After Alabama's exciting come-from-behind victory on Saturday (thrilling? I don't know what emotion it is because I did not feel that emotion), I was asked by two (2) unbiased members of the media something along the lines of: "Does the way Alabama came back and won affect how you feel about Auburn's win?"
Auburn won a game on Saturday. It's happened twice this season. Regardless of how inferior the opponent was, it was a lot of fun to remember what winning felt like. It was cool to see, for at least 30 minutes, the offense run functionally. And Daren Bates' stiff arm (and underrated spin move) was the most exciting thing that's happened in a miserable season.
I watched the Alabama game with an old friend that roots for Alabama. And to see the sheer joy and elation she experienced when Alabama scored the game winning touchdown? That was a lot of fun, too. Because the Alabama game was interesting, and that hasn't happened in a long, long time. Further, I have conceded that Alabama will never lose another football game. Ever. So why would I be affected by an Alabama victory that I expected? Why would I care if a team that I don't root for beat another team I don't root for when I expected it to happen?
Would I have laughed a little at a Tide loss? Probably. But I don't think there's any level of satisfaction I get from seeing a national title contender lose one game when the team I root for, my alma mater, has won just two all season. Maybe those emotions come into play when the two teams are competing for a division title, but they aren't. If an Alabama victory has ever affected the way I felt about my own victory, it was about Auburn's ability to compete for a championship, not about any disdain I have for a rival.
And I'm certainly no "what's best for the state" guy. It just really doesn't matter, does it?
Likewise, nothing that happened in Auburn's victory really mattered. Except that I remembered what it was like to have fun on a fall Saturday.
Had Auburn not made the strides they did in the second half, I'm not sure Gene Chizik would have seen his office on Sunday morning. But they did. And there's just one chance left this season for Auburn to fall short of expectations. So that situation isn't going to change. It likely won't change until December.
The rumors are getting hot, right? You're aware of them. You know the "names" on the big board. You've read the message board threads, heard the talk radio. You've fancied "package deals" and NFL guys. I really don't need to regurgitate.
I'll say this: Auburn will not botch this hire. Assuming this hire is made, it can not afford to botch the hire. It botched the last hire. We all hated the hire at the time. And maybe enough time and enough national championships have happened since that we forget that initial feeling, but no one was happy. But on day one, Gene Chizik hired all of the right people, said all of the right things and represented himself in a way that quickly made us forget. Then he won a national championship. And for all of those things, regardless of this outcome, I will eternally respect and appreciate what he has given Auburn University.
But the hire itself was botched. And it can't, and won't, happen again.
I'm not sure where we will find ourselves as Alabama arrives at the Georgia Dome on December 1. But if change is made at any or all levels, I assure that it will be done with no financial ceiling. At this point, most agree there will be four jobs open in the SEC. And Auburn is one of the two best. Will that also make it one of the two best vacancies in the country? Well, it's the best conference in the country, right?
Someone somewhere with some amount of power will make sure this is done right. For now, it's all we can believe. And we hate Georgia. Georgia's going to beat Auburn by a lot of points in the football game on Saturday. Lots and lots of points. So we may as well enjoy a week of hating Georgia before the inevitable.
Mark Richt has lost control of my hatred.