What were the expectations heading into Auburn's season? Were those expectations met?
After winning eight games in 2011, including a bowl victory over Virginia, expectations were for the 2012 Tigers to be improved on both offense and defense. Neither happened.
The defense was especially disappointing with the Tigers returning virtually all of their key players and bringing in NFL coordinator Brian VanGorder to lead the defense.
What one player stands out as the Tigers' key factor to success (or lack thereof) this season?
There wasn't one player responsible for Auburn's struggles in 2012, but there were several problem areas. Certainly the most significant was the play of the quarterbacks.
Kiehl Frazier, a sophomore who started the season No. 1 at the position, struggled and was replaced by 2011's part-time starter, junior Clint Moseley. He couldn't provide the spark the offense needed before suffering an ankle injury.
The Tigers then turned to true freshman Jonathan Wallace to take over the quarterback duties late in the season. He showed promise, but wasn't able to lead the Tigers out of their season-long slump.
When did the momentum shift for Auburn this season?
Dropping the opener to Clemson in a game the Tigers had multiple opportunities to win was a big blow to the team's confidence. Another early game, a 12-10 loss to LSU, dropped Auburn's record to 1-3 and started a five-game losing streak that eventually led to the firing of Coach Gene Chizik.
How has this season affected recruiting in the class of 2013?
With Auburn's 3-9 record leading to the replacement of the entire coaching staff and the hiring of Gus Malzahn as head coach, Malzahn and his new staff have been working overtime to keep key recruits on board. They look to be having some success in that area, but will have a different-looking signee group in February than the old staff would have signed.
What is your team's biggest Christmastime headline?
For Auburn, the major football stories are Malzahn putting the finishing touches on his new coaching staff and the staff taking care of their assignments on the recruiting front.
Thanks to Inside the Auburn Tigers' Mark Murphy for his in-depth contribution to this report.