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What A Way To Start The New Year!

Good Monday morning to you. For most, today marks the real start of the new year with everyone returning to work. Let's hope the first work day of the year is less stressful than New Year's Day.

After the win over Northwestern on Friday, I said it was the best football game I'd ever seen. That was inaccurate. The play on the field was far from great. At times, it was downright terrible. Was it the most exciting game Auburn's ever played? Perhaps.

I still go back to the 1984 Auburn-Florida State game in Tallahassee. By the time Brent Fullwood scored late in the fourth quarter to give Auburn the 42-41 win, I fully expected to drop dead walking out of Doak-Campbell Stadium.

Friday's Outback Bowl win grabs the title of weirdest game in Auburn history. I don't believe there's another word more fitting than just plain weird. You name it and that game had it.

Statistically it was the worst defensive performance in school history. Yet, it was the defense that stood strong at the end of the day after being on the field for 115 plays - almost twice as many as a typical game. The normally reserve Ben Tate came within an eyelash of becoming Auburn's version of Bill Buckner after getting a celebration penalty on a touchdown run followed by a fumble on the next series that set Northwestern up for the win.

Defensive back Walter McFadden played until he literally couldn't walk off the field. Gene Chizik showed more emotion in the last five minutes of the game than we've seen all year. We could go on and on.

Most self proclaimed experts will tell you that bowl wins mean nothing in regards to how a team performs the following season. This game may be the exception.  The momentum that Auburn has gained in the last week, both on and off the field, is unprecedented in school history.

The signing of former Florida quarterback Cameron Newton along with top high school running back Michael Dyer has the potential to be a game changer not seen on the Plains since Bo Jackson signed in early 1982. Rivals now ranks Auburn's recruiting class third nationally behind Texas and Alabama.

While our neighbors to the North prepare to play for a championship Thursday, it would be wise for them to keep one eye on East Alabama. They may find that winning national titles are easier than winning state championships.

I don't believe it's an understatement to say that spring practice will be the most anticipated in school history. I know, I said that last year. I'm just saying. As Todd92 said on Saturday, the quarterback race will be "must see" for Tiger fans.

With the signing of Newton, most fans believe he'll be the starter come September. If anyone suggested last January that Todd would be the man this year, we would have banned them from the site. It would be foolish to count anyone out. You can make a solid argument for any of the candidates. My guess is, it will come down to Newton, Neil Caudle and Barrett Trotter with Tyrik Rollison and Clint Moseley getting a look later down the road.

It should make the off-season fun to watch