Well this seems a bit harsh.
The Auburn Tigers are reeling after a loss in the Sugar Bowl to Oklahoma, which dropped them to an 8-5 record on the season. This comes after 8-5 and 7-6 campaigns in 2014 and 2015 following Auburn’s BCS National Championship Game appearance, and many are openly wondering where the program stands with head coach Gus Malzahn.
Well, columnist Kevin Scarbinsky of AL.com has idea where the program stands in a column titled: “An ugly Sugar Bowl shows Auburn no longer belongs on the national stage”. One of Scarbinsky’s main points being Auburn’s performance against big-time competition starting with that title game: 0-3 against Alabama, 0-3 against Georgia, and a 6-12 overall record against ranked teams.
However, even a three-year downswing seems like a bit too early to completely boot a team off of the proverbial “national stage”, and it certainly seems a bit disingenuous to come to that opinion after a loss to Oklahoma essentially without your starting quarterback.
Auburn has been a very good — likely great — program since 2000, only missing out on bowl games twice in that span. They have a 148-71 record in those 17 seasons, including two undefeated years (2004 and 2010), one national title (2010), and another national title game appearance (2013). Those two national title game appearances in the past ten seasons put Auburn in a class with a few other teams: Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Clemson and LSU.
With transfer Jarrett Stidham coming in, Auburn may finally solve the issue that has played them in recent years: the quarterback position. The defense should be good again in 2017, and the Tigers will definitely have a chance to improve on an 8-5 year in 2016.
It all comes down to this: either you thought Auburn was nationally relevant before the Sugar Bowl or you didn’t. If one game against Oklahoma is changing your mind on that, you might need to take a step back and consider why you thought the Tigers were on that stage in the first place.