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Monday Musings From The Plains

By on July 17th, 2017 in Football, News 7 Comments »

Could a game with Auburn be in Notre Dame's future? (photo: getty images)

With SEC Media Days in the rear view mirror, we can officially say football season is here. Auburn football camp begins in less than two weeks. And Gus Malzahn said he’s excited about his fifth team.

That in itself is not surprising, but the fact that he compared this bunch to a SEC Championship Team is: “They’re hungry and they’ve got something to prove,” said Gus. “The last time I felt this was 2013. So that’s a good comfort for me.”

The reason for his enthusiasm may be more than just a coach’s preseason optimism. With an experienced roster and the addition of  Jarrett Stidham, the Tigers have their best depth since Auburn played in the Coliseum for the national championship.

Maybe that’s why Nick Saban dissed the Tigers in Hoover when he named nine different SEC teams as some of the league’s best while omitting Auburn. He even had Miss State and Vandy on his list but no Auburn. Don’t believe for a moment it wasn’t intentional. Nick’s a smart guy and he knows what Gus has to work with this year—despite the omission.


When the Tigers take the field against Georgia Southern on September 2, there will be a new coach on the sideline. Well not actually new, but one with a new responsibility.

Strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell will be charged with  grabbing Gus Malzahn’s belt, preventing him from going on the field to argue with refs during the game. And it will be an important assignment too! SEC Coordinator of Officials Steve Shaw said last week a new rule goes into effect this year calling for a 15-yard penalty against coaches who storm the field to argue officials’ calls.

As probably the strongest coach on the staff, Russell is the right guy for the job. Malzahn has certainly had to be restrained before, but it will be interesting to see how evenly the new rule is applied. What will happen the first time Saban argues with a ref? No one has been more guilty of the practice than the Tide skipper.


Last week’s statement by Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick saying he would like to schedule a game with Auburn is good news. If it could happen, it would be an historic occasion as the two power-five schools have never met on the gridiron.

According to Gary Stokam, president of the Peach Bowl and the Chick-fil-A game, bowl officials came close to matching the two in the 2018 Kickoff Classic before scheduling conflicts brought about a contract with Auburn and Washington.

While a Tigers-Irish match up would be a welcome event for the fans, it would also be a one-and-done game, something that has all too often become the norm in recent years.

Programs just don’t want to commit to home-and-home series. That’s a shame because it would be cool to play the Fighting Irish in South Bend and then have Notre Dame make the return trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium a year later. It now looks like the two may get together, but it could take three to four years (or more).

Who knows what each program will look like four seasons from now. Let’s hope the coaching staffs remain the same—four seasons is an eternity in football years.

Until next time…


  1. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    It will be exciting to see the Tigers in their opener against Georgia Southern. I hope we build up enough of a lead to get all three QBs some time on the field.

    Our defense will be challenged by a legitimate triple option offense. Make no mistake, teams that run this offense can test a defense unused to the demand on strict assignments. Linebackers must stay in their lanes in zone or focused on their assigned guy in man-to-man. It’s like playing Three Card Monte. You are NOT smarter than the dealer. Just stay with your assignment and the overall defense should provide adequate depth and coverage. But start acting like a one-man Army and you will be the weakest link exploited by a smart offensive coordinator.

    Clemson will tell us everything we need to know about the season’s future. Win this game with quality on-field performances and we should enjoy a special treat.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Agree Panda. A lot of folks assume that GSU will be an easy one but the triple option can be dangerous as the Gators found out in the Swamp in 2013.

  2. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    Ramsby and Co at Georgia southern will likely make this more of a game than we’d like. They had a bad year last year and many fantasy players suffered from it (for those that care Haha).

    They’ll be back and ready.

    A Notre dame home and home would be incredible.

  3. audude audude says:

    Well speaking of the opener against GSU, my wife's Alma Mater, I read this article by James Crepea on There is an absolutely hilarious line in the Emerging Wide Receiver section:
    "Does a top wide receiver emerge?
    It would be a lot to ask from the receiving corps in the season opener for one player to immediately emerge as the go-to guy but with Lindsey calling plays and Stidham throwing the ball it's possible. Realistically, it'll take time for a leader of the group to emerge but even getting a clearer idea of defined roles would be a big step in the first game. If Auburn is able to pull away quickly, any diagnosis of the receivers will become harder as the offense s***s to killing the clock."

    See the link for the rest of the article:

    As Always,


  4. TigerWoman TigerWoman says:

    I would love to see Notre Dame inside Jordan-Hare especially in a night game.

    But right now it’s less than 2 weeks to fall camp and 46 days till kick off. Looking forward to tailgating and being back in Jordan-Hare September 2nd!

  5. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    There's no excuse to do what Saban did. A man with any class at all would not have listed 9 competitive teams and left out the team that finished 2nd in the west last year and in the last 16 yrs. has won 3 Divisional titles, 3 SEC Championships, played for two national championships, winning one and narrowly missing the other. The little Emperor gripes my ass.