AL.com’s Joseph Goodman believes the Auburn football Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry loss to Georgia, one that was decided in the final minutes after the two teams were tabbed a two-touchdown-plus spread difference, was still a worthy recruiting pitch to recruits.
“It was a big recruiting weekend for Auburn,” Goodman prefaced before saying, “This is a rebuilding year, so the results on the field don’t really matter. People probably don’t like hearing that, but a close loss for Auburn against Georgia is something new coach Hugh Freeze can use in a recruiting pitch.”
The reason? Hugh Freeze was able to nearly knock off the two-time defending College Football Playoff Champions with a roster inherited by disgraced ex-head coach Bryan Harsin and featuring a slew of grad transfers.
“Look what we can do with someone else’s players,” Goodman prefaced before saying, “I’m sure those weren’t Freeze’s exact words to recruits after the game, but that’s what everyone should be thinking.”
Auburn football recruiting pitch can be tarnished by toxic fans
Walking back from Jordan-Hare Stadium after the game, one could hear fools in red barking like dogs, and perhaps even worse, Tiger fans who know better in most circumstances not influenced by a heartbreaking defeat after hopes were up high (and perhaps some alcohol), condemning the play of Payton Thorne as the reason the team lost.
Was Thorne perfect? Absolutely not. The QB1 (for now) threw nearly as many incompletions (nine) as completions (10) and looked in over his head on the final drive; one that could’ve been a game-tying possession but resulted in an interception on fourth down.
Thorne was able to come within four yards of the season rushing lead with 92 yards on the ground, though, running a presumably Freeze-influenced RPO-heavy offense that resembled the academies (Air Force, Army, Navy). That was exactly what the Tigers needed to do to have a chance to beat the nation’s No. 1 team. And they had one.
If a star transfer from a Big Ten school can come in and nearly lead his team to what would’ve been a historic upset for the program only to be bashed afterward, perhaps future transfers will think twice about committing to the Plains; loveliest village status be damned.