Thursday, January 13, 2011
I am staring at the laminated copy of the Birmingham News. The headline reads "Believe it".
Three days later, it is simply very hard for me to do. The Auburn Tigers are national champions. Now read that again. Just two years ago, we were at rock bottom. Decimated by the Crimson Tide in the 2008 Iron Bowl, with a longtime coach on the way out. Jay Jacobs then hired Gene Chizik. I wasn't there with the heckler that day, but I might as well have been. He was saying what many of us were thinking.
Then Coach Chiz hired his staff. It looked pretty good on paper. I was pretty excited at the time about Gus Malzahn's offense. I knew Trooper Taylor was a good recruiter. Getting Tracy Rocker back home was a good move too. So maybe, just maybe, Coach Chizik knew what he was doing.
His first year as head coach Auburn went 8-5. A team with a lot of heart with pedestrian talent at best laid a strong foundation.
Then there was the top 5 recruiting class that included some guy that Florida ran off that had great talent, but might be the next Daniel Cobb.
Three games into the season we thought we might be a 9-3 type team if many things fell our way. Then after LSU, something changed in my mind, at least. We had an offense capable of keeping us in games. Now this is backward from conventional thinking. How many times have we heard that defense wins championships? But the defense was just good enough, just opportunistic enough to make this team able to compete.
I decided after the Iron Bowl that no 53 year hex would deny this team. Auburn dominated Alabama after the first quarter, erasing that huge lead. Part of me thinks that if Bama would have scored 41, we'd have scored 42.
So 2010 is in the books. It will be one for the ages. I hope my three year old remembers Cam, and Ontario and Darvin and Nick. Mainly I hope she'll remember how happy the 2010 made her daddy.
As for the game:
-For anyone who thinks the 2010 Auburn Tigers were a one-man show and that Rome will fall in the coming season, Exhibit A- January 10, 2011. Cam was just OK by Cam-standards. He missed open guys, he got banged up, and he had that mind-numbing fumble that led to the tie late. Michael Dyer is the real deal, folks. He will be a force to be reckoned with for th next couple years. Ontario was a menace too. Emory Blake quietly made plays all year. I hope like the devil we get picked 4th again in the SEC West for 2011.
-Give Ted Roof a 20 minute halftime to come up with a plan, he's good. Give him a month and some change, he's freakin amazing. Auburn absolutely dominated the line on defense. LaMichael James was a pinata Monday night. If not for the Cam fumble Auburn likely would have shut out Oregon in the second half. I have a feeling that as talent improves, especially in the secondary, we'll see a much different Auburn defense in the next few years.
-Hello Mr. Shoemaker-We've given Shoe some grief this season. But man-oh-man did he come through in the championship game.
-Nick, we hardly knew thee-What a season from Nick Fairley. He was a wrecking ball on the D-line. Rob calls him unblockable. I would agree. Enjoy that bed of cash you will sleep on next year, my friend.
-Universtiy of Pheonix doesn't have a horticulture program. The slip and slide that was the turf in this game was awful. Somebody should get fired over that mess. My advice: Hire an Auburn grad to manage your turf. Case in point, the 2009 West Virgina game.
-Watching Nick Saban and Urban Myer break down a college football game is like watching Hitler and Napoleon break down a war.
-As we have said all year-Throw it to Kodi!!!! (actually we said this as a joke all year, but man it was great to see Kodi get a TD catch in the National Champoionship game.)
Well, that's it. I'm sad it's over but glad I was along for the trip. Thank you 2010Tigers for making us believe, and coming through.