In 2011, Auburn football had a more rewarding season than the LSU Tigers or Alabama Crimson Tahd (sic). Even if LSU has a 13-1 record and Honey Badger highlights to last a lifetime and UAT has championship number schwifty-five (sic); Auburn's 2011 will still be more rewarding. LSU and UAT were expected to be in the Top 5 all year. Auburn was supposed to regress to the Barfield era.
In the August periodicals, Auburn was predicted to finish fifth in the SEC West. We find our varsity boys have exceeded those expectations. Many media-types and Bammers said Auburn would not reach bowl season. Our favorite team has proven those doubters wrong. We made it to a bowl with a great payout, a short drive for most of the Auburn family and coupons for free Chick-fil-a (which expire February 29th). Should we accept the 8-5 (4-4 conference, 1-4 road) record as what happens with youth? Should we simply accept this is what happens to Auburn when All-Everything Offensive and Defensive game-changers move on to the NFL?
I say no. We should always want more. We should hope and want every season to end with a championship. State, division, conference and BCS. Not in the always hopeful, "well, if we win the rest of our games" way - but in a legitimate, culture of excellence way.
Auburn is great. Auburn should strive for championships. Our coaching staff has only grown stronger since the bowl. We have more former coaches as head coaches in Division I than at any time I can recall (Chizik, Sullivan at Samford, Bowden at Akron, Tuberville at Texas Tech, Fisher at Florida State, Muschamp at Florida, Rhoads at Iowa State, Petrino at Arkansas, Malzahn at Arkansas State and the list probably goes on).
We are a place where talent grows both in coaches and players, see: Jason Campbell becomes first round pick. So, our underclassmen will only get better. Auburn will rebound. Auburn will get back to double-digit win totals. The 2012 Signing Class may not be glamorous or rank in the Top 5, but it's an Auburn class. We filled our needs. If every NFL team used every draft to pick up a top flight QB and skill position players, the fans would decry a fantasy football owner (ahem, Washington Redskins).
Auburn's coaches know our class is the class we needed - they wouldn't have recruited those young men if it was not the case. For those who obsess over the run-up to signing day, shame on you. Leave the thrill of seeing an al.com article from Jon Solomon about an 18-year-old kid picking your school to the Updyke ilk - it strikes me as very "Sandusky" (sitting on the back porch watching the neighbors' children, not the actual crimes he "allegedly" committed). We are better than "they"; so let's enjoy National Signing Day and celebrate who the coaching staff reeled in, not the ones who got away.
I like Auburn at 8-5 just as much as I like them at 14-0. We should all feel this way about all things Auburn.
You may think I am crazy for liking Auburn at 8-5. I promise, I am not. So, what do I mean for my continued membership in the Auburn family in 2012 and beyond? I will explain after the jump.
To me, it is in our poetry, our calls to arm.
First and foremost, the Auburn Creed.
Not one of the other 13 members of the SEC have a Creed such as ours. Dr. George Petrie reminded us in 1945 why we are special. Why Auburn is above and beyond. Auburn is set apart with a purpose to make the world a better place in all things, not just athletics.Our education and extension are award-winning. We should be the benchmark for all Universities.
THE AUBURN CREED
I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.
I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.
I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.
I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.
I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.
I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.
I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God."
And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.
- George Petrie
Truer words never spoken. I am now brought to what David Housel said in 1980.
What is Auburn?
Far be it from me to try to answer that question. There are as many definitions of Auburn as there are Auburn men and women.
It would be safe to say, however, that Auburn is much more than a football game. It is much more than winning and losing.
It is a spirit. It is an attitude. It is a way of looking at life and at one another. It is, almost, a way of living. Unless you have experienced it, you will never know what it is; you will never understand it. Once you have experienced it, you will never be the same. A part of you will, forevermore, be an Auburn man or an Auburn woman.
- David Housel
You know what you have come from. We know who we are.
Let us take up our Auburn mantle and carry it throughout the land, from the pools of the NCAA Championship Meet, the Fields in Omaha, to the arenas where we play our Conference Tournament round-ball. We should be All In and All Auburn for our All Everything University, not just the football I talked about, not just the coaches I talked about, not just the superstars.
When the Pep Band strikes up or the Auburn University Marching Band, even with its Bama grad director, hits a downbeat - we need to sing, we need to dance. We need to be the energy and have the excitement ready for the students, the student sections, coaches, student-athletes, professors and administrators to feel at all times. We need to be ALL IN for everything Auburn. All. The. Time.
Your wanting of championships shall not go unfulfilled, you will be rewarded even in defeat because Auburn men and women everywhere share more than a scoreboard. We share a family.
Thank you for the generosity of your time.