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Is Lowder Retirement Good or Bad for Auburn?

Pick up a newspaper or fire up the internet this week and you'll be hard pressed to tell that it's still three months until college football kicks off. There's been a flurry of news the past few days and some of the stories have big ramifications on the game we love.  The biggest news for Auburn fans came yesterday afternoon when Colonial Bank announced that Auburn super booster Bobby Lowder was retiring from the institution as chairman and CEO.

Before you pop the champagne corks and fire the shotgun in the front yard, stop for a minute and ponder whether this is a good thing. On the one hand, Lowder's power in and around the state will take a hit. When you no longer have a bank behind your name, your clout diminishes in a lot of ways.

Then again, despite the economic downturn, Lowder is still a very wealthy man, with lots of friends. He's also going to have a lot of free time on his hands. How he decides to spend that time will go a long way in determining the direction of the Auburn Athletic Department. Lowder's term on the Board of Trustees expires in April of 2011 - plenty of time to continue putting his stamp on Auburn Athletics for better or worse.

With the SEC Coaches Meeting in Destin, Florida getting most of the attention this week, there's been surprisingly little written about the changes in the USA Today's Top 25 Coaches Poll. Conveniently, the NCAA has agreed to make the final poll of the season private. College coaches will no longer be required to share their vote with the public.

You'll remember that until 2005, all coaches' votes were private. That changed when Texas made a late season jump over California to grab a Rose Bowl birth. Now the NCAA is using the Gallup Corporation as a tool for opting out of the agreement. It's ironic that the coach from the conference's top academic institution bought into it, hook line and sinker.

Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson said, "AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) hired the Gallup Poll people to review our procedures. They reviewed them and made the suggestions. To me, they're the foremost authority on taking polls. They've been doing it for I don't know how many years. It just made sense to go with the experts. The goal is to do the very best job you can on the poll, and that's why I voted for it."

I knew Johnson was a little different from most coaches, but I never realized he was this gullable. Or is he? South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier is one of the few coaches to speak out in favor of keeping the final poll public. "I thought that we would stay public on that last vote," said Spurrier. "I sort of think we ought to stay public, you know. It keeps everybody pretty honest."

This move will just endear fans even more to the BCS. I've always been a free enterprise guy, but with the government bailing everybody else out, why not jump in and save college football? Somebody needs to - and quick.

In case you missed it, the excellent SEC and SB Nation blog, Team Speed Kills has been previewing Auburn's upcoming season this week and I must say, like it or not they appear to be right on the money. Brandon does an excellent job over there and I highly recommend checking his site out each day. I offer my two cents today.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

That's all from here on this Friday.  Have a great weekend and War Eagle!