Remember two weeks ago, when the Auburn football season was about to start and there was hope on the Plains? Maybe the Tigers weren't going to win the SEC West, but a Top 25 season and as many as nine wins weren't out of the question, right?
Try again. This is not to take away from what the win means for Mississippi State -- it's Dan Mullen's first victory against an SEC West team not based in Oxford -- but the loss today could mean more to Auburn when it comes to the arc of the season. If the Western Division Bulldogs can wallop Auburn like this -- holding the Tigers to 216 yards and forcing five turnovers -- how ugly could things get against LSU and Alabama? If Mississippi State can get to 388 yards, how much offense can Arkansas and Tyler Wilson generate?
In fact, there are four likely wins left on Auburn's schedule -- and that's if you count Ole Miss as a likely win (not a stretch after the way the Rebels played against Central Arkansas last week). There are at least four likely losses left: the three SEC West powers and Georgia. Unless Auburn can run the table at Vanderbilt and against Texas A&M, then the Tigers are likely to be staying in Auburn for the postseason.
Whether Gene Chizik will be joining them there is another matter entirely. We could soon find out just how much goodwill the Auburn coach built up two years ago. The season is headed downhill fast, and unless he can come up with a way to stop it, Chizik is looking a lot more like Mr. 5-19 than the national championship coach he was in 2010.