NCF Nation: Tigers-Tide-112412

Alabama uses Auburn as tune-up for UGA

November, 24, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Iron Bowl has long been a tool for both Auburn and Alabama. Steel sharpened steel. The most effective weapon prevailed, hardened by the experience. They were better off for it.

The 77th rendition of the rivalry won't be remembered that way. Alabama sliced and hacked and swung away at Auburn on Saturday afternoon, and the Tigers put up no resistance. The No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide beat Auburn handily 49-0, winning the SEC West title in anticlimactic fashion.

All Auburn coach Gene Chizik could feel after the game was let down.

"That was a very disappointing and embarrassing loss to our in-state rivals," he said. "It was obvious to everybody."

All Alabama running back Eddie Lacy could feel was excited.

"It was as close to perfect as we could get," he said.

To read the full story, click here.

Iron Bowl rout all but seals Chizik's fate

November, 24, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Two years ago, Gene Chizik saluted the adoring Auburn fans with both arms raised and several passionate fist pumps before leaving the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

On Saturday, he solemnly walked off that same Bryant-Denny Stadium field after what was almost certainly his last game as Auburn’s head football coach.

The epic crash that was Auburn’s 2012 football season culminated with a humiliating 49-0 loss to No. 2 Alabama, the second most lopsided Iron Bowl in the 77-year history of one of college football’s fiercest rivalries.

If it was indeed the end for Chizik, and most signs point to an official announcement coming Sunday or Monday, it was about as ugly as it gets.

But, then, this entire season has been ugly.

Alabama, which cruised to a 42-0 halftime lead, scored touchdowns on each of its first seven possessions, and Auburn set an unofficial Iron Bowl record for missed tackles.

No coach is ever going to accuse his team of quitting. But all you really need to know about this Auburn team is that it ended the season by being outscored 112-7 in the first half of its final three SEC games. And in those final three SEC games, the Tigers’ opponents scored touchdowns on 16 of their 18 first-half possessions.

Chizik repeatedly declined to discuss his job status following Saturday’s beatdown, but it’s only a matter of “when” now and not “if.”

[+] EnlargeGene Chizik
John David Mercer/US PRESSWIREGene Chizik capped an 0-8 SEC season with a 49-0 loss to archrival Alabama.
“I’m not going to get into the job situation,” Chizik said. “This isn’t about me.”

Chizik called it a “sad performance,” and said the Auburn fans and alumni didn’t “deserve” such a poor performance in a game that means so much to so many people in this state.

As for what his message would be to the fans in terms of making a case for why Auburn should bring him back next season, Chizik said only, “I don’t have to make a case. Y’all saw what you saw out there.”

What everybody saw were the charred remains of a program that crashed and burned this season.

The Tigers (3-9, 0-8) are just two years removed from winning a national championship, but it might as well be 32 years after a season like this.

It was Auburn’s first winless season in the SEC since 1980 and the first time in school history that Auburn finished with an 0-8 record in league play. The Tigers will head into next season on a 10-game SEC losing streak, the longest in the league. Five of their eight SEC losses this season were by at least 17 points.

“Any time you’re 3-9 in a season, it’s hard to stand up here and say there were a lot of positives,” said Chizik, who would be owed a $7.5 million buyout. “We’ve got to coach better, and we’ve got to play better.”

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said prior to Saturday’s game that a decision, one way or the other, would come quickly.

“We need to know which way we’re going in the next few days and then move on from there,” Jacobs said.

Auburn president Jay Gogue said a few weeks ago that he would evaluate Chizik following the season and after receiving a recommendation from Jacobs. Gogue did not attend Saturday’s game.

Jacobs declined to say Saturday prior to the game what his recommendation would be, but the Tigers’ performance later in the day all but made that recommendation for him.

Sources told on Saturday night that nothing official had been decided and wouldn’t be decided until Jacobs had a chance to meet with Gogue and Chizik.

“It’s not acceptable and very disappointing for all of our fans,” Chizik said of the Tigers’ performance.

It’s also a far cry from where this program was this time two years ago.

Video: Alabama's AJ McCarron

November, 24, 2012

Chris Low talks with Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron following the Crimson Tide's 49-0 win over Auburn.

Instant analysis: Alabama 49, Auburn 0

November, 24, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 2 Alabama moved a step closer to playing for its third national championship in four years Saturday with a 49-0 thrashing of Auburn in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

It was the second most lopsided Iron Bowl in history. Alabama won 55-0 in 1948.

Here’s an instant analysis from the game:

It was over when: The two teams got off the buses. OK, that’s too easy. Alabama jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and had 102 total yards to Auburn’s 2. The Crimson Tide went on to score touchdowns on each of their first seven possessions in a game that was a complete mismatch from the opening kick.

Game ball goes to: Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was 15-of-21 for 216 yards and four touchdowns before retiring to the bench midway through the third quarter.

Stat of the game: Alabama’s defense now has gone two consecutive years without giving up any points to Auburn. One of the Tigers’ touchdowns last season came on defense, and the other was on a kickoff return.

Injury report: Alabama receiver Kenny Bell left the game in the first half with what appeared to be a knee injury.

What it means for Alabama: The Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1 SEC) clinched the Western Division championship and will face Georgia next Saturday in the SEC championship game in Atlanta. A victory would send Alabama to Miami to play in the Discover BCS National Championship Game.

What it means for Auburn: The Tigers (3-9, 0-8) finished the season with their first 0-8 mark in SEC play and their first winless SEC season since 1980. All eyes now will be on coach Gene Chizik, who could be out as early as Sunday or Monday. The Tigers have lost 10 straight SEC games going back to last season.

Alabama, Auburn on different paths

November, 24, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Talk about a pair of rival programs on opposite ends of the football planet right now.

It’s anything but your normal Iron Bowl.

A shot at a third national championship in the past four years could be in Alabama’s immediate future if the No. 2 Crimson Tide win Saturday against Auburn.

For Auburn, this is likely Gene Chizik’s last game as coach unless the Tigers can pull off a stunning upset and avoid their first 0-8 season in the SEC in school history.

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs wouldn’t get into specifics Saturday before the game, but conceded that a decision, one way or the other, would be made quickly.

“We need to know which way we’re going in the next few days and then move on from there,” Jacobs said.

The Tigers have lost their past nine SEC games going back to last season, and went into Saturday’s game as nearly a five-touchdown underdog.