Coach Will “Boom” Muschamp is now back in the loving arms of the Auburn Family. That is no longer breaking news but it is sweet music to the ears of the Tiger faithful.

“Boom laka-laka-laka, boom laka-laka-laka…” goes the Sly and the Family Stone tune, “I Want To Take You Higher,” and Muschamp will do just that with the Auburn D.+

Take a gander at the numbers “Boom” has put up as both a defensive coordinator and as a head coach. These are national stats:+

2002 – 8th Total Defense 15th Scoring Defense
2003 – 1st Total Defense 1st Scoring Defense
2004 – 3rd Total Defense 14th Scoring Defense+

Miami Dolphins – DC
2005 – 15th Total Defense 18th Scoring Defense+

Auburn – DC
2006 – 19th Total Defense 7th Scoring Defense
2007 – 6th Total Defense 6th Scoring Defense+

Texas – DC
2008 – 51st Total Defense 18th Scoring Defense
2009 – 3rd Total Defense 12th Scoring Defense
2010 – 6th Total Defense 49th Scoring Defense+

Florida – HC
2011 – 8th Total Defense 29th Scoring Defense
2012 – 8th Total Defense 20th Scoring Defense
2013 – 5th Total Defense 5th Scoring Defense
2014 – 20th Total defense 34th Scoring Defense+

Now check this out (from ITAT-Inside The Auburn Tigers):defenseWhat do you think?

Notable: Led Auburn to a No. 7 national ranking in scoring defense in 2006 … Auburn’s defense allowed just 21 touchdowns in 2006, which was tied for eighth nationally … Coached Miami Dolphins to top-10 rankings in the NFL in yards per play (4.7, 7th), yards per rush (3.7, 7th) and yards per pass (6.0, 9th) in 2005, and the Dolphins were second in the NFL in sacks with 49 … Helped LB Zach Thomas and DE Jason Taylor earn Pro Bowl selections in 2005 … Was the defensive coordinator at LSU during its national championship season in 2003 … LSU led the nation in both scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and total defense (252.0 ypg) in 2003 … Coached four All-Americans at LSU, including LB Bradie James (2002), DT Chad Lavalais (2003), CB Corey Webster (2003-04) and DE Marcus Spears (2004) … Four-year letterman at Georgia (1991-94) as a safety and defensive co-captain as a senior.+

It is the humble opinion of this hack, and proud Auburn Fan, that my Tigers just went from this, ?, to this, !+

The Boom Brothers (Gus & Will) should make a mighty, MIGHTY formidable duo.+

And now a trip down memory lane.+

3rd ranked Auburn hosts 6th ranked LSU in a defensive slugfest. The hometown Tigers win 7-3 with Jamarcus Russell throwing deep to end the game. Patrick Lee intercepts the last throw to seal the victory for Auburn. THREE POINTS for the mighty Bayou Bengals! BOOM!!!+

The eventual national champions, Florida, make the trek to The Plains ranked second in the country. They return home with their only loss of the season by a score of 27-17. Chris Leak, Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow and their stalwart offense put up a paltry 279 total yards. BOOM!!!+

The AU D also picked shutouts in Starkville, 34-0, and at home against Arkansas State, 27-0. BOOM!!!+

2007imgresWhat do you think?
Unranked Auburn travels to Gainesville, oddly enough, to do battle with the undefeated and 4th ranked Gators. Tim Tebow and company are held to 312 total yards and 14 first downs. Freshman Wes Byrum TWICE hits a field goal with no time remaining on the clock to secure the victory. Urban Meyer called a time out as Byrum hit the first attempt. He cooly drilled the second try as well, and ran off Florida field doing the Gator Chomp. Auburn 20, Florida 17. BOOM!!!

On October 13th in Fayetteville, the Muschamp led D bottled up an Arkansas squad which featured running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.THE RAZORBACKS CAME AWAY WITH 67 NET RUSHING YARDS. Auburn 9, Arkansas 7. BOOM!!!+

So there you have it sports fans.

And welcome back to The Plains Coach Will “BOOM” Muschamp!!!

War Eagle!!!


The College Quickie: Getting Sober, Rehab, One Day At A Time


That’s the harsh reality for many fan bases as this incredulous 2014 college football season moves into the home stretch. Didn’t it seem like just yesterday that we were drunk with enthusiasm, passion and hope? Visions of a place in the new College Football Playoff danced in our heads. Now reality, like a stern judge banging his gavel, has set in and it’s time to look to bowl games and 2015 to find that, sometimes elusive and flirtatious, silver lining.+

Stay with me Georgia, UCLA, South Carolina, Oklahoma and yes, my fellow Auburnites. SIGH, we were once highly ranked and oh so pretty on paper. You can now wad up that piece of paper, throw it in the trash and tear off a new sheet from your legal pads. It’s time to start drawing up plans for next year.+

Hope doth spring eternal.+

National Signing Day is just around the corner.+

Spring practice will follow shortly.+


Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 10.09.47 PMWhat do you think?

Now, as they shake the hangover from drinking the highly spiked Kool-Aid, where do the teams’ fans listed above go for some reflection? Where does the arduous rehabilitation process begin? How can they get better?+

First you have to admit you have a problem.+

Let’s take it one team at a time, beginning with the team with the highest preseason ranking and moving down. We will use the AP poll.+


The Sooners came into the season ranked #4. They now find themselves at #16. I had them picked as a playoff team as did MANY others. Problem? Is it Big Game Bob? Do they need a breath of fresh air? Could Stoops revitalize TWO programs by stepping down in Norman and relocating to Gainesville? Lincoln? +

AuburnScreen Shot 2014-11-06 at 10.00.25 PMWhat do you think?

Oh mercy. Down from #6 to #21. OUCH!!! Just a mere three weeks ago my Tigers had just returned from Oxford with a scintillating 35-31 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels. They were #3 in the College Football Playoff Poll. The next game was against struggling Texas A&M. Piece of cake, right? WRONG! The Tigers proceeded to lose their remaining SEC games. Problem? Well, they admitted they had one and fired DC Ellis Johnson. Now the recovery process continues by hiring a strong replacement. Muschamp? Pelini?+

South Carolina+

Preseason #9. Today, unranked with a 6-6 record and bowl prospects in Birmingham or Shreveport. OUCH #2!!! Did they really beat Georgia? Oh well, we now know that the Head Ball Coach will return to the sidelines in Columbia. What will the ole rascal do to invigorate the Gamecocks? Problem? Defense? D was a huge reason for their shortcomings. Do I hear an echoooooo… Muschamp? Pelini?+


From #7 to #17. Not as big a drop as those mentioned before them. But it was a large disappointment to lose to Stanford and miss out on the PAC-12 Championship Game. Problem? Well, maybe they only lose a few games every year much like someone in denial only has a few drinks with dinner. Wink. Could Jim Mora Jr. confront them? It remains that he was/is one of the hottest names in FBS coaching circles. “Should he stay or should he go..” to (fire up the echo machine again) Gainesville? Lincoln?+


Okay, so the Bulldogs only fell from #12 to #15 but the hand wringing, whining and howling continues in Athens; especially after the defeat at the hands of hated rival, Georgia Tech. Between the Hedges no less. They are the perennial bridesmaids. “Mark Richt is a great guy. He’s such a good Christian man. I really like Mark Richt. He’s a class act.” We hear these mantras over and over, year after year. Problem? And I quote Bill Shanks of the Macon Telegraph, “I don’t care what Richt does on Sunday. Saturday is the concern.” And so, who organizes the intervention here?+

Game DayWhat do you think? ONE DAY AT A TIME

That is how one gets sober and stays sober. That is also how one builds a football program. One day at a time. One day at a time on the practice field. One day at a time repeating the fundamentals. One day at a time in the weight room. One day at a time on the recruiting trail.+

You get up. You show up. You practice, plan and, yes, pray.+

You do all of these things over and over and over until you think you can’t do them any more and you… practice, plan and pray… again and again and again.+

That is football.+

That, my friends, is also life.+

So, as we continue to move forward into this holiday season, let’s look back and give thanks for a wonderful, magical and amazing college football season. (No, I am not channeling my inner Drew Barrymore) +

And then look forward to Advent.Notre Dame football is here to stay…whether you like it or notWhat do you think?

Advent is defined as, “The arrival of a notable person, thing or event.”+

Could that be the shiny, new College Football Playoff?+

Rivalry Week: The Auburn-Alabama Game

The Auburn-Alabama Game. Or, if you sport the crimson and white, The Alabama-Auburn game.

I grew up, in the 60′s in LA (Lower Alabama), referring to college football’s greatest rivalry as The Auburn-Alabama game. I took exception to someone reversing the order of the game’s title. Even today that rankles me a little bit.+

Later, the Iron Bowl came in vogue as the accepted term for sport’s greatest contest. Every time I use that term to reference THE GAME, it makes me a tad uneasy. The name Iron Bowl gives it a Birmingham flavor. For forty-one consecutive years the game WAS played in Birmingham’s Legion Field. And Legion Field was where the majority the University of Alabama’s home games were played. If it were Alabama-Tennessee, Alabama-LSU or Alabama playing a huge intersectional opponent, the game took place in “The Football Capital of the South”. +

The term Iron Bowl was derived from Birmingham’s prominent role in the steel industry. Thus, when I hear Iron Bowl, I generally think of the largest city in the great state of Alabama. I think of the statue of Bear Bryant that stands outside of the south end zone of the venerable old stadium. I think of the ‘Tide and Tiger’ bar that once was a gathering place for rowdy fans of both persuasions before the big game.+

The whole atmosphere just had an “Alabama-ish” feel to it. And it was passed off as a neutral site. PLEASE!+

Thank god for Coach Patrick Fain Dye. Dye was named Auburn’s head football after the 1980 season and built a football program that put Auburn on equal footing with Alabama.+

Check the numbers. Since Dye took over as the head man at Auburn, the series stands at 18 wins for the Tigers and 15 wins for the Tide. It’s 6-4 Auburn the last decade. Auburn has 11 wins and Alabama has 9 wins over the past twenty years.+

Dye also demanded that the Auburn be allowed to play its home game in the series AT HOME. In Jordan-Hare Stadium. That happened in 1989 and it has been a great move for BOTH sides. Auburn and Tuscaloosa have benefited greatly, and the respective fan bases have been treated to an INFINITELY improved game day experience.+

Now don’t get me wrong. I have some great memories of games played in Legion Field.+

I mentioned, in last week’s column, that the first time I witnessed Auburn win an Auburn-Alabama game in Birmingham was 1970 when Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley led the Tigers to a great come-from-behind victory, 33-28.+

I was in the student section, in the curve of that south end zone, for the ‘Punt Bama Punt’ game in 1972. Bill Newton blocked two Bama punts VERY late in the game and David Langner took both of those to the house. Everybody knows the story. Auburn came out on top, 17-16.+

I was sitting on the fifty yard line, in the east stands, when Bo Jackson went ‘over-the-top’ to give Auburn their first win in ten years, 23-22.+

I also witnessed Auburn clinch two SEC Championships, in 1987 & 1988, in Birmingham.+

So yes, we Auburn fans have experienced some great moments at Legion Field, but we are also rightly justified and hugely satisfied that this grand event now takes place on the campuses of these two great institutions.+

If you are a passionate fan on EITHER side of this GREATEST rivalry you understand this. You know the feeling. There is an extra spring in your step. Your heart beats a little faster. Your emotions are on your sleeve. You get a tear in your eye at the recollection of your favorite memories of this game.+

‘Game’ seems to be an understatement. This moment in time may not have any bearing on real life or any impact on eternity, but it is as BIG as it gets in the state of Alabama. Its reverberations and repercussions will ripple throughout the south, the nation and the world for decades to come.+

So here we are again. Thanksgiving week. The Auburn-Alabama game. It just don’t get no better than this!+

The talking heads, pundits and prognosticators will yammer on endlessly about this event. And what an EVENT it is. Experts will break this thing down to the nth degree. You will see it examined from every angle and hear every possible human interest story related to the ‘event’.+

One thing you will likely hear, ad nauseum, will be “Throw out the record books for this one folks.” NO! Don’t do that. The Auburn-Alabama game usually plays close to form and the favorite wins, much more often than not.Yes, you have your ‘Punt Bama Punt’ games and your games when a decided underdog wins but that is the exception.+

The rule is… whoever blocks and tackles with greater precision will probably win. That is what wins football games. That is why fundamentals and repetition matter so very much.+

Passion and emotion will always be key elements in college football. People will also talk about revenge for last year’s ‘Kick Six’ game in Jordan-Hare. I’m sure that’s been locker room material in Tuscaloosa for 365 days. That’s all part of it. But all of that will go out the window after these two great teams have played a few series of downs. It will then become a heavyweight fight. Whoever is better prepared and executes better will win the Iron Bowl.+

NOW… which team will do these things BETTER than the other. I don’t know the answer to that but I do know that Alabama looks better on paper. Alabama has the home field advantage. Alabama has the better record. Alabama is a 9.5 favorite. All of this factors in to give the Crimson Tide the edge.+

That being said… THAT BEING SAID… I am an Auburn fan. But I am not just an Auburn fan; I am an ultra-passionate, wide-eyed, emotional, rabid and extremely proud Auburn fan.Therefore…+

I HAVE to think the Tigers will win the ‘Auburn-Alabama’ game. I MUST think that way. I SHALL point every ounce of support, superstition and positivity to the men clad in burnt orange and navy blue.+

Auburn 30, Alabama 27.+

War Eagle!!!+

The College Quickie: Ole Miss(ed), They Showed Me, Ramble On Wrecks, Rushing Man: Part Deux, Goin’ Out West, Gonna Send You Back To Georgia


And Arky saw an opportunity and took full advantage of it. Hugh witnessed his Rebels freeze in the cold and rain of The Natural State. It appears they are toothless without a running attack and no Laquon Treadwell to throw to. Bad Bo did toss two interceptions and his backup one. Mix in three fumbles and a highly motivated Razorback team and you have a recipe for a complete disaster in Fayetteville.+

Ole Miss now finds itself mathematically eliminated from the SEC West race. Arkansas was also officially out of the race several weeks back but they are getting it together in a big way. They have won their last two games, SEC tilts, by a combined score of 47-ZERO. And they didn’t play both of those games with Vanderbilt as the competition either. We’re talking LSU and Mississippi.+



The Missouri Tigers scaled ole Rocky Top and came back down with a victory. It didn’t hurt that the Vols had their leading tackler suspended either. Now the Tigers continue their pursuit of a second straight SEC East crown. I’m certainly not going to bet against them. And do you know who their final regular season opponent will be? That’s right! The Arkansas Razorbacks. The thick plottens!Maty MaukWhat do you think?

So look out in Columbia, MO this weekend folks! We should have ourselves another humdinger. And all the Georgia Bulldoggies (say that in your best Keith Jackson voice) can do is yell Soooooooiiiieeee PIG!!! It matters not one iota what Mark Richt’s charges do versus their instate rivals, Georgia Tech, Saturday. It all comes down to what transpires in Mizzou.+



Guess who will play the Florida State Seminoles for the ACC Championship??? (Hint above in the previous paragraph) That would be the Yellow Jackets from the Georgia Insitute of Technology, better know as Georgia Tech. And it matters not one iota what Paul Johnson’s charges do versus Mark Richt’s gang. Tech is headed to Charlotte for a showdown with the Noles Nation.+

The same goes for Tech as it does for Missouri. I would not wager against the Jackets either. Heck, why not just go all the way with this thing! You heard it first here sports fans…+

Georgia Tech 35, Florida State 3410ACCCGlogoWhat do you think?



So, Melvin Gordon, just when you thought you might have the new, single game, rushing record in your back pocket for a few years… BOOM!!!… Out jumps Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine! The Sooner running back ran over, around and through the Kansas Jayhawks defense for 427 yards. That is 19 yards more than Gordon’s 408 yards from LAST WEEK when Wisconsin dismantled Nebraska.+

What in the pigskin totin’name of tarnation is next??? I don’t think anything would surprise me at this point.+

Hey! Do you think Cameron Artis-Payne might run for 450 yards in Tuscaloosa Saturday Night? Don’t I wish! Just a little Iron Bowl teaser boys and girls. Cue up the Everly Brothers… “Dreeeeeeeeeam, dream dream dream…”+



“Where they appreciate me.” If you got that Tom Waits song reference you just won two tickets to the the Civil War in Corvallis, OR this Saturday night!!! Naaaaaaahhhhh… but the Ducks and Beavers will tee it up out there on this coming rivalry weekend. But beware! This college football season has been one long strange trip.oregonWhat do you think?

It would not be a total surprise if Oregon State silenced the Quack Attack but I’m not going to pick another gargantuan upset here in this one little column… Or will I??? (Insert second Iron Bowl teaser).+

I’m going to stick with Oregon in this one, and I’ll take UCLA to handle Stanford in Pasadena, to set up a PAC-12 Championship Game between the Ducks and the Bruins. No prediction… yet.+



Ok, I’m really getting into the song references now… AND two more “awrights” and you have my best Wooderson. I should charge admission and take this show on the road!+

Like I said… back to Georgia. Trivia time! What Mark Richt coached tailback has gained 100 yards in SIX consecutive games??? Did I hear Todd Gurley? No. Did I hear Knowshon Moreno? NOOOOO. Can I get a Herschel Walker? NO NO NO! That was under Vince Dooley. The answer is… Nick Chubb! The UGA freshman ran for 113 yards Saturday, versus mighty Charleston Southern, to accomplish that feat.+

Now, as mentioned above, the Bulldogs will have to await the outcome of the Missouri and Arkansas game to see if they will spend the night of December 6th in Atlanta or Athens.+

Alas, again no prediction.+



Ok, I’m getting happy with the song AND movie references. No more Iron Bowl teasers. It’s time to tackle the big one. Revenge for Bama or another stunner for the Tigers?+

Gotcha! We’ll get to that tomorrow in a piece on Rivalry Week. Same bat time! Same bat channel!+

“Where the skies are so blue…”+

Auburn: Past, Present and Future


This week in Auburn Football History:+

The first football game ever played on November 19th was versus Georgia in 1932, Auburn 14, Georgia 7. The game was played in Columbus, GA. The Tigers went 9-0-1 that year and were Southern Conference Champions.The next year Auburn would join the newly formed Southeastern Conference.+

In 1960 Auburn trounced the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 57-21. Ed Dyas kicked his 13th field goal of the season which broke his own national season and career records. But, unfortunately, he was tackled into a bench on the sidelines later in the game and sustained facial fractures. Auburn finished 8-2, ranked 13th in the AP poll and 14th in the UPI.+

On 11/19/2005 the Auburn Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide. The final score was 28-18 but did not reflect the dominance the Tigers displayed on that sunny afternoon in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Tide quarterback Brodie Croyle was sacked 11 times prompting bumper stickers urging motorists to “Honk If You Sacked Brodie.”+

The last time Auburn played a game on 11/19 was three years ago in 2011. They overcame a spirited Samford team, 35-16. The Bulldogs were coached by Auburn’s first Heisman trophy winner, Pat Sullivan. That bring’s us back to…+


Auburn (7-3) vs. Samford (7-3). Pat Sullivan remains the head coach at the Baptist school located in Homewood, AL. He heads the list of total wins in a career for a Samford coach with 47. More on Coach Sullivan shortly. First a few, quick notable takes on Samford past.+

In 1841 the institution was founded in Marion, AL as Howard College. It is a private school affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention. It was named in honor of John Howard who was noted for his work in prison reform in England.+

In 1895 women were first admitted to Howard College.+

Bobby Bowden played quarterback at Howard from 1949-1952. Bowden was named offensive coordinator there in 1954 and he went on to become the head coach of the Bulldogs from 1959-1962. Bowden compiled a sterling record of 31-6 during his tenure.+

Bowden’s son, Terry, was the head coach at Samford from 1987-1992. He was also quite successful there. He won 45 games while losing 23. One game ended in a tie. Most of us know what occurred with this Coach Bowden in 1993; he took over as the head coach at Auburn where he put together a 47-17-1 record. His .731 winning percentage remains first in Auburn Football history.+

Current Florida State head coach, Jimbo Fisher, played quarterback for Terry Bowden at Samford in 1987. He was named Division III national player of the year.+

Now back to Pat Sullivan. I have been following Auburn Football very, very closely for the past 54 years. My favorite players, through the years, include Bobby Hunt, Jimmy Sidle, Tucker Frederickson, Terry Beasley, Terry Henley, Phil Gargis, Joe Cribbs, James Brooks, Dameyune Craig, Rudi Johnson and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. Also near the top of that list would be former Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson and Cam Newton. +

I have followed and loved, lived and died with these and a host of other Tiger greats throughout these five plus decades. But the player at the very top of that list of favorites is Patrick Joseph Sullivan.+

Pat Sullivan is the epitome of an Auburn man.+

In his career, 1968-1972, as varsity quarterback on The Plains he led Auburn to regular season records of 8-2, 8-2 and 9-1. These years included 49-26 and 33-28 wins over cross-state rival Alabama. The 49-26 win over the Tide in 1969 is the most points EVER scored on a Bear Bryant coached team.+

In 1968 Sullivan brought the Tiger freshman back from a 27-0 deficit to defeat the Crimson Tide frosh, 36-27.+

In the 33-28 victory over Bama in 1970, Super Sully, as he was fondly known, brought Auburn back after trailing 17-0 in the first half. The game, played at Birmingham’s Legion Field, was the first win that I ever witnessed over the Tide. Coach Bryant said that the only thing Sullivan didn’t do that day was sell hot dogs and take up tickets. He was masterful on that beautiful Saturday afternoon.+

I can still hear Gary Sanders, the voice of the Auburn Tigers during the Sullivan years, on the small, white Philco radio we were glued to on autumn Saturdays… “At quarterback number 7, Pat Sullivan, a 6 foot 190 pound sophomore form John Carroll High School in Birmingham.”+

The biggest victory, to this point, in Pat Sullivan’s life did not occur on the football field.+

In September of 2003 Sullivan was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his jaw and tongue. This resulted from years of smokeless tobacco use. It was grave. He was given less than a 50% chance of survival. It was the toughest battle he ever fought. He was found clear of cancer cells in April of 2004 but the disease took a tremendous toll on Sullivan’s body.+

God bless Pat Sullivan.+

Sullivan will bring his Bulldogs to play Auburn’s Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday in a 6 PM CST kickoff. I shudder at the sound of that Samford mascot nickname after last week’s drubbing ‘between the hedges’ in Athens, GA. Auburn will not be drubbed Saturday. They will win decisively. I will be pulling for Auburn to win. I will also be pulling for Coach Sullivan. It will be an emotional night for him and for those of us who love him dearly.+


What does the future hold for Auburn?+

When this weekend’s clash is said and done their record will stand at 8-3. They will move up from their current position of 14th in the College Football Playoff poll if someone above them loses. The way things are going here in 2014, that should happen.+

Then, on November 29th, they will face the team ranked number one in that poll. The Tigers will face off with the Alabama Crimson Tide, in Bryant-Denny Stadium, that evening at 6:45 PM CST. If Auburn were to upset Bama they would vault in the polls and in the minds of college football fans everywhere.+

A win in these next two games would make the Tigers 9-3. That would then conclude a very good regular season and a spot in a prestigious bowl game. That would be a great building block toward 2015 and beyond.+

We shall see. +

The College Quickie: Wisky River, Southbound, BOOM!!!, Dabo(ned), Charmed, Fearsome Foursome

I’m drowning in a Wisky River.” Bo Pelini and thousands of Nebraska fans could have been crooning that altered version of Willie’s classic show starter yesterday. Wow! After taking an early 17-3 lead, the Huskers were boat raced by Melvin Gordon and the Badgers. Gordon set a new major-college record for yards rushing in a single game. His 408 yards eclipsed the old mark of 406 which was set by LaDanian Tomlinson of TCU in 1999. What made the feat even more astounding was that it was done in only 25 carries. That is 16.32 yards per carry! And… AND… Gordon did not have one single carry in the fourth quarter. BOOM!!!StaveWhat do you think?

Now Wisconsin finds itself firmly in control of the Big Ten West race. Their win, coupled with Minnesota’s 31-24 loss to Ohio State, landed the Badgers in the top spot. It now appears that those two teams could meet in the conference’s championship game. Wisky has games at Iowa and in Camp Randall against Minnesota. The Buckeyes last two games, Indiana and Michigan, will be played within the friendly confines of The Horseshoe.+


We’ll continue the song theme here with the Dickey Betts penned tune. “Well I’m southbound mama…” And to what teams does that Allman Brothers favorite apply to? The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and, gulp, my Auburn Tigers. In case you missed it here’s what happened.+

The (not so good at) Fighting Irish dropped their third game of the 2014 season to Northwestern, that’s right NORTHWESTERN. In overtime to the Mildcats. OUCH!!! It doesn’t get any easier for the Golden Domers next week, either, as they take on Louisville in South Bend.+

*SIGH* And Auburn, “Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain…where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey…” *SIGH* I so would that it were true Mr. Oliver Goldsmith. We have been de-clawed and de-fanged. The first egg of the Gus Malzahn era has been laid. We didn’t block. We didn’t tackle. A hope crushing 34-7 loss, to the Georgia Bulldogs, would be the result of that lack of football basics.+

Speaking of basics. Auburn has not had a good defense since Tommy Tuberville’s regime. And who was the defensive coordinator back then?+

BOOM!!!hi-res-183573807-head-coach-will-muschamp-of-the-florida-gators-watches_crop_exactWhat do you think?

Coach Boom that is. AKA Will Muschamp. Muschamp was given his walking papers Sunday by Florida AD Jeremy Foley. Everybody likes Will and I know Foley hated to do it, but we all saw it coming. The South Carolina Gamecocks, and former Gator Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in The Swamp Saturday and summarily ended Coach Boom’s tenure in Gainesville.+

A Birmingham News scribe, Kevin Scarbinsky, wrote that Auburn should call Muschamp immediately and hand him a blank check. There are many fans of the Auburn Tigers that would LOVE to see that happen. I’m sure there are many teams that would love to have the intense coach handling their defense. It will be very interesting to see where this turn of events takes us.+

More later huh?+


Clemson did it again. They pulled a “Clemson”. The ACC’s Tigers were wrecked by Georgia Tech, 28-6. This loss also gave Florida State the Atlantic Division title. Coach Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets soundly trounced the Tigers at venerable Grant Field in Atlanta. First downs had Tech with 16 Clemson with 10. The Jackets 352 total yards to Clemmy’s 190 and Tech totaled 155 return yards to the visitor’s 6. And, sadly, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson left the game in the first quarter due to a knee injury. He did not return to action.+


We’ll keep in the ACC for a bit. We were just speaking of Florida State. Are these guys charmed? Holy cow! How long are the Noles gonna keep dancing in the rain without getting hit by a single drop of precipitation? Has Jimbo made a deal with the devil?+

They did it, YET AGAIN, Saturday with another comeback win. They trailed 16-0 in the first quarter. They trailed 23-10 at the half. Dalvin Cook ran for a 26-yard touchdown with 3:05 remaining to lift the Seminoles to a 30-26 victory at Miami.+

The win will, most assuredly, land the lads from Tallahassee in the number one spot when Tuesday’s College Football Playoff Poll is released.+

And that brings us to the…+

playoffWhat do you think?

What will the playoff’s quartet of one through four look like this round? I’ll take a stab at it.+

1. Florida State+

2. Alabama+

3. Oregon+

4. Mississippi State+

I suppose TCU could remain in the first four but I’ve got to think it will be the Bulldogs. They out-first downed, out-rushed and out-passed Bama. But they didn’t out-score the Tide. The opportunistic Elephants had ZERO turnovers and State had THREE. They all came on interceptions.+

Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs were on the verge of being upset by the lowly Kansas Jayhawks. TCU had to overcome a ten point deficit, in the third quarter, to best the Jayhawks, 34-30. Not impressive. But the committee will consider the body of work of both squads. It will be interesting to see how this week’s top twenty-five shakes down.+

So… thus ends week twelve in the ever-changing landscape of college football. It has been a doozy of a season to this point. I expect nothing to change. The madness is sure to continue.+

Auburn: Georgia On My Mind

Georgia On My Mind.

It’s hard to choose a favorite version of that song, but I have boiled it down to two artists… Brother Ray Charles and Willie. Great song, great artists.+

I now live in Georgia. I’ve been here since July of 1996. I’ve enjoyed living here very much and I’m proud to, now, be called a Georgian.+

Dennis Quaid’s Doc Holliday was conversing with Wyatt Earp, in Kevin Costner’s movie adaptation of Earp’s life, and spoke of hailing from Georgia. In that conversation he told Earp, “Georgia is a very green state Wyatt Earp.” It is. It is a beautiful state. Quaid’s performance of Doc in Kevin Costner’s Wyatt Earp is often, wrongly, overlooked. It’s been obscured by Val Kilmer’s brilliant, and oft quoted, take on Holliday in Tombstone.+

Doc was from Griffin, GA. He was a dentist and, unfortunately, he was felled with tuberculosis at the early age of thirty-five. He spent the last portion of his life in Colorado and is buried in Glenwood Springs. I worked in Glenwood Springs for a few days back in 2005. I went to the Doc Holliday Saloon. I was told you had to walk about a mile to get to Doc’s grave and I chose not to make that trek. Stupid, when I recall that time, as I walk three or four miles a day anyway. Oh well.+

But I digress…+

The point is I sometimes think of Doc Holliday when I think of the state of Georgia. And I never fail to smile when I think of Doc. I’m sure our romanticized notions of him are greatly skewed by Hollywood. That’s ok. They bring us joy and we love to quote him. “I’m your huckleberry.” “Why Ike, whatever do you mean? I don’t know if I could stand it if you weren’t my friend.” And another of my favorites quotes from Doc in Tombstone, “I have not yet begun to defile myself.”+

Even now I find myself laughing out loud at the quotes from Tombstone. Yes, I could have used a social media term for that phrase but I’m growing weary of those trite acronyms.+

So yes, Georgia, and many things Georgian, are on my mind. They always are this time of year.+

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, first played in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park in 1892, is upon us. There is a plaque, in that beautiful oasis in Atlanta’s Midtown, which commemorates the hallowed ground on which that skirmish took place. There should be. It IS a sacred space. We take our football VERY seriously down here.+

College football has been referred to as a religion in these parts. I have no problem with that. It is very much a religion. We have our rites. We sing our songs. We have our saints. We revere our respective schools. And we often find ourselves praying like hell on the sabbath. Yes, Saturday is the TRUE sabbath day.+

I was born into this “religion”. My daddy graduated from Auburn. He met my mama there. They were married on a Sunday because mama wanted to attend Auburn First Baptist Church on her wedding day.+

I attended Auburn in late 1970, early 1971 and early 1973. I found myself asked to move on from the Loveliest Village and seek higher education elsewhere… TWICE. Auburn did not like my study habits.+

My son also attended Auburn. His name is Auburn Luke LeCroy. If I had had a son at earlier junctures of my life, he could have been named Patrick Terry ( Sullivan to Beasley) or Phil Gargis. Gargis still holds the record for career rushing yards by a quarterback at Auburn. Nick Marshall will have something to say about that before the 2014 campaign is completed.+

We have had various pets given names like Bo, Daisy Dye and Frank Thomas. We’ve never had a “Round Mound of Rebound” residing in our home, but it’s never too late if I keep eating like I do on football weekends.+

I have been called a lot of names in my life, more on “Bird” some other time, but one moniker that I am extremely proud of, and humbled by, is that of an Auburn Man.+

A quick story about being an Auburn Man. One afternoon, many years ago, I checked into the Omni Hotel at CNN Center. My bellman hovered nearby as I checked-in. When I opened my wallet to scrounge for a tip, I found that I had no cash. I told the bellman that I would be back later with his tip. I found an ATM, got some cash and then found the bellman not far from where I left him. I gave him his gratuity. Another hotel guest, standing nearby, had witnessed the whole thing. He approached me and said, “I knew you would be back and give that man his tip. You have on an Auburn shirt.”+

I tell that story not to brag or pat myself on the back. Also I’m not saying that those from other institutions of higher learning don’t possess the good qualities that we Auburn people see and expect from each other. But I am saying Auburn, and the Auburn Family, is very, very special. To quote the last line of the Auburn Creed, “I believe in Auburn and love it.”+

I have always thought of Auburn and Georgia as sister schools. Their people possess many of the same qualities. There is a shared history between the two schools. Just to give you one small example of this, Pat Dye played at Georgia and coached at Auburn. Vince Dooley played at Auburn and coached at Georgia.+

I won’t go into ALL of the similarities these two great institutions share but they are plenteous. “Google” them up if you are not familiar with these shared peoples and traits.+

This Saturday evening, on ESPN, Auburn and Georgia will renew the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry for the 118th time. The game will be played “between the hedges” in Athens. Auburn leads the series 55-54. There have been 8 games that ended in a tie.+

Who will win this round of the storied series? I have NO idea. I am thinking of getting out of the prediction game altogether. This has been one of the absolute WILDEST college football seasons EVER.+

This will also be the first game I have not attended this crazy season. I will be glued to the HDTV and screaming WAR EAGLE, at the top of my lungs, early and often. I will be clad in burnt orange and navy blue. There will also be thousands of other Auburn fans doing exactly same here in the great state of Georgia.+

There will also be countless thousands of others in the Peach State sporting the red and black with great pride and enthusiasm. They will be screaming GO DAWGS and barking like crazy.+

May the best team win!!! (I just hope it’s Auburn).

Auburn vs. Texas A&M: remembering 2013

Houston, TX, Friday October 18th, 2013, 5 PM. My wife, Melodye, and I are sitting in our little white Toyota Yaris on the parking lot that is I-10. We are hoping to get to our hotel, on the west side of the sprawling megalopolis, at some point that evening. Why does it seem like we ALWAYS hit the largest cities at rush hour? Oh well…

Tomorrow our 5-1, 24th ranked Auburn Tigers will go to war with the 7th ranked Texas A&M Aggies. If I said we overly excited and charged with eager anticipation it would be an understatement.+

The year before I had spent two weeks working in Houston as an inspector for AAA. That second week I had camped out at a Fairfield Inn By Marriott that we were attempting to reach on this pleasant Friday afternoon. I knew the lay of the land well and just wanted to get there.+


We FINALLY reach our destination well after six o’clock and were chomping at the bit to unpack and walk to a popular Mexican eatery I had come to enjoy back in 2012. But the bottom fell out and we had to drive the very short distance. The place was packed. The food was quite good. The drinks were cold and they helped to temper our mood which was now building to a fever pitch.+

When we got in our car the prior day, late Thursday after Mel arrived home from teaching school, I turned to her and said, “We are going to Texas for ONE reason and that is TO WIN THIS FOOTBALL GAME!!!” We then, in unison, went into a big WAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRR EAGLE!!! HEY!!! And off we headed to Mobile, AL to spend that night.+

It is now Saturday morning. We woof down some bacon, eggs and biscuits and we bound off to the Yaris for the hour plus trip to College Station. We arrive several hours before the 2:30 PM kickoff. The game is to be televised by CBS with Verne Lundquist doing the play by play and Gary Danielson taking care of the color duties.+

We park in the back yard of some student’s house just off George Bush Drive. Now it’s time to explore the Aggieland campus. It is a lovely place and HUGE. The enrollment is somewhere north of 50,000. You can smell the oil money.+

The massive end zone facade of Kyle Field rises before us, jutting regal into the pale blue lone star sky. We begin our walk and we glide with our feet, seemingly, off the ground. I get a lump in my throat, as I always do when I arrive as a first time visitor on the opposition’s ground. +

Wipe your eyes and take a deep breath Bird. It’s on!!!+

Now let me say this… we have been to EVERY campus in the SEC, except Missouri, and most of them multiple times. But we have NEVER been treated so warmly as we were in College Station. Great folks! We will make every effort to return there in 2015.+

So, after a few beverages and some great conversations we make our way to the stadium for the Tiger Walk. It turns out that the Tigers actually won’t be allowed to walk. The buses will drive through the throngs of people and pull into a fenced-in area beside Kyle Field and they will disembark there.+

Ok, the Auburn cheerleaders lead us in a few ‘War Eagles’ ‘Bodda Gettas’ and ‘Two Bits’. The band plays. And then we hear some sirens and spot the buses headed our way. There are a great many of the Auburn faithful here and they scream, shout and wave their shakers vigorously.+

We are very near the front of the crowd lining the street. Now the first bus moves toward us and we can see inside. There on the front seat, beside the driver and sitting by himself, is head coach Gus Malzahn. BOOM!!!+

The caravan rolls in and disappears from sight. The electricity is palpable now. Two hours until kickoff. Let’s grab a couple of bracers and find our way to the heights of the upper deck in the north end zone.+

We make our way through gate 11 and up to section 505, row 30, seats 1 and 2. End seats, just like our permanent spot in Jordan-Hare, thank you baby Jesus!+

Inhale… exhale… inhale… exhale. Now compose yourself and focus Bird.+

Wait, I can hear the starting lineups being broadcast over the PA system. The announcer is doing the A&M offensive first eleven. “At quarterback number 2, Johnny Manziel.” GULP!!! Chill bumps. GULP again.+

Well sports fans, you know what happens from here. High drama deep in the heart of Texas! The game goes back and forth and back and forth. How on earth did Johnny Football make that throw to Mike Evans? Did Sammie Coates just toss that defender like it was nothing? Can we at least slow them down? What a catch by Marcus Davis!!! Tre Mason! They reviewed it! He scored!!! Oh crap! There’s still well over a minute left. That’s an eternity for the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner to march the Aggies down the field. He did.+

BUT… Kris Frost runs Manziel down over on the left sideline. Oh mercy It’s 4th down! Manziel is back to pass… wait wait wait… he’s being chased by Dee Ford like a heat seeking missile… HE’S SACKED!!! +

Auburn wins!!! Auburn wins!!! Auburn wins!!!+

Auburn 45, Texas A&M 41+

The Tigers rush the field! They are leaping and hugging and crying tears of joy!!+

I sprint up and down the steep steps and bear hug my bride and our tears of joy flow as well!!!+

The band plays War Eagle over and over!!!+

I think this Gus Bus thing IS FOR REAL!!!+

We’re back!!!