What is it about Brandon Cox that the pre-season prognosticators just don’t like? They pay lip service to his experience, saying things like he is “one of the better quarterbacks in the league”, but then follow up with a caveat that he’s not one of their top three All-SEC choices (Athlon). What’s that supposed to mean? Does that mean he’s in the Top 6 of the 12 starters. Website collegefootballnews.com definitely does not have in their Top 4 QBs. I realized this when I saw their list of the top 30 players and saw four QBs listed (no Cox). So, he doesn’t qualify for even third-string All-SEC. He’s not seen as a top athlete. Those of you reading may understand how I reached this conclusion.
After thinking about this question for a while (which proves I definitely have a lot of time on my daily commute), I have come to realize that Brandon Cox is the SEC football equivalent of Grizzabella the Glamour Cat. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Grizabella is a character in Cats, the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical based on T.S. Eliot’s book “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” (A summary follows here. For those interested in a complete synopsis, please click on the title of this post.) In the musical, a certain breed of cats, called Jellicle Cats, meet once a year at a junkyard party so that a wise old cat named Old Deuteronomy can decide which one of them is worthy of being reborn in to a new jellicle life.
Most of the musical is about various cats stating their case as to why they should be the one chosen. However, there is one cat, Grizzabella, whom for various reasons the other cats decide should not even be allowed to join the party much less state her case for re-birth. Twice she tries to crash the party, only to be tossed out.
Back to where I am going with this comparison.
There are a number of good QBs in the league. Woodson at Kentucky and Ainge at Tennessee are often mentioned as the top two. After that, people bring up Stafford at Georgia, Tebow at Florida and Matt Flynn at LSU. Still, where is Cox? He has led his team to a 13-3 SEC record and a 20-5 overall record over the last two seasons. Yet, he gets treated as an afterthought in discussions, all because he had a “sub-par” 2006 (a season where the team went 11-2 and he played hurt most of the time).
The last two Auburn QBs had junior years below expectations. In their senior years, both Ben Leard and Jason Campbell led their teams to a spot in the SEC Championship game, with Campbell leading the team to a perfect 13-0 season. It’s Cox senior year now and he has what it takes to do the same.
At the end of Cats, Grizzabella crashed the party one last time. Over the objections of her detractors, she performed the song “Memory” and convinced everyone there that she was the one that deserved to be re-born. Given that the only person in the SEC that even remotely resembles the character of Old Deuteronomy is Al Borges (Auburn's Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach), look for Cox to create a lasting memory for Auburn fans this season.