Claiming a national championship is something I wondered if I'd ever see Auburn accomplish in my lifetime. With that now checked off the list, the next wish is for a Final Four appearance by the Tigers.
One of the things that make March Madness perhaps the most exciting event on television is the idea that anyone can make it. Think about it, Butler has an enrollment just over 4,000. That's comparable to Southern Union Community College in Opelika.
The Bulldogs started the season 6-5, including a streak of four straight losses. This is not the SEC we are talking about here - it's the Horizon League, a mid-major conference virtually no one had heard of until a year ago when Butler made its first Final Four appearance.
In a lot of ways, Virginia Commonwealth may be an even better story. On Selection Sunday, the talking heads screamed. The Rams lost four of their final five regular season games.
VCU was a team that by most accounts had fallen off the bubble. And let's face it, the Rams don't exactly scream, must-see TV. Kentucky's John Calipari will earn a bigger bonus ($375,000) than VCU coach Shaka Smart will earn all year ($325,000).
And yet here both teams sit - preparing to play each other in a few hours for a shot at a national championship.
The game fans most want to see tonight is the one featuring two mid-majors, not blue-bloods Kentucky and Connecticut. The winner between these two Cinderellas will be America's favorite heading to Monday night. And that's why America loves this time of year.
College basketball is a heck of a lot fun. It's something Auburn has been missing out on for too many years. As these two examples above prove, it doesn't take tons of money to be successful. When you do have that kind of money (like Auburn) it should make the process even easier.
Traditionally, great college football programs have mediocre or worse basketball teams. There are a few exceptions. The reasons are hard to explain and harder to understand.
Auburn has everything in place now to win. Maybe a lot of us are starring through orange and blue colored glasses at this point, but I truly believe Tony Barbee is the right person for the Auburn job.
It may not happen next year or for a few more seasons, but it's past time for Auburn players and fans to experience this great March event.
We've climbed the Mount Everest of college football. Let's now set our sights on an early weekend in April.
Auburn deserves it.