Midweek Ramblings From The Plains (New Amen-Corner Edition)
For the first time in 84 years, the Deeps South's Oldest Rivalry will not be played in November beginning in 2020 (photo: Kevin C. Cox)
Remember the old axiom, “Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it?” It’s formally known as the law of unintended consequences. Ever since Texas A&M and Missouri joined the SEC in 2013, Auburn has been forced to play its two biggest rivals on the road back to back every other year. No other team has had to play its two biggest rivals at the end of the season much less on the road. It’s been an inequity the administration has pushed to change. And now the SEC has obliged.
Starting next year Auburn will play Georgia in October. While that’s a good thing, the fallout from the move is not. Now Auburn will have to play LSU and Alabama in the last two games of November without the benefit of an open week or a cupcake game between the two. The consequence will make it more difficult to play for the league championship.
Should they win the Western Division, the Tigers would then have to play an East Division champion that will almost certainly not have a similar gauntlet to reach the league championship game and stay in the hunt for a college playoff spot. Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M will all face a similar challenge, as Auburn, to make it to Atlanta.
When Gus Malzahn was asked about the new scheduling model, he said he thought it was fair because all four teams will end their season against two tough SEC West opponents. You would expect a coach to say that. But the fact is nine of the last 13 national championships have been won by an SEC West team.
So my question is, why would Commissioner Sankey approve this change? You can bet if Mike Slive were still running the show, he would not do anything to weaken the chances of the most successful division in college football to win another national championship for the Southeastern Conference.
Will the Auburn Quarterback race be decided this week?
Since SEC Media Days, Gus Malzahn has said he wants to name a starting signal caller by the end of fall camp. Reports out of Auburn have lauded Joey Gatewood’s athleticism and arm strength. Yet, Bo Nix is has been the most accurate passer and is said to be getting the most snaps with the No. 1’s.
The last week of camp is here with one more chance for live action during the Tigers’ Wednesday scrimmage. Does that mean Gus will announce his starter this week? Maybe. But even if he does make an announcement, fans can expect both to play against Oregon in the Kickoff Classic in Dallas August 31.
Sad news over the weekend.
We learned Sunday that former Tiger Jamar Travis passed away. A four-star prospect out of W.S. Neal High School in Brewton, Ala. he was a defensive lineman and special teams player on the Tigers’ 2010 National Championship team. H ae was well liked player by his teammates, and coach Malzahn said, “He was a super person with a great smile.” Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family.
Auburn men’s basketball and the NCAA.
Auburn was proactive in light of the Chuck Person saga. The school told AL.com Friday that it self-imposed sanctions on the basketball program from Sept. 2017 to April 2018 as a result of Person’s illegal actions. The school restricted all recruiting efforts, which included no visits, contacts, phone calls or evaluations during that time period.
Despite what some in the media (and opponents) are hoping for, this should go a long way to prevent any sanctions when and “if” the NCAA takes a look at how Auburn dealt with the situation.
New voice of the Auburn Tigers.
Many fans have wondered who will replace play-by-play announcer Rod Bramblett in the booth this football season. The school has tapped veteran Auburn Network announcer, Andy Burcham. He has to be the best choice because his 30 years with the Auburn Network has made him a true-blue Auburn Man. “I am honored to be following in the footsteps of such legends as Rod Bramblett, Jim Fyffe, and others,” said Andy.
While fans will miss Rod, Andy’s experience announcing baseball, women’s basketball, and football for CSS has prepared him for the challenge. He’s understandably nervous to be following his friend, but we expect fans to warm to him just as they did Rod when he succeeded the great Jim Fyffe.
Will Auburn administration retreat from changing the Auburn logo?
There’s been a lot of negative fan reaction to the administration’s announced plans to alter the official “AU” logo. It may seem like much to do about nothing, but apparently it’s important to a lot of folks. In fact there’s an on-line petition to stop the change. Thus far it has garnered over 10,000 signatures.
What has been the school’s response? One: a news release saying that they did not consider the alterations as changes. And second: they plan to phase it in steps in hopes that the uproar will eventually die down. While the logo will start being seen on some printed material, the emblem on the helmets as well as on the middle of the playing field will not be changed till the 2020 season. Maybe that’s a good thing because we all need to get on the same page now that football season is here. Until next time …