After firing Gene Chizik, the school brought in Gus Malzahn to turn things around. In one year, Malzahn took the Tigers from cellar dwellers to conference champions, marking one of the biggest turnarounds in the history of the game.
So, needless to say, you can expect Malzahn and company to rack up some pretty impressive grades on Auburn's season report card:
If there were a grade higher than an A+, this year's Auburn team would receive it. Now, for those who bring up the fact that the Tigers finished 108th in the country in passing, your argument is understandable. But, Auburn had the best rushing offense in the country, and it was so good that we might as well overlook its lack of a passing attack. This team didn't need it. Quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason were phenomenal in Malzahn's offense, and scoring nearly 40 points per game will earn you a lot of victories.
Auburn's defense, on the other hand, left a little to be desired. The Tigers were 87th overall in total defense, and statistically, they were rather bad against the run and the pass (more so the pass). However, when you consider that most teams were attempting to catch up to Auburn and thus had to air it out more than usual, the numbers don't entirely tell the whole story. And, if you count in the BCS National championship game against Florida State, Malzahn's team played seven Top 25 opponents this season, most of which had above-average offenses.
What other grade could you possibly give Malzahn here? He took a team that WENT WINLESS IN THE CONFERENCE A YEAR AGO TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Sorry, but that needed to be stressed. He rejuvenated a program that was in desperate need of something different and turned them into champions. He also won every coaching award under the sun once the season was over.
Despite not having the best defense in the world, Auburn still earns the best of the best in terms of grades. While the game-winning plays against Georgia and Alabama will be remembered most, this team got rolling after the September 21 loss to LSU and never looked back. It will go down as of the most miraculous seasons in college football history -- not just for the plays that sent them to the national title game, but also for a remarkable turnaround for the ages.
What are your thoughts on the state of Auburn football? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!