Mon Nov 08 09:36am EST
About this time in 2008, beleaguered Auburn fans met new coach Gene Chizik head-on with a combination of skepticism and outright hostility. Almost two years later, with SEC and BCS championships in sight and the rare Heisman hero in their clutches, Tiger fans were united again Saturday in disbelief and rage – only this time directed outward, toward ESPN reporter Mark Schlabach, who had the guts to show up for Auburn's Homecoming play date with UT-Chattanooga just two days after alerting the world to the ongoing NCAA investigation into pay-for-play allegations surrounding quarterback Cameron Newton's recruitment last year.
Newton played against the Mocs and apparently plans to play the rest of the season, but that was no solace to the natives:
Funny, Tiger partisans weren't as critical of Schlabach's work when he joined the majority in dismissing Chizik out of hand when he was hired. I can't imagine where they learned so much about professional journalism in the meantime.
Newton, on the other hand, enjoyed the fruits of ongoing eligibility: A big ovation from the partisans, an easy win, a throng of disciples flocking for a touch of the hem of his garment. I'm sure he can expect the same adoring public at Alabama in three weeks, if he's still in the clear.