Season report card: Auburn

As you might expect, Auburn’s report card for the 2012 season isn't pretty.

OFFENSE: There were a lot of things that went wrong for Auburn this past season, but it was a total train wreck on offense. The Tigers finished 115th nationally (out of 120 FBS teams) in total offense, and tied for 112th in scoring offense. They were held to 13 or fewer points in six of their eight SEC contests, and finished with more turnovers (25) than offensive touchdowns (24). The offensive system utilized by first-year coordinator Scot Loeffler just never meshed with the Tigers’ personnel. The other glaring issue was that Auburn never found any consistency at quarterback, as evidenced by the Tigers’ eight touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. They were abysmal on third down. Kiehl Frazier opened the season as the starter, but struggled to make anything happen in the passing game. Clint Moseley took over midway through the season and was sidelined by an ankle injury. True freshman Jonathan Wallace finished the season as the Tigers’ starter. The only real highlight for Auburn offensively was sophomore running back Tre Mason rushing for 1,002 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Otherwise, it was an unmitigated disaster. GRADE: F

DEFENSE: There was considerable grumbling about Auburn’s defense in 2011, and fairly or unfairly, veteran defensive coordinator Ted Roof was the scapegoat. But things only got worse after Roof departed and gave way to Brian VanGorder. The Tigers were torched for 38 or more points in four of their final five SEC games. They finished next-to-last in the league in total defense, going from giving up an average of 408 yards per game in 2011 to 420.5 yards per game this past season. They only forced 13 turnovers in 12 games, including two interceptions -- which tied for the fewest in college football. Stopping the run was also a huge problem despite a defensive line that was thought to be one of the team’s strengths when the season began. Auburn finished dead last in the SEC in rushing defense (197.6 yards per game) and gave up an average of 263.4 yards on the ground in its last five SEC contests. The Tigers’ best defensive performance came in their 12-10 loss to LSU the fourth week of the season. But after that, they didn’t stop much of anybody. GRADE: F

OVERALL: Just how bad was the 2012 season for Auburn? In short, it was the kind of crash we’d never seen in college football, at least not two years removed from winning a national championship. Clearly, it got away from Gene Chizik after reaching the mountaintop two years earlier, and everything unraveled during a 3-9 season that was Auburn’s worst in 60 years. The Tigers went 0-8 in the SEC for the first time ever, and by the time November arrived, it was obvious that Chizik wasn’t going to survive. He was fired the day after Auburn’s embarrassing 49-0 loss to Alabama to end the season, marking his 11th loss in his last 12 SEC games dating to the 2011 season. The Tigers all but waved the white flag down the stretch and were outscored 150-21 in their last three SEC games. It’s a season they will do their darnedest to forget on the Plains. GRADE: F