I was at my favorite coffee shop this morning, a wonderful little place about a mile from my office. Every day they have a trivia question, which earns you a discount if you answer it correctly. Today’s question was “What is the nickname of the Georgia – Georgia Tech clash?” I responded that it was a phrase with “old” and “hate,” but I couldn’t remember the exact term. “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate,” one of the baristas said, and proceeded to give me the discount. I thanked them and then said I still preferred the term ‘Iron Bowl.” The barista, an Auburn fan, agreed. The patron behind me then asked who I thought would be Auburn’s coach next year. “Tuberville,” I said “With stocks in the tank, Bobby Lowder can’t afford to buy him out.”
It’s nice to be able to laugh. However, as the weekend approaches, I see little to make me happy. As I look to this week’s game, I note the following:
I know that no one expects us to win;
I know that we are 14-point underdogs (the last time I checked anyway);
I know that admonitions of “throw the record books out” are remembrances of upsets, not an understanding of statistical history. In the last eight games alone, the best team has won six times (75%).
And the pundits have measured our coffin and written our obituary,
However, I am reminded of that 25% and wonder what Auburn can accomplish.
Will it be like the start of this six-game streak, where no one gave us a chance and a 4th string tailback wrote himself into Auburn lore?
Will it be like ’82, where a freshman phenom ended nine years of Auburn misery?
Will it be like ’72, where a Tiger Team made the greatest comeback in Iron Bowl history?
Or will it be like ’99, when a valiant effort sputtered and ran out of gas late in the third quarter?
Is there anything in our favor?
We’re playing in Tuscaloosa, where we’ve never lost, and we have an opponent that has everything to lose. Last week, sportswriter Kevin Scarbinsky called this game Alabama’s worst nightmare. A dream season for the Tide blows up quickly if they lose to Auburn. And that may be the one thing in our favor. Alabama is playing for its season. For Auburn, our season is likely just 60 minutes. And for just once this season, I believe our team will finally give 60 minutes.