Misery Index Week 11: Angst in Auburn

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USA TODAY Sports’ Dan Wolken, Paul Myerberg and George Schroeder speak about all a happenings of college football Week 11.

They have been on a right finish of so many football blessings, many receptive people would find it formidable to empathise with Auburn fans over what happened Saturday opposite Texas AM.

When whole Wikipedia pages are clinging to Auburn victories — and yes, they’ve had some a final integrate of years that were epic adequate to merit them — it’s tough to feel contemptible for a fan bottom that loses in tough fashion.

But Auburn is a top-ranked organisation in a Misery Index this week given a fans now have to confront a existence that they spent an whole year refusing to accept.

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Any time a word “luck” was brought into a equation while deliberating what Gus Malzahn and association have done, Auburn fans have reacted defiantly. Breaks are breaks. That’s football. Things happen. It’s a purchase gene. This organisation that won’t concede itself to lose. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

The usually thing that rings loyal in that fibre of platitudes, however, is that Auburn had to be good adequate in a initial place to be a target of good fortune. Fair enough. The other side of that coin, though, is that if we play adequate tighten games, fitness will eventually spin a other direction.

And that could be what’s staring Auburn in a face right now. You kick Georgia on a absurd fourth-and-forever play that never should have been caught? You kick Alabama on a 109-yard lapse of a missed margin goal? You locate Kansas State on a day when their kicker misses 3 easy margin goals in a six-point game? You quarrel off South Carolina in a nip-and-tuck game, afterwards come behind a subsequent week and frame a feat divided from Ole Miss inside a 1-yard line?

That fibre of victories was already unnatural, and had Auburn finished a fourth-quarter convene opposite Texas AM on Saturday, nobody would have been surprised.

But when quarterback Nick Marshall fumbled during a 2-yard line with Auburn staid to lift feat from a jaws of softened again, it felt like some kind of conjuration had been broken.

If it’s bad fitness when we lose, Auburn fans, we have to now acknowledge that it was good fitness when we won.

And now a doubt is either a football gods are about to try and get even with a Tigers. Even after Texas AM’s 41-38 victory, there’s still a prolonged approach before that measure is settled.

(Disclaimer: This isn’t a ranking of misfortune teams, misfortune waste or coaches whose jobs are in a many jeopardy. This is simply a dimensions of a fan base’s knee-jerk greeting to what they final saw. The approach in that a organisation won or lost, expectations vis-à-vis module arena and normal wickedness formidable of fan bottom all cause into this ranking.)

(Disclaimer No. 2: By trait of their preference to make coaching changes, SMU, Kansas, Troy and Buffalo are hereby released from this and destiny editions of a Misery Index, as fans can demeanour brazen to a new regime holding reason in 2015.)

1. Auburn: Let’s speak about a Tigers’ invulnerability for a moment. It’s not good. And it hasn’t been good. Auburn survived it final deteriorate given it had some big-play guys adult front such as Dee Ford and Nosa Eguae who finished adult for a crowd of sins, nonetheless this season’s organisation usually isn’t as good rushing a passer. The rebellious in a second- and third-level has been pitiful. Texas AM racked adult 453 yards, that followed Ole Miss removing 487, South Carolina going for 535 and Mississippi State collecting 469. You can’t keep doing that week after week and tarry any time opposite high-level competition. Auburn needs to cover softened and it needs to tackle better, or else Malzahn is going to need all to tumble in line like it did in 2013 for a Tigers to get behind to a inhabitant championship level. And a misfortune partial about it for Auburn fans is that this wasn’t even one of a toughest games it looked like a Tigers would have to survive. Games during Georgia and Alabama are ostensible to worry we if you’ve got one of a best teams in a country, not this chronicle of Texas AM during home. Auburn is as good as anyone when a Tigers are on, nonetheless now they can usually wish to spoil Alabama’s championship parade.

2. Oklahoma: The Misery Index has been approach out brazen of a bend on either Bob Stoops should consider about a change of scenery. It was addressed here final deteriorate after Oklahoma got blown out by Baylor and looked like a seared module headed toward one of Stoops’ many forgettable seasons. That’s what it would’ve been, too, had a Sooners not pulled an dissapoint during Oklahoma State, that put them in a Sugar Bowl, that gave them a height to cavalcade Alabama and acquire all a preseason hype streamer into this year. Oklahoma, though, is unequivocally zero special right now. It’s still a good team, a good program, nonetheless usually isn’t good adequate this deteriorate to kick chosen teams. When we get swept by a Big 12’s heavies — Baylor, TCU and Kansas State all took caring of a Sooners — we know where we are in a pecking order. And that’s not good adequate for Oklahoma. It’s usually not. And perplexing to explain it divided when there is no legitimate talent or knowledge forgive recalls a demeanour in that Mack Brown apologists disfigured themselves into knots perplexing to clear given Texas had depressed from pretension quarrel into a center of a pack. The problem is Oklahoma is substantially going to finish adult 9-3 and play in some forgettable play diversion while Stoops tries to sell his fan bottom that even nonetheless it wasn’t a deteriorate they hoped for, it was still a good deteriorate altogether and they were usually a few plays here and there from a playoff berth. Nobody is going to buy that, of course, even nonetheless it’s loyal Oklahoma could have beaten TCU and Kansas State. Then there will be a annual rumors about Stoops’ seductiveness from NFL and other college teams, nonetheless and a contingency are he’ll lapse to where he’s comfortable. In a end, that might be his biggest problem.

3. Iowa State: Is this a finish of a line for Paul Rhoads? And would another coaching change — this time, using out a man obliged for one entertain of a play appearances in module story — unequivocally repair what’s wrong with Iowa State? These are a things Iowa State fans have been articulate about this deteriorate — not always rationally — nonetheless we can all determine on one thing: Saturday was stone bottom for a Cyclones. It does not get any worse than losing 34-14 to Kansas and descending to 0-6 in a Big 12. Keep in mind that during Rhoads’ before 5 seasons he’d always found a approach to win dual or 3 discussion games. On 3 occasions, that’s been good adequate to get to a postseason. But it’s not going to occur this year, and Nov. 22 opposite Texas Tech looks like a usually probability to equivocate 0-9 in a league.

4. Northwestern: Pat Fitzgerald was once anointed as college football’s subsequent good coach, built Northwestern into an annual Big Ten harassment (if not undisguised contender) and has stranded around prolonged adequate to see it all cycle behind to a indicate where he’s now questioned weekly by his fan base. And he doesn’t even spin 40 until December! It’s arrange of crazy to consider that during 39, Fitzgerald has already coached 110 games during a Big Ten school. He will be an engaging exam box for a life cycle of a manager given it does not seem he’s going anywhere, isn’t unequivocally on a prohibited chair and doesn’t manager during a module with tremendously high expectations historically. Still, there’s confusion about Northwestern. After a bad start to this season, it seemed things had taken a certain spin with wins during Penn State and a following week opposite Wisconsin. Then a Wildcats incited around and have mislaid 4 in a row, including Saturday’s demoralizing bid during home opposite Michigan. In one of a ugliest games you’ll see all year, Northwestern had usually 264 sum yards, finished minus-9 in rushing and incited a round over 3 times nonetheless still had a probability when they scored a touchdown with 3 seconds left. Fitzgerald, however, inaugurated to go for dual and a win instead of an additional indicate — a devise that was foiled when quarterback Trevor Siemian fell down on a acclimatisation play. Given Michigan’s issues on offense and inclination to dedicate turnovers, it’s obscure given Northwestern didn’t wish overtime during home. Nevertheless, a Wildcats conduct to Notre Dame subsequent week wanting a win to equivocate rejecting from a postseason. After 5 uninterrupted play games, dual uninterrupted losing seasons is a discouraging trend that will not attraction a once-popular Fitzgerald to a fan bottom that has come to design competence.

5. UAB: The wretchedness here is not for performance-related matters, even nonetheless Saturday’s 40-24 home detriment to Louisiana Tech was unsatisfactory as a Blazers were perplexing to secure play eligibility for a initial time given 2004. This is about bigger design things and a consistent worry for UAB fans that a anvil will dump on their football program, that has a story of being underfunded, unsupported and generally mistreated by a University of Alabama complement Board of Trustees. The story that has prolonged tangible that dysfunctional attribute came from UAB’s coaching hunt in 2006. The propagandize wanted to sinecure Jimbo Fisher, who was a hot-shot coordinator during LSU. Fisher wanted a job. The understanding was finished — until a curators nixed it, observant a $600,000 income was too much, even nonetheless boosters were going to account many of it. UAB finished adult employing Neil Callaway, a associate of Bear Bryant’s son, who mislaid 42 of a 60 games he coached. Since then, a curators have shot down a new track offer that would get UAB out of pale Legion Field. Now former players are entrance brazen with concerns that a module is going to be tighten down altogether, even as first-year manager Bill Clark has started to spin it around. Though it’s misleading accurately given that’s entrance adult right now other than a propagandize being in a midst of a long-term altogether vital review, propagandize President Ray Watts didn’t accurately glow down a possibility. His diseased matter final week fueled a glow of UAB paranoia, and now this will float over all even if a Blazers have a historically successful season.

6. Utah: Where were we when we saw it? What thoughts ran by your conduct when we satisfied that Utah had not taken a 14-0 lead on Oregon on Saturday and instead a diversion had been tied 7-7 on a blooper-reel play that will perpetually live in college football infamy? The Misery Index was during an investiture usually easterly of Tempe, Ariz., unwinding from Notre Dame’s self-destruction opposite Arizona State and picking over a image of common wings. And even nonetheless a food, drink and atmosphere was wholly forgettable — Florida fans had commandeered a place, so a usually audio feed was of a blowout Florida-Vanderbilt diversion — this was a impulse that will be tough to shake from memory. Realizing Utah’s Kaelin Clay forsaken a round before he crossed a idea line on a would-be 78-yard touchdown is one of those “Oh no” moments that comes along once a decade or so. And it contingency have been a sickest feeling ever for Utah fans, who went from examination Utah players applaud in a finish section to realizing what happened to a fear of Oregon picking adult a live round and returning it 100 yards to tie a game. It’s roughly unfit to redeem from something like that, and Utah shortly fell behind 24-7. Though a Utes came behind to make it engaging late, Clay’s trouble cost them a points they indispensable to play with a organisation as absolute as Oregon. And a mental mishap of that impulse will dawdle for a prolonged time given Utah fans are going to see it replayed over and over and over again for years to come. Better get used to it.

7. Kentucky: Sometimes a toughest years for fans start off with no expectations that afterwards build by early success usually to have a carpet pulled out down a stretch. That’s what Kentucky is experiencing this deteriorate as their feel-good story has incited increasingly green any week. Once on a time, it looked roughly certain that Kentucky was going to get to 6 wins, that unequivocally would consecrate an extraordinary turnaround in Mark Stoops’ second year as conduct coach. Now, a Wildcats will have to lift an dissapoint in one of their final dual games to equivocate streamer into 2015 with 6 uninterrupted waste and no play trip. Saturday’s 63-31 detriment to Georgia was ugly, ugly, ugly, starting with Georgia’s Isaiah McKenzie returning a opening kickoff for a touchdown. That set a tinge for a diversion in that Kentucky’s invulnerability gave adult 559 yards and did not force a singular punt. That’s utterly annoying for Stoops, given invulnerability is his specialty and his section has unequivocally given teams problems during times this year. Needless to say, though, a good vibes are left as Kentucky fans have been given a dimensions of usually how distant they still contingency transport to be applicable in a SEC East. Unless a Wildcats can win subsequent week during Tennessee or in a culmination opposite Louisville, this deteriorate will be remembered some-more as a disaster than a success.

8. Notre Dame: When a best thing we have going for we as a playoff contender is a loss, that’s not a good place to be. But that’s where Notre Dame fans were a final few weeks, perplexing to make a evidence that their opening during Florida State and a argumentative finale to that diversion should proportion to what other one-loss teams had accomplished. But a screen was pulled behind on this organisation in a vital approach Saturday during Arizona State, losing 55-31 to discharge a Fighting Irish from inhabitant contention. What will hang with Notre Dame fans, though, is a shoot-yourself-in-the-foot approach this organisation lost. Despite carrying 487 yards of offense and holding Arizona State during brook for many of a second half, a Fighting Irish committed 5 turnovers (two of that were interceptions returned for touchdowns) and unfit a snap on a margin goal. Those points were flattering important, it incited out, given Notre Dame came behind from a 31-point necessity to get within 34-31 with 6:37 left. Had a Fighting Irish gotten one some-more stop, it would’ve set adult an all-time comeback, nonetheless instead it was an dull bid as Arizona State responded with a discerning touchdown. The misfortune partial for Notre Dame fans is this organisation could unequivocally good finish 10-2 or 9-3 though a singular good victory, that means an whole offseason of Notre Dame fans great about a miss of honour and a rest of a college football universe yelling behind during them about being overrated. Good times.

9. West Virginia: This has been a flattering heartless report for a Mountaineers, and they’ve been partial of so many close, romantic games that maybe they’re usually spent. That’s what it looked like, anyway, in Saturday’s 33-16 detriment to Texas usually one week after carrying their hearts damaged by TCU on a last-second margin goal. That’s how fast things can turn, though. One notation West Virginia was literally on a verge of violence TCU and potentially being in a driver’s chair for a discussion title. The next, they’re losing dual in a quarrel and confronting a probability of 3 in a quarrel unless West Virginia can convene emotionally for Kansas State. West Virginia has positively softened adequate this deteriorate to get Dana Holgorsen off a prohibited seat, nonetheless in a finish a 7-5 deteriorate is usually going to uncover usually what a formidable charge it is for this module to contest year in and year out in a Big 12. If you’re a fan who sees progress, you’d cite it to be certified by a tangible record. That might not be in a cards for a Mountaineers this season.

10. Houston: There’s been a disastrous tinge around this module from a unequivocally initial night of a deteriorate when a Cougars — who were picked by many, including a Misery Index, to win a American Athletic Conference — laid a large egg during home opposite Texas-San Antonio. That detriment has aged like fish carcasses left to debase in a Texas heat, as UTSA went on to remove 7 of a subsequent 8 games. Houston, meanwhile, seemed to be removing it together after a quarterback switch from John O’Korn to a some-more mobile Greg Ward. Saturday’s 31-24 detriment to Tulane, however, was another reversal and a kind of that unequivocally drives Houston fans nuts. Not usually was it a Cougars’ third detriment in their new on-campus stadium, nonetheless yet again they got kick by a organisation with significantly reduction talent. Houston has a good invulnerability and playmakers on offense, so it’s tough to know how it finds itself 5-4. Houston will roughly positively get play authorised (the untimely twin of Tulsa and SMU are adult next), nonetheless this will be a entirely unfulfilling year for a module perplexing to position itself as a subsequent TCU. And compensation for Houston fans is doubtful to come around a coaching change given Tony Levine usually sealed a agreement prolongation before to this season.

Honorable mention (Miserable, nonetheless not utterly miserable enough): Syracuse, UConn, Colorado, Indiana, Virginia, LSU, Vanderbilt, Iowa .

GALLERY: HIGHLIGHTS FROM WEEK 11


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