The Auburn reality TV show 'Auburn Football Everyday' comes on each week with Gene Chizik telling his players that "Auburn was made great way before you got here. Keep it great ... everyday!" And that's what this team does "everyday" whether at home or on the road. These Tigers are on a mission and they have worked hard everyday to keep Auburn great, primarily by staying focused and taking care of business.
Each game of the season has presented a different set of challenges. Every week we have read the naysayer stories about the reasons why Auburn may not be successful. This past weekend was no different. We were told that Auburn would carry the curse of being number one into what many were calling the perfect "Trap game" in Oxford. Nevertheless they went into Vaught-Hemingway stadium and literally took care of business.
They did it pretty much without the SEC's leading rusher, Cam Newton. In fact there has been a popular misconception spread by the main stream media that Auburn was a one man - one dimensional team. Well the Tigers put an end to that perception Saturday night with their 51-31 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels. It's true Cam Newton had a great night throwing for 209 yards; two touchdowns and catching a touchdown pass from Kodi Burns.
But there were six different Auburn players that scored in the Ole Miss game. Michael Dyer led the rushing attack with 180 yards as Auburn had their fifth straight 300 yard game against an SEC opponent, the longest streak in school history. The team is averaging 307.7 yards rushing per game. Not since the trio of Bo Jackson, Tommie Agee, and Brent Fulwood in 1985 have the Tigers averaged 300 yards a game.
There is little doubt that Cam is one of those players that only come along once or so in a generation. There just aren't many Tucker Fredericksons, Herschel Walkers, or Bo Jacksons. And it's been 25 years since Bo played college football. Many around the nation are starting to believe what Auburn people already know - that Cam is the best player in college football today.
It's obvious that a player like Newton elevates the play of his team mates. Yet no one can do the things that he has done without a great offensive line. There is no doubt that his face is the face of the Auburn program. However, the faces that opposing teams have been seeing a lot of belong to such players as the great lineman Lee Ziemba, the speedster Onterio McCaleb, Michael Dyer and his tough-gritty running, Demond Washington and his kickoff returns, Darvin Adams acrobatic receptions, and that of Nick Fairley punishing quarterbacks. I could go on but you get the picture.
Any team that continues to believe that Auburn is only about Cam Newton will find out like Ole Miss did Saturday night, that Auburn has a veritable arsenal of weapons to beat you with. Rebel Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli said after the game, "It's pretty hard to stop that type of a high paced offense, just ask our defensive players."
Now honors are starting to pile up for this bunch. Four Tigers have made mid season All American teams and Auburn has had at least one player every week chosen as the SEC Player of The Week. This week Demond Washington was honored as the Special Teams Player of the Week and Michael Dyer shared the SEC freshman Player of the Week honors.
Of course everyone knows that Newton is on both the Heisman and the Davey O'Brian list but Auburn also has several other players up for national awards: Nick Fairley was recently named a semi finalist for the Lombardi Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman, Ryan Pugh is on the Remington Trophy list as the nation's top center and is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, Demond Washington is on the list for the Paul Hornung Award for the most versatile high level performance in major college football, and Zac Etheridge has been nominated for the Courage Award.
In addition Michael Dyer is on track for a 1,000 yard rushing season. He has 723 yards thus far and only needs 107 to pass Bo Jackson's 1985 freshman total of 829. Cam Newton broke Jimmy Sidle's 47 year rushing record and Wes Byrum has surpassed John Vaughn as Auburn's all time leading scorer. As a team Auburn has beaten four ranked teams while no other ranked team has beaten more than two.
To paraphrase the band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, this group of Tigers is ...
Taking Care of business, every day - Taking care of business, every way - They're taking care of business, it's on their mind - Taking care of business and working overtime - Taking care of business when they're at home or away - And taking care of business every single day - Taking Care of business because Auburn is great - As Coach Chiz says "keeping it that way ... Everyday !"