The Most Disappointing Team of 2008 Without a Doubt Is...

HD Handshoe - IOctober 23, 2008

The Auburn Tigers, in a landslide!

Don't misinterpret what I'm saying here.

They aren't the worst team in 2008 by any means. They are however the team that stinks the most of the teams everyone thought was going to be really good but isn't.

The Tigers were ranked No. 10 in the AP preseason poll and after 3 straight wins, one of which was a 3-2 edging of hapless Mississippi State, they had moved up to 9th, then back down to 10th.

In week four, Auburn actually held a 14-3 lead over No.6 LSU at halftime, only to be outscored 23-7 in the 2nd half giving up nearly 400 total yards including three long pass plays of 18, 22 and 38 yards, all resulting in touchdowns.

In Week 5, Auburn outlasted Tennessee 14-12 in a snooze-fest to improve to 4-1.

Then it happened.

The turning point in the 2008 season for the Auburn Tigers.

Not all turning points are good.

Auburn traveled to face No. 19 Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Commodores were ranked in the AP poll for the 1st time since 1984.

The hype was so great, even ESPN College Gameday Live was broadcast from Nashville that week.

After all the hype and top 10 preseason ranking, Auburn withered and died on that field that night in a crushing 14-13 defeat.

Somehow, most likely because of the reputation of the SEC created by the national media (ESPN), they still hadn't completely died in the polls -- yet.

Unranked Arkansas, with a brand new coach in Bobby Petrino and fresh off of three consecutive blowout losses, came to town and dug the hole for the coffin Vanderbilt had purchased for the No. 20 Tigers the week before.The Razorbacks racked up over 400 total yards to just 193 for Auburn in the 25-22 win.

That brings me to Week 8, Thursday night, where another team, on a similar path could have been the team this article was written about.

I speak of none other than the Mountaineers of West Virginia.

They too had began 2008 with a high ranking (No. 8) and the promise for a great season echoing through the valleys and mountains that spawned their namesake. 

Who could blame the team and coaches and fans for lofty goals and expectations?

With Heisman candidate Pat White at quarterback and speedy and elusive running back Noel Devine in the backfield, it seemed to all add up to West Virginia as a legit 2008 title contender.

It was only a mere nine months ago that the Mountaineers displayed total domination of the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl.

How fast a memory can fade away.

How fast optimism and hope can turn to anger, dismay and apathy.

Then Auburn came to town and anger, dismay and apathy all turned back into hope and optimism!

At first, it appeared that the Tigers came out of their cage clawing and fighting and showing signs of life on their way to a 17-3 second quarter lead.

Then, they gave up and died again. This time, maybe for good.

Noel Devine scored one touchdown and rushed for a career high 207 yards and Pat White threw for three scores as West Virginia rolled off 31 straight points to double up Auburn 34-17, sending them to their third straight loss and setting in motion the writing of this article about Auburn, rather than themselves, as one of the biggest flops in the sports world since Jose Canseco attempted a professional boxing career.

Tiger fans, the coffin was already purchased and the hole was already dug.

West Virginia just shoveled the pile of dirt (no pun intended about your team) in on top of your 2008 season.

It could be worse. You could be Clemson.

They practically do this every year!



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