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Mission Accomplished!

Photo by Vasha Hunt, AL.com

                                                                                                      Photo by Vasha Hunt, AL.com
As the clock wound down in my town Saturday night, the culmination of so many great things for the Auburn Tigers occurred. The most improbable season and arguably the biggest one year turn-around in college football history had just happened before us. The exclamation point was the complete offensive thrashing of the Missouri Tigers in our home away from home–the Georgia Dome. With so much already gained this year–and so much left to obtain–now’s a convenient time as any to try and sum up what the 2013 season has brought to the Auburn Tigers.

The title of this thread might seem a little premature to some considering so much is still in the balance but any true fan can tell you that the primary goal of any team in the SEC is to win the conference crown each year. Gone are the days of old when SEC titles are ambiguous or mythical, with as many as four teams claiming it in a given year. SEC titles now are absolute and definitive–and the hardest of any league in the country to earn. A modern spoil for the winner of the SEC championship game is the virtual lock to play for the BCS title. For the first SEC team to get shafted in the BCS, perhaps it’s fitting for us to boot-strap our way up in this final year of the BCS. My thoughts on this season:

No team in the history of the BCS has started the season unranked and played their way into the title game. Talk about earning it. Auburn doesn’t enjoy the clout of an Alabama or other state flagship program. We flew under the radar all season and are STILL going stealth. Thank goodness this wasn’t another 2004 with more than one major undefeated program. We’re still not the best one-loss program in the country according to many pundits, but it’s all irrelevant now.  Keep whining about how much better than us the Tide still is. We’re in and they’re not. End of story. We’ll relish our underdog role going into Pasadena and even after we’ve brought home another crystal football to the Plains and a WalMart near you.

Glad that Mizzou didn’t win the SEC title in their sophomore year. It’s just not that easy and I just didn’t want the rookies making it look so. No disrespect to the Tigers, they had a hell of a season. The previous new editions Arkansas and South Carolina have been trying for 22 seasons and still haven’t managed to win it. Many historic SEC teams haven’t won the title in divisional play. Only teams back in the early days of the SEC CG won it in their first attempt. Auburn had to make an appearance three times before we took the crown. We paid our dues.

Gus Malzahn is an Auburn man for a while. He’s just a regular guy who enjoys his Waffle House AND rushing the football down teams’ throats. Naturally, engineering the biggest turnaround in CFB history is going to attract a lot of attention and I’m glad Jay Jacobs had the presence of mind to re-ink him sooner rather than later. The SEC coach of the year has just been won over Gary Pinkel and a few of the many national awards can only be on deck. I love how during interviews Gus always looks away and starts every sentence with yea. I first took notice of him one October Saturday morning in 2006 as Darren McFadden and Felix jones ran all over us. He is the perfect fit for the Tailback U of the South. Auburn has a penchant for new coaches to have success early in their tenures. Gus’s is the best yet.

Tre Mason gets a Heisman invite. If you thought Auburn boot-strapped their way this year, Tre is the epitome of that sentiment.  He just won the AP’s top SEC offensive player of the year award. The Heisman has evolved in the last few years and I kind of like the way it’s going. Gone seems to be the early season politicking and season-long locks. The door is seemingly being left open longer for dark horse candidates to play their way into the race. The award is now more about the best player in CFB that year and not a body of work. Small school players get mentions but the fortunes of the bigger teams still play a large part in the success of an individual candidacy. I’m not sure if they can ever do anything about that part unless they give Heismans for different divisions and I don’t think I’d like that.

The redemption of Nick Marshall. We all need a story like this now and then. Player leaves the SEC in disgrace only to come back and find new hope pursuing his dream of playing QB with another team. Similar story to Cam Newton–we’ll know how similar early on January 7th. He’s one of the scrappiest guys we’ve seen in an Auburn uniform in years. Came around in just the nick of time to prove Auburn can have a SEC caliber QB again. Malzahn’s offense needs a legitimate run threat to succeed and Nick Marshall runs it expertly.

A miraculous Amen Corner. Beating your arch rivals with two of the greatest individual plays in CFB history is great. Having them occur in back-to-back games is even better. Having it launch you into world-wide pop culture stardom is simply beyond belief. The greatest Auburn game in my time as a fan used to be the 1994 Florida game until the Cam-Back in 2010. Now it’s Kick Six, and I might not survive watching whatever could possibly top that.

Being a total fanboy watching the Michigan State-OSU game. Acid and I raced home from the Georgia Dome to score a pizza pie and a few beers and catch the 2nd quarter-on of this match-up. When we saw Sparty up 17-0, I thought it was in the bag, but Urban and company came racing back and made a game of it. MSU finally regained it’s composure in the 4th quarter and put a stop to things with a colossal 4th and one stop to preserve their lead. Another TD iced it. Do me a favor: Go over to my Fanpost on SBN Spartan blog The Only Colors where I congratulated them on the win and leave a comment. We owe them big time and maybe we can repay them one day. In the meantime, we can show some Auburn gratitude.

The renewal with our old rival, Florida State. We had to take leave of each other after the SEC expanded and they joined the ACC 23 years ago, and we squabbled a bit in the wake of Terry Bowden’s departure and the cancellation of the game in 1999. The Seminoles had a great run in the early years of the BCS with three straight appearances from the 1998-2000 seasons, and one win in 1999. Both they and Auburn will be looking for their second BCS title, making the victor one of only four teams to have multiple BCS crowns.

It’s been a long, dry spell for them. They feel entitled at this point and I hope they are selling us short. They are already being hyped up as the greatest team this season but I think they would get waylaid by the top quarter of SEC teams. Regardless, they won’t be as hard to beat as Alabama was. We might not be able to slow down Winston and their offensive attack but they damn sure aren’t going to be able to stop us. Our road to this game has been tried by fire. Their’s has been a mere cakewalk.

We are coming.     Auburn 48, FSU 37

21 Comments

  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……I greatly appreciated your hospitality, WEA! We certainly had a rockin’ time in the Georgia Dome! I hope we weren’t too obnoxious to those around us. I know I made some noise!

  2. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    I can say this with much confidence, “We were all Michigan State fans that night.”

    Enjoyed the post.

    WAR EAGLE!

  3. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    I think your score prediction is about right, maybe add a score for each team. 55-42. Fla St has not seen the likes of us this year, they are in for a surprise.

  4. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    WEA,

    Great writeup and summary of a fantastic year. I would have loved to have been there in the Georgia Dome but could only be there in spirit. We are working on a trip to Pasadena. Wish me and my friends luck. I don’t have any predictions since mine are usually colored orange and blue and are not very accurate. I do KNOW that this team will fight to the final whistle, and, win or lose, we all KNOW:

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

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

    BEAT THE SEMINOLES !!!

    P.S. Not sure if any of you are old enough to remember Leonard Post Tosties’ radio show “Leonard’s Losers” where he picked the losers of each weekend’s football games? He always referred to FSU as the Semiholes! I sure hope Tre Mason & friends can find a lot of semiholes in that FSU defense and SCORE at will!

  5. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Perfect year end wrap…seriously, you nailed it.

    I’m feeling oddly positive about the BCS Champ game….although, their passing game is making me nervous. No one is giving us a chance in this game–despite the fact that we beat #1 and #5, respectively, in two consecutive weeks….but we are too one-dimensional and don’t have a good defense. Right, right, because games are often won by teams who can’t convert on third down (Bama lookin’ at you, baby).

    What strikes me is that all of you guys who got to go to the game are all high on Auburn–completely mystified by what you witnessed in person. That’s amazing! Barn hard, fellow Tigers, Barn hard.

    War Eagle!!!

  6. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Great observations and review of an unbelievable season.

    Win or lose, I hope Gus and coaches will take some time to recover from this season. Based on Chizik not rebounding from 2010, I will fear a sophomore slump. I know Gus is not Gene but these types of season drain you physically and emotionally; and to think that they’re in the throes of recruiting season.

    Proud of Tre and his work ethic but I’m equally impressed with our line for plowing the way. Thankful he was invited to NY, however I’m sure he’s not the favorite. Tre will get to know a little more about Winston on their visit and if Winston wins, I believe it will burn in Tre and he will somehow find a way to turn it up a notch in the BCSNCG.

    Proud of Nick on his makeover, especially when many faithful weren’t too impressed early on. We can now see what the coaches saw back in the spring. Again, we can thank Gus for arguing for Cam’s case and Nick’s as well. He believes in redemption and restoration. I think Gus understands that these kids’s past can be used as a tool in their rehab. Remember, he also gave Dyer a second chance Ark St…

    My brother in law UGA grad and football walk-on enjoys arguing this point that Auburn takes in the thugs from other colleges. To which I say, thank God that someone does and turns them around and doesn’t throw them away. Colleges athletes who make mistakes when they’re ‘young and dumb’ and get thrown away with no form of rehabilitation points to the fact that programs see these kids as a ‘means to the end’ fodder. They don’t view them as kids who need guidance. Thanks Gus for being who and what you are…

    • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

      Oh, and FSU fanbase are tools…they have no idea what is about to happen to them…

  7. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    “Talk about earning it,” sums it up about right. These Tigers are very deserving – have proved themselves every step of the way.

    Good read WEA.

  8. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Mission is accomplished. We won the SEC and NOBODY expects, or WANTS us to win the Natty. We are playing with house money. All the perceived pressure will be on FSU and the Heisman winner Winston.
    If we are focused and don’t make the mistakes we made against Mizzou, I think we beat the Noles handily.

    Look at the progress we’ve made in just the last month, all while getting beat up by the biggest and best in the country. The difference in this game will be our line and Jay Prosch beating the Noles up. The Noles are super talented….but are they TOUGH? I’m betting not tough enough.
    We are battle tested, but more importantly we will be as healthy as we have been all year…..and we have ANOTHER month to get ready. Gus has excelled at putting together bowl game game plans and I expect him to do another great job. There may not be any super secret plays under construction but he will have them ready to execute.

    • win4au says:

      We will dominate with our rushing attack, thats a given. As far as defense, if Duke can get pressure on Winston like they did in the 1st quarter of the ACCCG, I’m pretty sure we can as well. Oh, except we are going to pressure him for 4 quarters. SEC style!

  9. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    We Comin’

  10. wpleagle says:

    With regard to Tigerstripe’s comments, don’t forget that in 2011 we lost some significant athletes, not the least of which were Cam and Fairley. Seems like the bulk of the O line graduated or departed also. If Tre and Greg Robinson don’t jump to the NFL, I think we’ll be in great shape personnel-wise in 2014.
    Gus and the staff will, I am confident, recharge and go forward focused on 2014!

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      If were to guess, Tre and Greg both will bolt for the money. And really, who can blame them?

      That said, we are in no way short on talent for next season. There are a couple of great linemen that seen very little action this season. Shon Coleman among them. Dude was a 5* recruit, don’t forget.

      RB U? yeah, we got RB’s by the bushel. So many in fact, that the one true freshman we had to burn a redshirt for, played DB most of the season. Two studs were redshirted, plus we have Mr. Artis-Payne, and Mr. Grant on the returning list. The biggest loss will be the beast that Jay Prosch is.

      • Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

        Speaking of Mr. Prosch. (correct me if I’m wrong) but I don’t recall that the blocking FB was a part of Gus’ overall offensive scheme. I don’t recall that being a need of recruitment for his offense to work. If that is the case, I know he sees the benefit of a big blocking FB now. If it’s not a part of the scheme, I hope it becomes a part. Me likey the big blocking fullbacks. Kind of old school.

        • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

          ……Actually, Gus has usually had a “dirty work” guy in the backfield, for most of the time he’s been at Auburn. That guy was Eric Smith, the first couple of years. He had problems finding that guy in 2011, and ended up playing Phillip Lutzenkirchen in that role, which was not Lutzy’s strength. Now he’s got Prosch, who’s been pretty devastating this season.

          …..Who to watch next season is Gage Batten. I noticed him during spring ball, and he got a lot of snaps during the Florida Atlantic game, which I attended. He’s gonna be pretty good, next season, and we’ll be in good hands, there.

  11. friedca says:

    This season has been amazing. A win in the NC would put this team into football lore. If this was Greece or Rome songs would be sung about this team. It has been a special year. Special in a different way than in 04 or 10. 2004 was just an amazing team that was consistant and unstoppable. 2010 was incredible but the black cloud that hung over our head sometimes brought down the jubiliation we felt as many of us spent a great deal of time listening to “Scam” jokes or defending him. 2013 is an underdog story so unbelievable that they wouldn’t make a movie end this way cause everyone would roll their eyes. Either way I’m proud of the turnaround of these boys and I’m proud that when Gus said “a new day,” he frecking meant it.

  12. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    I guess I’m the senior member of this group since no one can seem to remember “Leonard’s Losers”! It was back in the 60’s. Here’s hoping that the “Semiholes”, as Leonard called them, are the losers in the NC Game. And, always remember, Win or Lose:

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

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

    BEAT THE SEMINOLES !!!

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..”Git meh outta hyeah, Percy!” Leonard’s Losers used to be a staple on the AU radio network a 2-3 decades ago. He took his show to the internet in the 1990s, and did webcasts up till around 2000 or so. Sadly, he passed away in 2001.

    • sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

      Leonard’s Losers also was featured on the Armed Forces Radio Network for many years. It was how I followed SEC football BIE (Before the Internet Era) when the only international programming available were old Kojak episodes in German.

      It was made worse by the voice over actor’s voice being about two octaves higher than Telly Savalas would ever dream of speaking, which made the show unwatchable.