Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Breaking News (?) From Auburn

The Birmingham News is reporting that the decision to dismiss football coach Tommy Tuberville has been made at Auburn.

No announcement has been made so far, but Tuberville met with the athletic director yesterday and today. And today he also met with the university president.

When an announcement is made, it will be either that he's been fired or that he's the recipient of a rousing endorsement from the Auburn administration.

And I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that "rousing endorsement." The signals seem to suggest a coaching change is in the works.

Charles Goldberg points out that Auburn was a "disappointing 5-7" this season — and, certainly, the 36-0 loss to in-state rival Alabama in last weekend's "Iron Bowl" is one of the disappointments that Auburn fans endured this year.

But Tuberville is 7-3 against Alabama in his tenure at Auburn — and, before Saturday's loss, he had won six in a row against the Crimson Tide.

As it is with all coaches, it's about the numbers. The cumulative numbers.

Of course, it wasn't just the loss to Alabama that hurt Tuberville's cause — although it obviously didn't help.

Considering that Auburn came into the season as the media's choice to win the SEC West — but Alabama won the division and may play for the national title — I think it may have been just one more nail in Tuberville's coffin.

He might have been able to salvage his job with a win over Alabama — but that's going to be nothing but speculation now, I believe.

After the Tigers started the season 3-0, they won only two of their last nine games — and they will take a five-game SEC losing streak into the 2009 season, whoever the coach is.

To say Auburn's offense struggled this season is to be generous:
  • Auburn was 100th in the nation in passing yards per game.

  • Auburn was 71st in the nation in rushing yards per game.

  • The Tigers were 112th in the nation in scoring.
Auburn was somewhat better on defense.

But the defense couldn't compensate for the fact that Auburn only scored about 17 points per game.
  • Auburn was 17th in the nation in points allowed per game.

  • The Tigers were 53rd in rushing yards allowed.

  • Auburn was 23rd in the nation in passing yards allowed.

  • And the Tigers were 26th in total defense.

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