The hammer was supposed to fall. When it was all said and done, 2010 in college football would go down as the second year in CFB history that didn't produce a national champion. Auburn would not be able to hide the truth that they paid Cecil Newton to bring Cam Newton to Auburn. The Heisman Trophy would be vacated, and the most beloved player in Auburn history would suddenly become public enemy #1 on the Plains.
This was what was supposed to happen, if you ask ESPN, FOX, HBO or any other major sports media outlet. From ESPN to Finebaum, the media was sure Auburn would get hammered. Ask an Alabama fan his/her thoughts, and 7 out of 10 times, they would say "Cam got paid."
The average college football fan saw "Auburn", "Cam Newton" and "Pay-for-pay" in the same story and made assumptions. You know the old joke about assuming, though.
In the end, however, Auburn was vindicated, sending droves of Auburn fans out on the streets yelling, "I told you so!" to any person in sight. And they're right to do it. I said it for a long time. Auburn fans said it for a long time. Auburn didn't cheat. The NCAA confirmed this on Wednesday, October 12, when they released a statement proclaiming that the 13-month investigation into Auburn's football program had ended with no major violations found.
Cam Newton's name will forever be associated with Auburn football. It will never be vacated or forgotten. In 50 years, the record books will still say "Auburn 22, Oregon 19." The investigation/scandal is over. Done. Like Tuesday, it's gone with the wind (Yes, a Lynyrd Skynyrd reference).
Cries of "$cam Newton" will come only from the pathetic losers who can't face reality and are simply delusional. (Wait, I thought it was Auburn fans that were delusional for thinking Auburn was clean? What happened to that arrogant judgement?)
How fitting it is that the first Auburn game post-NCAA-investigation will be against another team that once had Cam Newton on their roster. The Florida Gators visit Jordan-Hare in a battle of 4-2 SEC squads.
Auburn and Florida are two of the most mysterious teams in the SEC. Both are 4-2, both have looked pretty average this year, but both teams have their losses coming to top 10 teams (LSU and Alabama beat Florida while Clemson and Arkansas beat Auburn).
Will Muschamp's Gator team started 4-0, outscoring opponents 161-36. In their last two games against #3 Alabama and #1 LSU, however, the Gators have been whipped by a combined score of 79-21. The woes don't end there for the Gators, as starting QB John Brantley was injured against Alabama. He will not play against Auburn Saturday night.
Florida has a lot of speed, headlined by Chris Rainey (you know... the "Time to Die" guy...). Florida will be playing a true freshman QB in Jacoby Brissett, however, and the offensive line for the Gators isn't very strong.
Auburn's defense, which started the year poorly, has shown vast improvement in recent weeks, holding two of three opponents to 14 points or fewer. Arkansas scored 38, but stats can be deceiving. Outside of a 92-yard run by WR Joe Adams, Auburn's run defense was stiff. The Tiger defense was fast and, despite what the stats would say, really didn't play that poorly in Fayetteville. If Florida fans expect to be able to roll over Auburn's defense with ease based off looking at some stats, they might be misled.
Florida's defense began the season as a dominant unit, but in recent weeks they've been torched by LSU and Alabama. They might have a better game against Auburn's offense seeing as Barrett Trotter is very inconsistent. However, with the Gators being beaten up defensively as well, a good dose of Mike Dyer should wear out the Gator defense. Auburn's rushing game has been much better against SEC foes this year than against nonconference opponents. In nonconference games, Auburn runs for 149.6 yards per game. In SEC games? 257.3 yards per game, including a season-high 291 yards at Arkansas.
Prediction: Auburn 24, Florida 16
Trotter continues to struggle with consistent, but he will be more of a manager than a leader against Florida. I expect Auburn's defense to perform very well Saturday night. That and steady rushing dose of Dyer, Onterio McCalebb and Kiehl Frazier should be enough for Chizik's team to grab victory #5 on a week where Auburn fans have already been celebrating. Two big wins in one week? Auburn will take it!