Undercover Barner: Morale victory

Tre Mason is a man. - Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

In this week's Undercover Barner, we coin a new phrase in the everlasting war against calling losses "moral victories."

Look, I know what you’re thinking.

Uh, dude. You can’t spell moral. Stupid Barner.

While there is indeed an extensive list of words I cannot spell, "moral" isn’t one of them. Somewhere between LSU going up 21-0 and Auburn actually being competitive in the fourth quarter, what might have been described as a moral victory* got an extra "e."

Where did the "e" come from, exactly? I really can’t tell you. Maybe it was the heart Auburn’s defense showed late in the game. Maybe it was the absence of the sick feeling that usually accompanies an Auburn loss.  Maybe it was Memphis**. Or maybe it was how Gus described his team after the game:

"Our team is not going to quit. They play together; they like playing together. They have bright eyes."

I fell in love with him and this team right then and there.

But a morale victory isn’t a thing!

Well if we’re getting technical, there’s no such thing as a moral victory, and that term gets tossed around a whole lot. I guess what I’m saying is that if Auburn had to lose***, at least the Tigers went down swinging.

Call me a homer (because I am), but there was actually a point when Auburn was driving in the fourth quarter, down 14, when I thought it was possible (not probable, but possible) that it could steal one from the Bayou Bengals. We all know the ending: an interception killed that drive, and time just ran out on our Tigers. But I’ll be damned if it didn’t feel good to feel hopeful again.

So I guess that’s where the "e" came from. It came from hope, which, to say the least, has been in short supply in recent years.

Which brings me to my inevitable Mama Bear defensive speech: If you’re going to make fun of us for being happy with success, particularly if you’re clad in crimson, I will kindly refer you to 1997-2007.****

The thing that some people don’t understand about us is that we love Auburn more than we hate Alabama. So while they have an impressive dynasty here in Titletown, I am more excited to cheer for my Tigers’ baby steps than I am disgusted by Alabama’s success. Things don't get better overnight. It's a -- dare I say it -- process ©. After 3-9, I’m so freaking happy they’re trying again. They’re playing for each other. They’re playing for Auburn. And I couldn’t ask for anything more, seven hundred thousand national championships notwithstanding, Pawwwl.

So now we’re road-tested, a little worse for the wear, but still kicking. That’s what I like to see, especially heading into a bye week followed directly by a home game. Auburn has played flat after byes in recent years, but we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it, because this one couldn’t have come at a better time. Our guys are banged up, and the extra week may be the difference in injured players returning to 100 percent or limping through the meat of the schedule.

What are we supposed to do with ourselves without the Cardiac Kids this weekend?

Well I don’t know about you, but if all goes according to plan, I will find myself in the middle of the enemy foxhole. No, not the Northport WalMart, the University of Alabama student section, located in the south end zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Why would you do that to yourself?

For you, dear readers; to bring you the best coverage I can from enemy territory. I have a ticket and a navy dress, they’re playing Ole Miss, and my phone is capable of taking pictures.

Actually, that’s mostly hyperbole. I’m really doing it because I haven’t been to a game since undergrad and the law school kids are good people, despite any complaints to the contrary. If there’s a Bammer problem, it’s not at the law school*****. But I am still totally going to take pictures of randos doing funny things and looking rough.

What do you plan to do with the bye week? Any fall weddings to attend? Gonna catch a movie? Write some haikus about nature?

However you decide to spend your leisure time, rest up this week, Tiger fans. The rest of the season is going to be a hell of a ride.

Until next time — War Eagle.

* You know, because we scored.

** Pam Tillis? Anyone? Maybe it was Cajun summer nights. Maybe LSU, maybe Therezie, but it sure felt right. Okay, I promise never to do that again.

***After shooting ourselves in the foot (and being manhandled) during the first half, we just couldn’t get out of the hole. So yeah, I think we had to lose that one.

****Yes, I recycle my jokes from Twitter. My creativity only extends so far.

*****For the most part.

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