Will Auburn Finally Get Respect in 2010?

Bleacher ReportContributor IJanuary 20, 2010

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Coach Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers directs play against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Outback Bowl January 1, 2010 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

With Signing Day rapidly approaching, the Auburn Tigers have a future so bright I gotta wear shades.  While commitments don't matter until the papers are signed, it looks like these prospects are confident in their decisions. 

For the last two years, Alabama has stolen the show when it comes to digging through bags for hats, only to don the crimson and white.  But now, with verbals from the likes of Michael Dyer, Trovon Reed, and most recently Eric Mack, Auburn finally has a chance to become relevant again.

So can the Tigers finally gain the attention they deserve?

Most will argue that a recruiting class doesn't matter until they produce.  Although, when you look at programs like Florida, Alabama, and Texas, one would be hard pressed to think that the caliber of athletes on the roster doesn't have an immediate effect.

Tommy Tuberville was not a fan of the star rating.  Just before the 2008 season, he proudly admitted that it's the heart of the player, not the rating, that matters.  We all saw how that turned out.  Hopefully, he has changed his mind now that he has a new program to run.

I've heard a few Tiger fans moan and groan about the 8-5 season.  Truth be told, it bothers me.

Day in and day out, I have had to school these disgruntled fans on Nick Saban's first season at Alabama.  Not only did they go 6-6 in the regular season, but they also lost a non-conference game to Louisiana-Monroe and allowed Sylvester Croom and the Miss St Bulldogs to become bowl eligible for the first time in quite a while. 

Now, by no means do I enjoy having to compare Saban and Chizik, but our coach has turned heads since his arrival on the Plains.  The initial negative reaction was nothing but motivation for him to prove that he was the right man for the job.  Anyone expecting a 12-0 season, an SEC Championship, and a BCS Championship in his first year should be ashamed.

How can we, the fans, expect respect when there are a few of our own already willing to count the Tigers out?

I believe Auburn is headed in the right direction.  Sure, the three game skid was a major setback, but that's all a part of the growing pains that come along with a program practically starting from scratch.

In order for Auburn Nation to reap the benefits of the team's success, we all have to rally for them (and not against them) when things look bleak.  With Alabama winning their 13th national title, the media won't even want to mention our name let alone think we still exist.

The world of college football is just one on again-off again love affair.  I have a feeling the 2010 Tigers will act as a lover scorned and prove once and for all that they are not just the other SEC team in Alabama.

Hold tight, guys...we're coming back with a vengeance.