They weren’t disappointed.
Neither was I
We arrived Friday evening and headed to the massive tailgate across from the art museum. My cousin Katherine had an RV set up amongst the sea of RVs and planned to hang out there for the weekend with her son and some good friends. We gorged ourselves on hot dogs and chips before calling it, heading out to my cousin’s place where we spent the night.
Of course, while I was there, I followed the latest news on the Cam Newton saga. Supposedly, a source claimed that Cecil admitted to talking with Mississippi State about money. Another unnamed source. Another story with accusations. Everybody claims their source is reliable. The problem is you don’t know who to believe anymore.
But as Saturday unfolded, I was reminded of, as the creed goes, why I believe in Auburn and love it.
From taking my son’s to Tiger Walk where they high-fived with Aubie and low-fived with Cam to a Toomer’s lemonade where I showed them the picture on the wall of their great-great uncle, Mac Lipscomb, who bought the business from Mr. Toomer himself and ran it for decades before retiring. I re-introduced my sons to the Auburn I loved.
And then we went to the game.
When it comes to college football, the only thing better than watching a big game is watching it with your children. To enjoy their fascination as the eagle flies out and lands at mid-field, to enjoy their anticipation as the band takes the field, and then enjoy their amazement as jets do a flyover during the National Anthem.
“Dad, that was loud,” my son said.
The first drive opened as we expected with an opening TD, but nothing seemed to go right after that. The dropped pass on a sure TD that would have tied the game at 14-all showed how badly we were out of sorts. I could almost CBS announcers talking about the Newton saga and how it must be getting to Auburn. But with two scores in the second quarter, to tie it up, I counted my blessings and said to my kids, “I hope that was the bad half.”
I was relieved when Chizik’s gamble worked to open the second half. And fromt here, the momentum finally seemed to shift Auburn’s way. I finally relaxed when Georgia kicked a field goal. I knew we’d have the game in the bag once we got up two scores. And when Georgia took a knee to end it, I celebrated. Our first SEC Western Division championship in six years was a reality. We still have higher things to play for, but we can relax and enjoy the moment, punctuated by memories of Michael Dyer breaking Bo Jackson’s freshman rushing record and watching Bo Jackson congratulate him on the big screen when it was announced.
But there were some negatives.
Our defense still has a lot of trouble stopping anyone, though admittedly they only allowed only 10 points after the first quarter. You can’t blame them for the interception that was returned to the Auburn 9. However, you can blame them for having UGA third and 16 in the third quarter and allowing a first down. You can also blame them for having UGA 4th and 1 and allowing a huge TD pass.
Our punting team still needs work. On what had to be the best punt of the year, Auburn could have pinned UGA at the 1. Instead, our players lost the ball and allowed it to slip into the end zone. Georgia went on to score on that drive.
TV timeouts are really long when you’re in the stadium. It’s almost a momentum killer.
Reviews are frustrating when you can’t see all the camera angles that are provided on TV. I don’t know what the official rules are, but Auburn doesn’t show a replay on the Jumbotron until the ruling on the field is confirmed or overturned.
Auburn did allow some of its frustrations to show, as evidenced by the taunting from the Georgia players. Taunting that was visible to everyone except the referees, allowed Auburn to get hit with a personal foul for responding to it. And then Auburn got two players tossed at the end. Those players will have to miss the first half of the Alabama game. I’m thankful to Mark Richt for taking a knee at the end. We couldn’t afford to lose another defender.
With the game over, I enjoyed the jubilation, took the kids to McDonald’s, and then we all headed home to Atlanta. On the way home, I tried to get my kids to take a nap. I also tried to explain the NCAA to my wife. I was successful at neither.
All I can say is. War Cam Eagle. Nothing is proven. If the NCAA finds Cam ineligible and decides to vacate Auburn’s season, let Auburn’s record for the season be 0-0.
And everyone will know who was the best.