To know where you are in the present, sometimes you have to look into your past.
For some, that can be a fun, healthy endeavor. For others, well, not so much.
Still, we're paying homage to the past and how it has affected the present in the SEC this week by taking a look at where each program was 10 years ago and where it currently stands. Some programs have made big leaps, some have steadied the course, and others, well, they're yearning for the days of old.
Next up in the series are the Auburn Tigers.
2006 record: 11-2 (6-2)
2006 coach: Tommy Tuberville
Notable: Auburn continued its impressive run under Tuberville in the SEC West with an 11-2 record and a 6-2 finish in conference play. The offense featured running back Kennry Irons, who rushed for 893 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games. But it was the defense – run by first-year coordinator Will Muschamp – that made this team a contender. Led by first-team All-SEC defensive end Quentin Groves, the Tigers finished No. 7 nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 13.9 points per game. Some of the notable wins included a 7-3 win over LSU that came down to the final play, a 27-17 win over the eventual national champions Florida – its only loss that season – and a 22-15 victory in the Iron Bowl, Auburn’s fifth straight win over in-state rival Alabama. The only two losses that season both came at home. The first was to Arkansas, the eventual SEC West champ, and the other was to Georgia.
Trending: The 2006 season came on the heels of one of the more impressive runs in Auburn history. Under Tuberville, who took over the program in 1999, the Tigers won the West twice in six years from 2000 to 2005. And we all remember what happened in 2004, just two years prior, when they went 11-0 during the regular season, won the SEC title game and were left out of the BCS championship in favor of USC and Oklahoma. Auburn finished off the perfect season that year by beating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. But during that run, there was continuity on the Plains. The Tigers were a perennial contender in the SEC. And the five straight wins over Alabama was tied for the longest winning streak by Auburn (until they extended it the next year) in the series.
What has happened since: What hasn’t happened since? There have been two coaches let go. There has been a national championship, another near national championship, and maybe two of the greatest plays in not just Auburn history but college football history. After falling to 5-7 in 2008, Tuberville was let go in favor of Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik. In just his second season, Chizik – with a little help from Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton – guided the Tigers to a perfect 14-0 record and the second national championship in school history. The honeymoon didn’t last long for Chizik, though. He was fired two years later after Auburn won just three games in 2012. That began the Gus Malzahn era. In Year 1, Malzahn orchestrated one of the greatest turnarounds ever as Auburn went 12-2 and won the SEC before losing to Florida State in the final minute of the BCS title game. That season will be forever remembered by two iconic plays, the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare” and the “Kick-Six.” However, Malzahn has fallen on hard times of late, which makes the 2016 season critical to his future.