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