Malzahn Waits His Turn at Waffle House
What does it take for a guy to get a seat at Waffle House? Photo:Julie Bennett al.com
Apparently, more than a ten win season and the most improbable victory in Jordan-Hare Stadium history. Declaring after Saturday’s win over Georgia that, “this is definitely a Waffle House night,”Gus Malzahn continued his tradition of heading to the local greasy spoon after a big victory.
The only problem was there were no tables available. Like any normal patron, Gus grabbed the first seat he could find along the row of other diners waiting for an open table. It didn’t matter that he was seated next to some very freaked out Georgia co-eds. It didn’t matter that minutes earlier he’d led Auburn to a potential BCS bowl berth.
In Auburn you either wait your turn or go somewhere else. After 15 minutes or so, he and his wife did just that, heading to a less crowded joint. The most famous and beloved man in town can’t even get an omelet when he wants it.
That story sums up the unassuming character of Malzahn and this Auburn team. Let Nick Saban and his tattooed pretty boy quarterback get all the attention. Gus and the guys are just like us, except when they put their pants on Saturday afternoon, they go out and create havoc across the college football landscape. Cue the cowbells.
Assuming that Auburn players and fans get over the euphoria of the most exciting college football finish since Doug Flutie threw that pass against Miami way back in 1984, this town will host the most significant Iron Bowl since 1989.
Thank goodness there’s a 14 day window – we’ll need every second to recover. While Malzahn said he planned to “flip the switch” to Alabama on Sunday, it will likely take the rest of us longer.
The stakes couldn’t have been much higher for Auburn on that final drive. According to BCS guru Jerry Palm at CBS Sports.com, the win quite possibly sealed the deal for an Auburn berth in the Sugar Bowl.
“The result (of the Auburn win) is that the Tigers are now the choice to replace archrival Alabama in the Sugar Bowl (should Alabama win out or otherwise lose),” says Palm.
“In fact, the only thing that could keep Auburn out now would be if the East Division champ wins the SEC title.”
Don’t mention replacing Alabama to this Auburn team. They have no intention of being anyone’s consolation prize. Like in 1993, 2004 and 2010, these players believe they can’t lose. That’s a very potent weapon. Malzahn has this team expecting to win the SEC Championship.
I don’t care if you are Alabama or the New England Patriots, that has to be cause for concern if you are planning a trip to Auburn.
In the coming days, every Alabama blowhard from Paul Finebaum to Danny Sheridan will declare Auburn has no chance on November 30th.
I watched Saban’s bunch play Miss St. I saw them against LSU. I saw both with my own eyes. This Auburn team can compete with Alabama’s best. It can beat Alabama. It can beat anyone in the country. No amount of media coverage will convince me otherwise.
Malzahn summed it up best in the locker room following the win, “”I told our team that I think we’re in the midst of something special here.”
That may be the greatest understatement I’ve ever heard.