I can't believe it's come to this.
More and more idiotic Tommy Tuberville quotes and news items continue to come to my attention. Hopefully this is a one-time deal but I have my doubts.
So, where to begin? How about...this
"Before you go and play Georgia and Alabama, do you want to go play at Michigan? I don't"-Tommy Tuberville
Wow. Tommy, this quote is typical of your fraudulent and broken logic about Auburn's schedule. The reason you were left out of the Orange Bowl last year and not Oklahoma, was exactly because you didn't come close to scheduling anyone competitive out of conference. In addition, your conference was way down last year, and you coasted in on a light in-conference slate.
So, how do you go about planning to make a run at the title game? You continue scheduling cupcakes! How stupid. The reason you were rightly excluded is you didn't give your team a chance to lose like so many other D-1 teams are willing to do, in the name of proving themselves. Solid out-of-conference games are college football's weeding system. When an overhyped team meets a legit OOC opponent and loses, they are weeded out of the title hunt. It's a great system, keeping the Auburns of the world from ever coming close to a title game when they barely have a top 5 squad.
So how does Auburn, and others of its ilk, cheat a good and meaningful system? They build a cupcake highway on which to declare themselves rightful Orange Bowl participants. It's wrong, its fraudulent. I'm not sure Auburn would have survived a normal OOC slate so early in the season last year. They were tripped up by lowly Georgia Tech just the year before. The system did its job there. So auburn responded by avoiding the system altogether.
It's a horrible aspect of the game, and we've already devoted way too many words to it on here already. Check our archives for plenty more.
Unfortunately, the Auburn athletic department and its fiat-in-chief Tuberville have made with the wayward crowd populated by half the SEC and Kansas State. Auburn gets some credit for taking on USC, but OOC schedules are often made many years in advance, and at the time USC was a rare big-name program that happened to be dragging along rock-bottom, perfect pray for a midlevel SEC team hoping to grab and coattail as a solid OOC conquest. Unfortunately for Auburn, USC got good just as they appeared on the schedule.
Here are some more great Tuberville quotes-
"I'm not going to put our guys in a situation where they have to play a very tough conference game, then go out and play a very tough road non-conference game," he said. "I'm not going to do it. It's not fair to them. Our conference is hard enough."
Um, Tommy, lately your conference hasn't been hard enough. Your most difficult game last year was in the Sugar Bowl, an ugly win over a lower-ranked, 1-dimensional Virginia Tech. Nobody from within the SEC (at least, anyone who appeared on your schedule, since SEC teams don't play a complete slate) came close. Yet a fringe top 10 team took you to the ropes. Right.
"We don't have to apologize for the schedule we play," Tuberville said. "We've got Georgia Tech. You want to put yourself in a scenario where you can have a competitive schedule, but you want to win the SEC. That's your goal."
Hubris. Hubris. Hubris. Just when I was going to ask myself where are all the outraged college football writers taking the Auburn coach to task, one came along to at least give Tommy a few wags of the finger. Sort of.
Here's TSN's Matt Hayes-
First, the good stuff-
The e-mails came pouring in from the Plains the day after Southern California disposed of Oklahoma and secured the national title. Auburn was robbed. Auburn would've given the Trojans a better game. Auburn this, Auburn that. Auburn, Auburn, Auburn.
At this point, I'll introduce Pat Hill. You know him as Fresno State's brash and bold coach, a guy who has built a program from the scrap heap and will play anyone, any time, any place to gain respect. So I placed a call to Hill last week and told him Auburn just added a home game against Division I-AA Western Kentucky to complete its 2005 schedule. And before I could ask the question, he gave the answer.
"We called them," Hill interrupted. "We wanted to play them. I guess their schedule was already filled."
No, it wasn't. Fresno officials called before Auburn added Western Kentucky, and Hill is speaking with a politically correct tone because, well, he'd love a shot at Auburn somewhere down the road. Yeah, good luck with that. Auburn has bigger fish to flop.
Like The Citadel. Or Western Kentucky. Or big, bad Ball State.
This is why Auburn wasn't one of two teams playing in the Orange Bowl national title game last season, why the Tigers were stuck in the Sugar Bowl politicking for respect. Respect? Play someone with a pulse outside your conference, then we'll talk.
Wait, I take that back. Aubie played USC in the 2002 and '03 seasons and lost by a combined 47-17. The Tigers also played Georgia Tech in 2003 and lost 17-3. Hence, the reason for last year's brutal nonconference slate of Louisiana-Monroe, The Citadel and Louisiana Tech. And the reason the Tigers weren't playing USC in the Orange Bowl.
Excellent! Up to this point, Hayes is dead-on. Simple, logical. But his underlying logic is wrong.
Look, Auburn shouldn't have to apologize for its schedule; it plays in the SEC, the toughest conference in college football. But like it or not, teams must prove themselves outside of their conferences to earn style points. It's as much a beauty pageant as it is a demolition derby.
WHAT?! Auburn definitely has to apologize for its schedule. And be sincere about it. The OOC scheduling game is definitely not a beauty pageant. It's the last "weeder" process left in the game, since so many conferences are going the way of the 12-team, 2-division format that helps the major in-conference powers avoid playing each other, maximizing the conference's total of good records in the "beauty pageant" that is the end-of-year record's dance with the college polls.
Auburn was put in this predicament after Southern Miss bailed out of a game because of conflicts with the new Conference USA schedule. But here's the hitch: Southern Miss informed Auburn last September. University officials knew for five months -- through a magical unbeaten season, through the controversy of not being able to play for the national title because of a pathetic nonconference schedule -- that they needed a nonconference game for 2005, yet they chose to continue down the same path.
Basically, Auburn neglected a five month window of opportunity to get someone real on their schedule, including the aforementioned Fresno State. Instead, USC grabbed the Bulldogs a few weeks back. The same USC team that played in the Orange Bowl despite a ton of close wins this last season, including an opener against the same Virginia Tech that almost beat Auburn, and the same USC team that got into that game after learning the previous season's lessons---don't lose, and continue to beef up the OOC schedule because the in-conference slate let them down when it came time for the BCS computers to choose between USC, Oklahoma and LSU. Clearly Auburn and USC have taken two vastly divergent paths in their pursuit of championships, one honorable and competitive, the other fraudulent and anticompetitive, if not arrogant. Luckily for college football, the honorable team and its coach, Pete Carroll, have gone on to win two titles. The Auburn Tigers have been left panting in USC's dust, and they have only themselves to blame.
Believe it or not, it gets worse for Auburn-
A university spokeswoman says Auburn needs seven home games per season to make budget. Fresno State didn't want a game in return -- "We usually play on the road; we know that," Hill says -- but Auburn steered clear of a team that is 10-8 against BCS teams since 2000.
So, this quote basically catches Auburn's spokespeople in a lie. Nice. Actually, two lies. The first being that an OOC game against an opponent like Fresno State would be on the road. Well, Fresno's coach said they end up on the road against elite BCS teams all the time. Lie.
Then another potential lie-Auburn needs 7 home games to make budget. Auburn is one of the most popular teams in college football, and with an incredible season like last year, they are now flush with additional cash and BCS game revenue that comes with success. They more than likely have enough money to make budget this year without a seventh home game. I'm not buying what they're selling.
Unbelievably, there's MORE from CTT (Coach Tommy Tuberville, as the Auburn folk like to say)-
This, from Ivan Maisel/ESPN.com-Auburn is replacing the best backfield in the last 50 years!
Unbelievable. I'm not sold on Carnell Williams, but Ronnie Brown was/is the real deal. Jason Campbell's a decent quarterback, but not much more than that.
I remember a few years ago Notre Dame had a modest backfield of a decent quarterback, Rick Mirer, and 4 super backs, the "Killer B's"-Jerome Bettis, an NFL Hall of Fame type back, Lee Becton, the best back on the 1993 Irish squad that finished #2, Reggie Brooks, another first-round pick like Bettis, and the sleek Jeff Burris, would would star as a terrific free safety and future NFL cornerback.
Or how about the current USC squad of Heisman trophy winner and eventual #1 pick Matt Leinart, with two future first round backs in Reggie Bush and LenDale White, and potentially, a third this year in Chauncey Washington.
What is Tommy smoking? I just listed two better backfields in the last 15 years, both of whom achieved far far far more on the field where it counts, than the Campbell/Brown/Williams troika.