As it relates to our Auburn University athletic department, if I might borrow a line from the late great Dandy Don Meredith via Willie Nelson, "turn out the lights, the party's over."
If we're all honest with each other, the party's been over for years and years...and years.
The hiring of Jay Jacobs? Just icing on the cake that fell flat in the oven over a decade ago, more or less. I don't think you could get a group of even three members of our vaunted Auburn Family to agree on when the cake fell, or that its fallen at all. Gene Chizik? Just jalapenos and sauerkraut on the icing.
Please, don't give me the 2010 argument. Winning the BCS National Championship with Cam Newton is like saying you won a drag race because you borrowed your brother's F-16. It's a win, but it had nothing to do with the pit boss that was making the calls.
It is hard to say when the demise began because there could be a valid argument that our Auburn program hasn't been very far up the ladder of relevance in over 50 years.
But we won't go there either.
This century's problems start, and end, with the board of directors. When Bobby Lowder was around, he was the boss. People loved him, loathed him, admired him or denigrated him, but regardless of their opinion of the man, they didn't challenge his authority. When he said jump, the universal response from other board members was "how high?" He didn't give a rat's gluteus maximus which way the wind was blowing—because he was the wind.
Now he's gone. Good riddance. He ran the board like he ran his banks, and even the U.S. government couldn't save those at the taxpayer's expense.
If it weren't so bad, it would be funny—like an Abbot and Costello skit: "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into," Ollie, I mean Bobby.
Pat Dye was the answer until he became part of the problem. Terry Bowden was the answer until he refused to pay, er play, the puppet. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read Terry's interview with Paul Davis way back in 2001. It's a very interesting read, and points to the root of the issues facing Auburn University now.
Tommy Tuberville could have been the answer. He beat 'Bama six years in a row. But that wasn't good enough. 'Bama was having a ton of problems on their own without his help. Besides that, it seems he liked duck hunting in Arkansas more than he liked recruiting in Alabama, and he didn't like Bobby Lowder, so out goes Tommy—but not until a couple of years after Jetgate and the Bobby Petrino wooing.
Kind of makes you see Red (Raiders), doesn't it?
So...now the board of directors is discombobulated, the athletic department is in ruins, the Auburn Family is in disarray (to put it gently) and the powers that be don't know who's really in charge. No amount of sunshine pumping will change those facts. Orange and blue glasses can't shade you from the truth.
Plus, no new coaching hire, AD hire or new chairman of the board will make a difference.
Sure, there will be good years from time to time, if you consider 9-3 or 10-2 to be good years. Even a blind mouse finds the cheese every now and then. But those years will be few and far between.
I'm afraid that for Auburn sports fans and those who love Auburn simply because it's Auburn, the past is doomed to repeat itself in some sort of menacing, perpetual causality loop.
Say goodbye to our hopes of being amongst the elite. It seems it was more of a dream than a hope anyway. Say hello again to being 'Bama's little brother. I guess we should be used to it by now, but we're not.
At least, for those of us over the age of 21, we can cry into our beers.
History tells us that this party was over before it ever began.