Sunday, September 9, 2007

Spoiler Warning

When I watch Auburn games, I often set up my computer on ESPN’s website that automatically tracks stats. Prior to the start of the OT, the score USF 26, Auburn 23 showed up on my screen. I was taken aback. The game wasn’t over…or was it. I thought to myself that it had to be an error.

Then I realized the awful truth. ESPN must have had a glitch in their delay mechanism. The game was over and I would see the results in a few minutes. I told myself again that it was just a glitch and that the OT had just repeated the points scored in fourth quarter and then added it in. Still, I now had an awful feeling in my stomach, a feeling that would not go away. I tried to tell myself it was going to be okay as Auburn lost the toss…as Trott dropped the pass…as we brought out the field goal unit. When Byrum’s kick looked like it didn’t have a chance the way it was spinning, I told myself that everything was still going to be okay…before the kick still sailed through. I told myself as USF went for it on 4th and 1 that we were going to stop them and that we were still going to win this…all the way until that TD pass sealed our fate.

So congratulations to South Florida. They played hard and won the game. We looked good in the 2nd quarter. When we took the lead just before the half, I was convinced we would win the game. With all the mistakes in the 2nd half, I thought we would still pull it out. Even when I got the advance notice of the final score, I still believed that we could win. But unlike so many close games before, the magic ran out. An opponent didn’t end the game scratching their heads thinking, “How did we lose that game?”

Think about the magic, though. Every time it has been close in the last three years, we have won every game but one. Our only other loss in a close game: LSU 20, Auburn 17. Also, an overtime contest. Also, a contest where a kicker missed untold field goal attempts and a special teams lapse was crucial in regulation. As I watched this game, I thought to myself that this must be the karma for that LSU game. How we lost that one, I have no clue. Given our mega-turnovers in the 2nd half, how we stayed in last night’s game, I have no clue.

Actually I do. Note the good things:

-> Our defense allowed only three points off of five turnovers. (I know that they had a couple of lapses in the first quarter.)
-> We DO have a good new kicker.
-> Fannin had a good first half. Despite his second half turnovers, he and Tate are the next Williams-Brown tandem.
-> This WILL wake us up, just in time for the SEC.
-> We didn’t graduate from Michigan or Notre Dame.

I haven’t checked the articles and message boards today yet, as I wanted to wait until after I wrote this post. That way I would not color my message. I am sure everyone is predicting doom for us. I am particularly certain that the Alabama fans are now invading the Auburn message boards, talking smack and claiming that they are back. In other words, claiming victory again in the early fall, despite five straight losses in November. SI may even do another “Bama is back” cover like they did in 2005.

However, one thing still gives me pride. As I was leaving church this morning, I noticed a Gamecocks flag still on one of the cars. Given the number of specialized UGA license plates around, putting out a Gamecocks flag was not the smartest thing to do. Granted, it was still a church parking lot, so the driver, I am sure, wasn’t too worried. However, I noticed one other flag flying on someone’s car…an Auburn one. Win or lose, we stand with our team and behind them. Only an Auburn fan would have driven to church the day after a loss with an Auburn flag still attached to the car.

War Eagle!

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