Auburn had much better season than expected

JR Tidwell Sports Editor

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>I watched the television in my room with mixed

emotions throughout the 2010 BCS National Championship Game. I have

been an Auburn fan ever since I knew what football was, and being a

native of Alabama that means from an early age.

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>My dad, uncle, and grandfather all rooted for

Auburn, so naturally my brother and I picked this up and started

cheering alongside them, through good times and bad. My brother and

I talk about each game as it happens and well after the final tick

runs off the clock.

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>He even went so far as to repeatedly ask me to

drive to Tuscaloosa (yes, that is where he lives, go figure) to

watch the game with him. If you recall what the Sunday and Monday

of that week were like, you would recall that he would have asked

me to drive two and a half hours through snow and possibly ice to

get there. That is how important this game was to him.

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>At the beginning of the 2010 season I had no

idea how well the Tigers would do. I had heard of quarterback Cam

Newton but I did not really know anything about him, other than his

five-star rating on the 2010 list. I also did not

remember the name of the recent junior college transfer Nick

Fairley, even though he was on Auburn’s team for a year prior to

this past season.

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>I had high hopes but moderate expectations of

the Tigers and second-year head coach Gene Chizik. In 2009 the

Tigers went 8-5, which is a respectable record for an SEC team,

especially for an SEC West team. What was unacceptable, however,

was losing to Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama. The 2009 Arkansas loss

did not bother me that much, as they were a good team, nor did the

LSU loss. Losing to Georgia and Kentucky is always unacceptable to

me, and losing to Alabama after having a 21-point lead is also not


<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>I figured that freshman running back Michael

Dyer and Newton would be good players, but if you would have told

me at the start of the 2010 season that Auburn would go undefeated

and win the SEC and the National Championship, I would have laughed

in your face. The 2010 performance by the Tigers made a believer

out of me.

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>So on Jan. 10, 2011, I sat on my twin-xl-sized

bed in Rivers Hall for the duration of the game, mostly while

sitting cross-legged and rocking back and forth. I was fairly

confident that Auburn had a great shot at winning, especially

against a team from the mid-range at best PAC-10 Conference. All I

heard up to the start of the game was how quick the Ducks were. The

people who said that Oregon’s speed would beat Auburn failed to

take into account how fast EVERY SEC team is (except for

Vanderbilt, of course).

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>Oregon’s players were fast but undersized, and

the Tigers beat them at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the

ball. I knew that would be the key to Auburn winning the game, and

the Tigers proved me correct. Granted, I waited until after Wes

Byrum kicked the game-winning field goal to celebrate.

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>So Auburn won its seventh SEC Championship and

its second National Championship in an undefeated season. Newton

also became Auburn University’s third Heisman Trophy winner, and

the first Tiger to win since Bo Jackson in 1985. The team won with

the help of Newton, Dyer, Fairley and Onterio McCalebb–four

players that were signed by Chizik as the head coach, so no one can

claim he won with someone else’s recruits.

<span style=

“font-size: 14pt;”>Yes, the team did endure some hardships along

the way, most notably Newton’s possible ineligibility because of

his father’s actions. Newton was declared eligible to play by the

NCAA after only a one-day suspension, and the Tigers went on to

weather the storm known as an SEC West schedule to take home the

Coach’s Trophy. It certainly is great to be an Auburn


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