A Season for the Ages

By Posted on: January 13th, 2014 in Football 11 Comments »
gus-tre

                                                                                                                                                                                      Photo by Julie Bennett/al.com
Has it really been a week? If the Kick Six was the pinnacle of Auburn fandom, then last Monday night in Pasadena was the bottom. Like many of you, I’m still learning to cope. I couldn’t bring myself to look on the internet or turn on ESPN until Thursday morning. It was a self imposed exile from what I love.

It hurt too much.

I may never be able to watch footage from that beautiful venue in Pasadena. But as the days slowly pass, I’m realizing how important this team has been to Auburn fans. They didn’t bring home a national title, but they did so much more.

Unlike the 2010 team, there will be no celebration at Jordan-Hare Stadium. That’s unfortunate, because this team is every bit as deserving as that special group from 2010.

With apologies to the 1972 Amazins, these players are the most amazing. Hopefully we’ll experience more national titles, but it’s safe to assume that we’ll never see another season like this one.

I’ve never loved a team like the 2013 edition. The closest to them was the 1983 squad that brought Auburn its first SEC title in 26 years. They were expected to win. They had Bo Jackson. This team had each other and little more – at least initially.

Gus Malzahn’s first team not only entertained us, but taught us a lesson. We often tell our kids that if they work hard and believe in themselves, anything can happen. I wonder how many of us adults truly believe it?

A bunch of kids that everyone else had given up on made us all believe again in that life lesson.

I will never forget the heart of Tre Mason. A kid that most said didn’t have the size to be an every down back in the SEC, ran with his heart and let his legs follow. Outside of the 1985 Heisman winner, I’ve never seen a better one wear the Auburn uniform.

His performance in the Georgia Dome was the single best game I’ve ever seen a running back have at college football’s highest level.

I’ll always remember the Washington St. quarterback commenting that Auburn would be a top five team if it had a quarterback. I believe it’s safe to say Auburn has found one. You’ll never confuse Nick Marshall with Cam Newton, but he runs Gus Malzahn’s offense just as efficiently. And to think, we have another year with him.

Auburn may have had better offensive linemen on paper, but I’ve never seen a more dominant group than this one. Greg Robinson is the best I’ve ever seen at Auburn. There, I said it.

I’ll fondly remember Dee Ford dominating in College Station. Hearing play-by-play man Rod Bramblett describe Johnny Manziel as going down in a “heap” was music to my ears. For a defense that was roundly criticized almost weekly, I’ve never seen a more opportunistic group. If it could have only lasted a minute or so more.

Above all, we’ll always have Georgia and Alabama. Ripping the heart out of your two biggest rivals is as good as it gets for Auburn people. More than anything else, it signaled the return of Auburn football.

It can be argued that nowhere in history was the divide between Auburn and Alabama greater than following last season. What was expected to take years to overcome, happened in a span of one second.

Auburn is back. The foundation has been poured. We got much more than a national championship; we got our footing back and our future set. I don’t know about you, but I wish we were kicking off the new season today.

Auburn football is back in all its glory. And we owe the 2013 Auburn Tigers all the credit.

Well played men.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
  1. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    I know exactly how you feel. As soon as we lost, I turned off the TV. I couldn’t bear to see another minute of what was about to follow.

    I stopped watching ESPN, avoiding all of their channels for the next few days. When replays of the game were on, I never watched them. It took me several days to go on any Auburn blogs. I did not want to read a bunch of angry fans blaming and finger-pointing players for this or that failed play. I think it might have been around Thursday when I finally logged on to see what some of our writers were saying about the team.

    There were some blogs that dealt with how the writers felt after the loss, and reading fan reactions to the loss was therapeutic. I felt like I was crawling out of a bomb shelter to see the world torn up, but I was alive and my neighbors and friends were alive. We were all okay and the sun was shining.

    I actually watched a replay of the game on ESPNU where they broke down every play, and for some reason that sterile, clinical, analytical approach to the game allowed me to watch in a detached manner.

    I feel bad for the team. It was heartbreaking to hear Tre Mason apologize to the fans. I appreciate that he took responsibility. That shows his character. But he was in no way responsible for the loss.

    So now we can be ready and willing to go on. The future looks good. Gus is resilient. The kids are upbeat. We are ranked second this preseason. Hopefully this coaching staff stays together this year and beyond. We won the SEC.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      I think that I was most heartened by the lack of negativity about the loss. At least in the places that I frequent on the interwebz…. And I was super happy that these Tigers were greeted as champions when they returned to Auburn after the loss. It’s just hard imagining that this game was ours and we found a way to lose or, for once, didn’t find a way to win (depending on your fullness of glass, etc.).

      As for rewatching the game….I deleted the recording. I can’t watch it for a very very long time. Maybe the ESPNU version is the way to go, but it will be a few months before that’s possible…..

      I’m actually happy for the break. I can’t wait to see who we pick up on signing day and I’m looking forward to reports from Spring camp. The future is bright, bright, super bright!!

      • WarEagleAtlanta WarEagleAtlanta says:

        I deleted the recording on one of my DVRs, but left it on the other. So far, I’m only watching the first half–over and over. Baby steps….

  2. win4au says:

    I don’t think I have ever yelled at a TV screen as much as I did for this group of Tigers. Understand this, the SEC west is this toughest division in all of college football… And we came out on top of that division. We beat GA and bama in the most unbelievable fashion, and yes, we are The 2013 SEC Champs! I truly believe that next season we will be right back in the hunt.
    WDE!

  3. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Good article. Best line: “Auburn is back. The foundation has been poured. We got much more than a national championship; we got our footing back and our future set.” WDE!

  4. Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

    A great article and I do appreciate the reference to the 1972 Auburn Football Team. I had the opportunity to attend class and to work out with some of those guys on the old drill field where the new dorms are now located. They were a great group of guys and I still regret selling my tickets for the Alabama game.

    This season was magical for an Auburn team who was supposed to finish at the bottom of the SEC. The future looks great for the next group of players that will take the field on August 30.

    War Eagle!

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      The loss to FSU will fuel Auburn’s fire for years to come. I think we are about to experience some very special times on The Plains.

  5. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Auburn is back?? Auburn never left, they lost their way for a couple of years. Sure last year was an abomination but Auburn is never more than a year away from Championship level play if they have someone at the helm who will demand that his players live the Auburn Creed. Gus is that guy. This team had talent….most of us knew, I think…but they weren’t being coached, motivated and nurtured in the Auburn values that we hold dear. Once they were, and their heart and pride began to show through, it was like a Big Train coming, nothing was going to stop them.

    For me, that loss Monday stung for about 30 minutes. Yes, I was disappointed that we let FSU off the hook but we didn’t deserve to win that game either. Even when we were up 21-3, I felt as if we were just staving off the inevitable. Every yard we got on the ground was punishing and hard fought and if we didn’t have Tre Mason, we probably would have been held under 100 yards rushing. We built a big lead by taking advantage of what FSU gave us but it didn’t feel sustainable, and it wasn’t. We were unable to impose our running game on them consistently and in the third quarter we got away from making good reads, execution and taking advantage of what Tre got for us and that was ultimately is what cost us. I’ve said it time and again and it held ever so true in this game….with this style of offense, if you don’t keep attacking, you will lose. The defense held up its end of the bargain, only allowing 27 points, the offense just couldn’t close the deal. So in the end, you have to be a man and tip your cap to FSU and accept that they beat us by keeping us under 300 yards rushing and by making a championship drive at the end of the game. The only thing this season was missing was a defensive miracle play in the Championship game. I’m not sure who the better team was that night but FSU got momentum at the right time and if Tre did anything wrong that night it was that he scored too early and gave FSU a chance to win the game at the end. And they did. No shame in that, just disappointment. If you want to be the champ, you got to knock the other guy out.

    Now comes the hard part…sustaining success. I think most of us felt this way after 2010. After all, we had Cam-lite in Kiehl Frazier ready to step up if Barrett Trotter faltered, Michael Dyer was going to rush for 2000 yards and the makings of a great defense in years to come from all the solid recruits we were bringing in. But winning means focus, and work, HARD WORK….I think Gus and these guys know that, but you can’t take it for granted. Hopefully this IS a new day and we can sustain for years to come. The question going forward is, when Gus leaves…..and he will….who will replace him? Is it Rhett? Dameyuene? Rodney? Or someone else from outside? Its going to be a heckuva ride.

    War Eagle!!

  6. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Everything said since The Game just proves beyond the shadow of a doubt, and, let none of us ever forget, that, win or lose:

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

  7. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Addendum:

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  8. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    I heard someone talking about the game last Monday night ~ What?! It seems like a month ago already. Wish we could have played within 2 weeks of the SEC championship. I know we would have seen a totally different team with the momentum. Anyway, enjoyed my trip except for a minute and 19 seconds. When they scored, I looked at the clock and wondered if that was too much time but I totally expected the D to hold. I’m afraid they relaxed a little. I guess I know now how Oregon felt and for that matter ~ UA and GA. Needless to say, I am still proud of the redemption that these guys were able to achieve. What a testament to them and their coaches!! Now, I’m not sure what to do with all the souvenirs…….