Auburn football’s reputation is that of a randomized results generator, an especially spastic one, designed by deranged hornets and housed in an abandoned fireworks stand.
Well, your memories do not lie to you.
In fact, Auburn is even more unpredictable than any of us realized.
First, I went through every preseason AP Poll ever to find the most overrated team of each season. Auburn took four of 68 years on that list, ranking behind only — take a wild guess — Notre Dame and USC. Here are the Tigers’ contributions, and bear with me, Auburn fans, because you’ll like the second part a lot more:
2015: SEC media picked Auburn to win the conference. The AP No. 6 Tigers finished last in the SEC West.
2008: The defending champ LSU Tigers went 8-5, the No. 9 Clemson Tigers went 7-6 and lost their head coach midseason, and the No. 11 Auburn Tigers went 5-7 and fired their OC midseason. But LSU still had title warmth, and Clemson and Auburn replaced those guys with coaches who’d help win titles. Therefore, it’s the Tigers. Auburn’s, that is, which ended their longest-ever Iron Bowl win streak in a 36-0 loss to Bama.
2003: Auburn! Started No. 6, got blown out four times, lost to Ole Miss, and had former OC Bobby Petrino trying to take Tommy Tuberville’s job.
1975: No. 8 Auburn turned Shug Jordan’s final year into a 3-6-2 finish that became 4-6-1 once Mississippi State forfeited a tie.
On the underrated version, which gathers the 68 most hated-on achievers of the preseason AP Poll era, Auburn blows away the field by being the country’s most underrated team seven times in the last 60 years. Nobody else did it more than three in 68.
2013: Auburn was picked to finish fifth in the SEC West … and came a play or two away from winning the BCS.
2010: Auburn again, already! Going from preseason No. 22 to final No. 1 is technically the biggest jump by any AP champ ever.
2004: Louisville and Boise State have cases, but No. 17 Auburn and No. 20 Utah went unbeaten and BCS-snubbed. The Tigers’ significant lead in the computers and the AP’s final first-place votes give the nod to Auburn.
1993: I’m sorry, but it’s Auburn again. New coach Terry Bowden’s bowl-banned Tigers went 11-0 after starting without any votes.
1974: I’m really not trying to do this, I swear. Shug Jordan’s Auburn jumped from unranked to final No. 8, though you could pick a 10-0-1 Miami (Ohio) that tied a pretty bad Purdue and only beat two teams that won more than six games.
1972: This was already ridiculous, and I apologize, but only one final top-11 team started unranked: 10-1, No. 5 Auburn.
1957: Lmao it’s Auburn again, which started No. 15 and suffocated everything in its path, albeit while bowl-banned (again). Your other option is Arizona State, which went unranked until Nov. 18 and finished 10-0 against a really light schedule.
That makes for 11 times since 1950 that Auburn’s arguably been the country’s most unpredictable team. Plenty of teams didn’t finish on either list even once.
All hail our kings of madness.