Comparing 2013 Auburn to Previous BCS winners

I made this chart comparing Auburn’s rise in the Coaches’ Poll with previous BCS winners. Click to enlarge.

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  1. Spencer Lee
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    My take on FSU in the SEC. I recall in `92

  2. Spencer Lee
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    …wow, that was short. Let’s try this again. I recall in `92 that Bobby Bowden was quoted as saying “some people feed their egos on conference titles” which I believe was a slam on AU since Pat Dye talked incessantly about wanting to win the SEC. FSU and Miami were offered the first crack at joining the SEC earlier that year as the first 2 teams to join the 10 that were in at the time. They each balked, thus we got SC and Ark. I have a different take on how they would have fared in the SEC from 92 to current. They had some great teams – including a NC team themselves in 99 or so. They recruit elite players and I think joining the SEC would have made them even better. The competition would have been much tougher of course but I think they would have won another title or two because a great team in a great conference is going to get pushed to new heights BECAUSE of having to play other good/great teams consistently.

    So that’s my 2 cents worth. We’ll have our hands full and so will FSU. Neither team will be able to put a perfect match on the field in practice as far as scout teams go. Jeremy Johnson isn’t Jameis Winston and FSU won’t have anyone with a 4.4 forty that makes zone reads as well as Nick. I expect some sloppy play from both sides early…picks, fumbles, unforced errors. Then both teams settling down. If we can keep it close in the 4th we’ll have a shot. This team thrives in that scenario.

  3. Spencer Lee
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Quick p.s. the prior quote is not meant to be a “Bobby Bowden hated Pat Dye” thing b/c that would be a total lie. Bowden and Dye had great respect for each other and were quoted in and out of the media as saying so. I took Bowden’s quote primarily as one against those that set their sights on just a conference title instead of the NC. Dye just happened to focus on the SEC…..and still does. Now it’s one and the same…win the former and you get a chance to play for the other. Worked out nicely this year. :)

  4. Jason
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Apple CEO Tim Cook got in an Iron Bowl zinger during a speech he made accepting a lifetime achievement award:

  5. Posted December 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I was curious and in the summer it rated AU as the 16th toughest schedule and FSU 64th on strength of schedules

  6. Tdog
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Love seeing former players still All In the AU Family…especially Dansby, that guy was/is a BEAST!!!

  7. Posted December 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I like your take on the AU/FSU game Gaines. I still can’t believe we are in the big game. Back after the UGA game, it was like…hey, we can be spoilers and play in a really good bowl game, and now look at us. I do believe FSU wants the game and will fight hard, but you can see it in our players that they know and believe they can win against any team. Confidence is a wonderful thing ! It is amazing the calm I have even when we are down, almost knowing the AU players WILL score again and an attitude of try to keep up other team !

  8. Spencer Lee
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Great read from former AU Safety Rob Pate…don’t know where it first appeared so I can’t cite the source – sorry about that.

    Article by Rob Pate: Call Them Miracles, Call Them Champs

    In my title game preview, introspection was warranted. Taking a look back at where this team was one year ago and how they arrived in Atlanta was my focus. It’s a compelling story. It’s full of life lessons. It’s a movie waiting to be shot.

    As Auburn physically dominated Missouri to win the SEC Championship game, I found myself thinking, “Finally!” Not finally, we won another title. Not finally, we put ourselves in position to claim the number two spot in the BCS. Rather, it was, “Finally! Auburn will receive due credit for being physically superior, mentally tougher, more ruthless when it matters most. To watch that game and throw out terms such as: finesse, spread, smoke-and-mirrors, lucky would only parade your own football ignorance or visual shortcomings.

    After the game, Coach Bill Oliver summed it up best, “that offense, you can’t stop that thing!” Having witnessed the accuracy of his statement with my own eyes all season, I was still speechless to hear the greatest defensive coordinator living make that statement. How could it be?

    How could a guy coaching high school in Arkansas eight years ago devise an offense the best and brightest are shredded by? That question is a great one, but not the most relevant or significant. The question that intrigues me is how could a guy coaching high school in Arkansas eight ago devise a plan to revamp the mentality of group I had called quitters? How could he turn the worst Auburn team in memory, perhaps history, into my favorite Auburn team ever? How did he convince them to believe?

    How did he convince Ellis Johnson to buy in? How did he get Dameyune Craig to leave Florida State, Rodney Garner from Georgia, Tim Horton from Arkansas, Cheese Harbison from Clemson, Melvin Smith from Mississippi State? What did he say to them, what did they see in him to drop positions at elite programs to start over in Auburn?

    Auburn’s program was in shambles. We were worse than a train wreck; we were a laughingstock. We were hopeless. How can you sell that to an all-star staff? How could they sell that to their families?

    How do you walk into a meeting room and stare at a group that had just gone winless in conference play, that played without a pulse, that embarrassed the uniform they wore, and make them into conference champions in one year? I stand amazed. The job has been masterful.

    Congratulations to this team for winning us over; not with your wins over arch-rivals, but rather with your demeanor on the football field. In fact, it was your lone loss in which your character was revealed and had many conference foes claiming Auburn fans were celebrating moral victories. Observers weren’t celebrating playing LSU close; they were celebrating a team willing to fight till the bitter end. They were proud of the effort, not the result. The schematic improvement and mental toughness was undeniable. It was just a matter of time. You deserve the ring.

    What I liked?

    * Tre Mason’s endurance. It takes a superiorly conditioned man to run the football 46 times against air. To do so against what was the 14th ranked rushing defense in America (48th after the game) is simply absurd. A Heisman worthy performance indeed. He’s an ironman.

    * Coach Malzahn’s aggressiveness. The deep ball to Sammie Coates to open the Auburn scoring, the onside kick, the delay screen were all tremendous calls from a coach going after the jugular. It would have been easy to play it safe. Coach Malzahn set the tone for his team by holding nothing back.

    * Pass Rush. The defense had some obvious breakdowns and poor matchups resulting in many Missouri points. But the one constant was pressure on James Franklin. The four man rush was outstanding with the rotation of multiple bodies paying enormous dividends in the second half. The blitz packages were unique and well-timed creating urgency on the part of a quarterback that would rather not be urgent.

    * Offensive Line. You really can’t single out a particular player here. To run for 550 yards the entire line had to perform with flawless consistency. Jay
    Prosch, Brandon Fulse, and the receivers all had to do their part. As a former defender, the holes created during this game were nightmarish.

    * Auburn crowd. The crowd appeared the antithesis of neutral and that’s a testament to the Auburn faithful coming out and creating a raucous atmosphere. I’ve played in that game twice and both times the crowd was fairly split. Auburn fans pounced on the Missouri athletics department mistake of selling tickets to anyone online, a rookie mistake that created a road game atmosphere for the Missouri Tigers.

    * No panic. Several times in the first half Missouri took advantage of Auburn miscues resulting in what should have been enormous momentum swings.
    Particularly the Marshall fumble for six and the long touchdown pass from Franklin to Green-Beckham right before the half. Each time Missouri seemed to seize momentum, Auburn responded in a big way. That’s mental toughness. That’s a team operating under the direction of a coach they trust. That’s a team that’s been battle tested and fought on to prevail, overcoming dire circumstances. Nick Marshall is the catalyst. This team trusts Nick’s ability to lead and deliver.

    * Making the most of opportunities. When Tre Mason handles the ball 46 times on the ground. When Nick Marshall runs the majority of the time Tre doesn’t, attempts for everyone else are obviously limited. Making the most of each opportunity becomes paramount. Corey Grant, Cameron Artis-Payne, Ricardo Louis, and Sammie Coates all did just that. Each took advantage of their restricted chances in ways that force defenses to respect and defend the entire field. Having that luxury is what makes this offense explosive and nearly indefensible.

    However history records this 2013 Auburn football team, the words used will be an injustice. You can’t properly state the level of improvement from week to week. You can’t adequately summarize the revival from 2012 to 2013. The restoration job done by this coaching staff will never fully and sufficiently be explained nor understood. The confidence and domination seen on weekly basis cannot be captured with the written word. You had to witness it. You had to see it with your own eyes. You had to experience this team being disrespected, dishonored, overlooked week after week only to find ways to win football games-occasionally when winning seemed improbable.

    You had to see the look in Nick Marshall’s eyes when the switch came on. You had to see the defense become an impenetrable barrier during fourth quarters. You had to see a team that quit one year ago, outlast every team it played for four quarters, even the team it lost to. You had to see all the players we had verbally abused and belittled, all the young men that quite frankly looked hopeless, passionless, finished football players become battle hardened, grisly veterans leading an improbable run toward a championship.

    You had to see it. Because none of us predicted it. None of us had the foresight to envision this Auburn team capable of becoming this Auburn team.

    I will use this team’s story in my life. I will use it to speak to my children about overcoming adversity, insurmountable obstacles. I will teach them to value
    hard work and show them the fruits that labor bestows. When you go to college, you go to receive an education. You go to grow up. You go to gain life lessons.

    Inexplicably, this group of college kids, this team have done the teaching this year. They embody the characteristics of relentlessness, drive, devotion, and unity. They’ll be a team talked about by Auburn people for all time because their story is legendary.

    Call them the miracles. Call them the legends. Call them CHAMPIONS.

  9. Thomas (formerly the Huntsville one, now the Charleston, West Virginia one)
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink


    I saw it… just ask Mark.

    I called a very successful year, while sitting in a Mexican restaurant in Owens Crossroad

  10. Thomas (formerly the Huntsville one, now the Charleston, West Virginia one)
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    And, I think I also said that I was most concerned about LSU… Thought we might lose one… two at most.

    But, I will say that I didn’t expect an NC shot expecting two undefeateds in it.

    War Eagle guys, bowl mania starts this weekend!

  11. Spencer Lee
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    Hats off to you Thomas….I had us winning 8 (with one of those being the bowl game). Had no idea we would have a playmaker of the caliber of Nick Marshall. I consider him to be the difference in 3 or 4 games…..or at least a major difference maker in them (MSU, TX A&M, UGA, and uat).

  12. Thomas (formerly the Huntsville one, now the Charleston, West Virginia one)
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t deserve too much credit, but thanks!

    I just had a good feel about the cohesion this team was building… the kind of cohesion and no-quit I expect from our teams.

    The excitement continues to build!!!

  13. Tdog
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    So I was checking our team page and giggled when I saw “Next Game: Pasadena”

    What’s funny, SI has a “Way too Early Heisman 2014” story and we have TWO guys on it, Tre (if he stays) and Nick. Boom goes the Dynamite!

    Spence, I was with you, 8 games with the bowl win. I’m so happy to be wrong!

  14. Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Yep. Not only did Thomas give me those extremely optimistic predictions, he broke down most every position and explained why the pieces were there in 2012, we just needed a QB and a few other upgrades and we’d be set. By the end of lunch, I believed.

    The last time Thomas and I got together for lunch was before the 2010 season – he had some pretty good predictions that year too. We might need to eat lunch together more often.

  15. Spencer Lee
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Tony Barbee called……he wants Mark and Thomas to meet weekly to talk AU hoops (and it has to be positive chatter…..none of this “realism” stuff)

  16. Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    If Mark and Thomas will eat lunch once a year, I will gladly pay for it! Take advantage and find a Ruth’s Chris!!!

    MCT, I don’t know why I typed Roberto Louis instead of Ricardo Louis. Just be glad I didn’t type Pierre-Louis!

    So, anyone going to Auburn to watch the BCSCG? I am pretty sure Spence and Walt will be there, unless of course they luckily score tickets or win the lottery… I am meeting some friends who are coming down from Atlanta for the game. Don’t know where just yet, but if there is an Auburner contingent, maybe we could meet for a reciting of the Fight Song and Creed! War Damn Eagle!

  17. Thomas (formerly the Huntsville one, now the Charleston, West Virginia one)
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    If Barbee could get the jet to Yeager airport and promise a return trip, I would be all in!

    Basketball one thing we have to get going again. Maybe with Mizzou in the SEC, we can extend our recruiting reach. I definitely need to watch more hoops this year. Fortunately, I will have more time since I will be on out-patient psych through June.

    Then, we gotta get the baseball team running on all cylinders… and take LSU down.

    4 more days until bowl season… War Eagle!
    Heck, I might even be able to make the A-Day Game!!!

    I definitely am game for a routine lunch with Mark, and any other Auburner folks.

    I know it has been a while since Spence and I dined. I believe the time was Steak and Shake in 2010 as well. Far, far too long.