History. You’re forgiven if you didn’t notice, what with Krootin’mania at its fever pitch, the men’s hoopsters beating the Tide and the women’s hoops upset of Georgia. It was a big weekend.
But none of those victories were in any way as historic for Auburn as the one the Tiger gymnasts claimed last Friday in Beard-Eaves, when they upset Georgia 195.225-194.900 for the program’s first win over the Gym Dawgs ever. Head coach Jeff Thompson:
“I think what helped us tonight was that last week we didn’t have a good meet,” said head coach Jeff Thompson. “We’ve been preaching `process, process,’ and the logic of what you do. We’ve been talking about the percentages of hit routines during the week, and that’s what we did tonight. What a great, great win. Such a huge crowd and everybody stuck around and the cheering was amazing. This is a milestone for us.”
He wasn’t kidding about the fans; those “8,573 ruckus [oh good heavens sic] fans” would outnumber probably half the men’s hoops crowds this year. The win bumped Auburn up to No. 15 in the latest rankings
The Tigers had a lot of heroes whose names you should know–Allyson Sandusky hit 9.8 or higher on three events, and Rachel Inniss’s 9.825 on the floor clinched the win after Georgia. But Auburn was led by senior Krissy Voss, who finished with an all-around score of 38.725 and one of Auburn’s five counted scores in all four events.
Of course, wherever history is made for one program it probably means anti-history is being made for another, and that was the case for the five-time national champions at Georgia. T. Kyle King of Dawgsports cares more about gymnastics than we probably do about basketball (to his credit) and he is not happy with new Gym Dawg coach Jay Clark:
There will be no sixth straight national championship. At this rate, there may not even be an NCAA Regional appearance. I noted after the Red and Black’s lone win of the young season that “a 195.15 score won’t win many meets against the Gym Dogs’ schedule.” Well, a 194.9 score won’t win any, not even against a team that previously had lost to the Athenians 64 times in 64 tries.
The dynasty ended when Suzanne Yoculan retired. Now it remains to be seen whether Jay Clark can rebuild what he was unable to preserve. Barring such an unlikely turnaround, we will be forced to conclude that we just replaced the Bear Bryant of women’s gymnastics with the Mike Shula of women’s gymnastics.
Ouch, babe. Good news for Auburn, though.
They’re noticing. Not surprisingly, Auburn’s recruiting haul is finally starting to turn some non-recruitnik national heads, as evidenced by Orspencerson Shwallindle’s Onion-esque response yesterday to the Whitaker announcement and today by Stewart Mandel’s comprehensive look at how the class came together:
During his first stint at Auburn, Chizik helped recruit several defenders that wound up starring for the Tigers’ undefeated 2004 team. When Auburn’s talent level dipped shortly thereafter, Chizik was at Texas, learning from one of the sport’s most renowned recruiters, Mack Brown, in 2005 and 2006.
His experience at both places appears to be paying dividends.
“Gene Chizik has drawn so much of his philosophy from Mack Brown’s blueprint of building a family atmosphere, and it has resonated with recruits,” said Tom Luginbill, Scouts, Inc.’s national recruiting director.
Not a ton of new information for Auburn fans, but it’s nice to see the story written top-to-bottom by someone with a national perspective.
BlAUgosphere. OK, this one’s actually something out of the ‘Bama-o-sphere, namely Will Heath’s well-worth-your-time Tide-and-etc blog DBH Dance Party. Will’s post from last Thursday has some interesting thoughts on the evolving nature of the Iron Bowl rivalry and the attempt to scramble for a “moral high ground”:
The point is, it’s BS. All of it. I’m not an Alabama fan because I decided it would make me a better person; I became an Alabama fan because my dad is one (like his dad is) and because I thought it was cool. And that’s really about it.
The college football experience in this state is special. No one denies that. But Tuscaloosa is extra special to me … because that’s where I spent the bulk of my existence for four years — I met my wife there, made most of the friends I still hold dear there, became an adult there. Tuscaloosa will always mean more to me than anywhere else because of those things.
And Auburn is the same way for people like Kurt and my friend Zach and even Matt “Idratherloseasanauburnfanthanwinasanythingelse” Collins. Is there something extra special about Auburn that drew them to the place? They went to school there. So, for them, the answer is yes.
Athletic superiority, yes, Plains-loveliness superiority, sure, maaaaaaaaybe even intensity-of-fanbase’s-collective-devotion-to-the-University superiority (since I think it’s an unavoidable conclusion that given Alabama’s ’60s/’70s dominance, yes, they’ve got more bandwagon fans. Small price to pay, right?). But moral superiority? Uh, no. Some Auburn fans are indignant that some Tide fans have started the inevitable “they’re cheating!” accusations; frankly, I think we ought to be indignant because accusing the other side of cheating is our job, dammit.
Elsewhere: Joe Auburn skillfully delves into the Signing Day-as-Christmas analogy; here at TWER, Jeremy looks at Auburn’s rich history at the Senior Bowl; and at PPL Kevin rounds up some baseball odds-and-ends. (He also questions how The Blind Side picked up a Best Picture nom this a.m., which, like, seriously.)
Etc. Orspencerson thoughtlessly steals my planned “Wow, they must have really fast-tracked things with the statue contractor” joke …
… and just before posting this, it’s official: D.J. Howard has decommitted. No surprises there, but it could come back to bite Auburn if a) Lattimore stays at home b) safety depth continues to be an issue. In any case, I don’t blame Howard a lick for wanting to go somewhere where he’ll have a better shot at RB time and wish him the best of luck.
Photo by Van Emst.