This upcoming football season will mark an historic time for Auburn fans. Not since 2003 have the Auburn faithful had so much to look forward to.
In the months preceding the debacle that was 2003 Auburn had players named to trophy watch lists, the same is true of this year. In '03 Dontarrious Thomas and Karlos Dansby were on the cover of ESPN magazine, this year Mario Fannin is on the cover of Phil Steele's preseason magazine.
Not many more comparisons can be made except for maybe the fan's expectations. In the preseason of 2003 Auburn was ranked 6th in the nation. In 2010 they will likely not be ranked at all to start the season. In 2003 there was talk of possibly playing for a national championship. Not this year!
So, how do these two seasons even belong in the same article? Hope. Plain and simple, hope.
There is enough of emotionally charged hype in the air to fill a political campaign. Auburn's fans have seen enough of the Gus Malzahn offense to wet their collective lips, and now it's time to see the whole concoction. It's not just Koolaide they are drinking. The wet and satisfying drink they are tasting, if only imaginary, is made of championships.
Coach Malzahn has only encountered once in his career this much talent on the offensive side of the ball. History tells us that Coach Malzahn and then Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt didn't agree totally on the game play calling so Nutt took over that duty during the latter part of the season. Coach Chizik is not so foolish as to reign in the most brilliant offensive mind in college football.
In 2003 Auburn started the season with two very good opponents, USC was ranked 8th nationally, and Georgia Tech was not expected to be very good, but they were that day against Auburn. In the end Auburn started the 2003 season 0 for 2 and only scoring 3 points in it's first two contests. Ugh!
Without any doubt the bubble could burst early in the season if Auburn is not fully prepared. All hope would be lost with two losses that early in the season, as was the case in 2003.
This time however Auburn has history on it's side. Auburn's head football coach has grasped the truly rich tradition of Auburn football. Invited that tradition back into the fold,, and welcomed it with open arms. Every player has been fully introduced to that history. This team will surely be reminded of the few mistakes made in 2003, and have demanded of them not to repeat them.
College footballs teams across the country all have hope in the days leading up to the reality of the start of their season. This Auburn team has the intangibles that make a quality team. The fan base almost unanimously enjoys the under dog role, that is being put on their team from the Loveliest Village. Hope is alive and well on the Plains!