Photo by Sports Illustrated
For those of us who love Auburn football, this is the worst kind of Iron Bowl week. It’s kind of like the kid that’s sick on Christmas. You wait all year and the day comes and goes without joy. Barring the biggest upset in series history, Auburn will likely lose Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa.
That’s no news bulletin. It’s what makes Auburn people so frustrated with Gus Malzahn. Critics will point out that no one has stood a chance against Alabama this season. That means little to fans who expect to be competitive in the state’s most important yearly event.
It’s why the school made Malzahn the sixth highest paid coach in the country. Plain and simple, he has the unenviable job of keeping pace with perhaps the greatest coach of all time. When he struggles to keep pace with even Tennessee and Miss. State, things get pretty miserable.
The question will be asked all week: Does Auburn have a chance? These are the same players who were ranked in the preseason Top 10. These are the same guys with four and five stars next to their names coming out of high school. None of it matters now. The short answer is no.
I expect Auburn to play hard. While this team has underperformed, it has yet to quit. There are 16 proud seniors who want to win in the worst way. The reality is they may be facing the best team in Nick Saban’s Alabama tenure, which means this may be Bama’s best team ever…
Lost in the misery of the season, is appreciating the pure joy these players have wearing the Auburn uniform. Watching all 16 seniors get a chance to play against Liberty and seeing the smiles on their faces after the game makes you love Auburn even more, even in difficult times.
Saturday meant the world for a group of guys who’ve been through the highest of highs and their fair share of lows. Playing for the last time inside Jordan-Hare Stadium was emotional for the men who’ve sacrificed to walk on that field. I’ll always have a warm spot for this senior class. They brought us a lot of happiness…
I was sick to my stomach when I got word Friday that long time Paul Finebaum Show caller Tammy Bullard died, along with her granddaughter, in a horrific traffic accident on Highway 280. I admit I’ve never been a fan of the show and struggle to understand its appeal. But the times I caught some of Tammy’s on-air rants, I was always amused and, dare I say, entertained. She loved Auburn and for that, we loved her…
There is still a lot of speculation about Auburn’s bowl destination. It could be several weeks before an announcement. One destination that is repeatedly mentioned is the Gator Bowl. Auburn has a long history with the game.
The Tigers have played there six times, including the memorable 1971 game that featured Pat Sullivan against Archie Manning of Ole Miss. In one of the wilder games, Auburn came from behind to win 35–28. At one point, Auburn played three consecutive bowl games in Jacksonville during the 1950’s. The last appearance was a 27–3 win over Texas in 1974. I wouldn’t mind a return trip.
Until next time…
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