National ranking at different points of the season.
After the 5-7 malaise of 2008 and a controversial coaching change, most Auburn fans would take what the Tigers have and call it relief.
But when time comes to analyze what Auburn's season easily could have been, the faithful will look at an inexcusable 21-14 loss to Kentucky at home.
Then, they will look at missed chance after missed chance Saturday, in a 31-24 loss at Georgia.
Senior running back Ben Tate will probably need all of Auburn's long-awaited bye week to get over it.
"I just feel bad now," he said. "If I had a million dollars in my bank account, I would have bet a million dollars that we were going to come out here and win this game. You can't convince me that we weren't ready to come out here and beat these boys."
It sure looked that way, when quarterback Chris Todd passed Auburn to a 14-0 lead in Auburn's first two drives, but it became a tale of the two seasons Auburn has lived in one fall.
The Tigers lived it all in one November Saturday night in Sanford Stadium.
There were the first two drives, shades of Auburn's five-game winning streak to open the season and two-game revival leading up to the Georgia game.
Then came the middle part of Auburn's season, a three-game losing streak that looked a lot like Auburn's three-quarter losing streak after Saturday's first quarter.
Suddenly, Auburn couldn't sustain drives.
Suddenly, Todd was taking hits, like the hit that caused one of his two interceptions.
Suddenly, Todd and his receivers had what offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn called a "miscommunication," another goof that led to Todd's second interception.
Along came the penalties that marked Auburn's awful middle of the season, including motion and false-start calls that hamstrung the Tigers' would-be tying drive in the final five minutes.
Along came the plays that could have been and weren't, like the could've-been interception that skipped off Josh Bynes' hands and into Georgia receiver Orson Charles' grasp.
It was a 34-yard gain on third down and long.
It came on a drive that saw Georgia go ahead 17-14, no less.
There was the Todd pass that Mario Fannin had in his hands near Georgia's goal line with nearly a minute to play, only to see Georgia's Bacarri Rambo jar it loose.
There were the two long bombs Georgia quarterback Joe Cox hit against a marginal Auburn secondary that has given up big plays at times this season.
The Tigers showed enough of their best to be in the game at Georgia.
They also showed enough of their worst to lose it, and it probably cost them a trip to Dallas for the holidays.
Instead, it's looking more like Nashville, a lower destination in the SEC's bowl pecking order.
At one time, Nashville looked like the best that Auburn could hope for this season.
But like Bynes' near-miss interception or Fannin's near-miss catch, Auburn had a better prize well within reach.
It was a prize Auburn was good enough to have but just bad enough to miss.