(If you follow a certain Birmingham-area columnist, you should get this post. -ed.)
We had all written off the Tigers from Lee County. Surely, Gene Chizik would see a firing squad before he'd have a chance to fire up a victory cigar. But when? When would the powers that be wield the power they barely hold to do what should have been done long ago? How had the decision makers not already made the decision to move on? Why were we holding our breath? Would Auburn fans be left holding the rope?
That was all before Auburn 51, Alabama A&M 7.
On Saturday, Gene Chizik proved himself a man among men. He was celebrated at the corner of College and Magnolia (hey, that's the name of this blog! - ed.) as the season's hottest Toomer's celebration was literally set ablaze. Cheers could be heard throughout the Loveliest Village, and it was clear that the man cloaked in a dental smock had secured his place in the annals of Auburn lore.
When the wheels came off, we as fans, we as columnists, we as a microwave society began demanding change. Maybe that's why the people that make a living making decisions are paid handsomely and we're left to our wild, outrageous speculation. Maybe when the people that make a living making decisions start reading message boards and columns, they start acting like hasty fans.
Had the powers that be made a power move when the fans wanted, Coach Gene Chizik would have never had an opportunity to right a ship that sailed its way to a Family Day victory in the greatest family atmosphere in all of sports. Had Jay Jacobs not led with a steady hand and convinced everyone they should remain all in, this season could have been all out of hope.
But not after Auburn 51, Alabama A&M 7.
That's hope that can inspire. And it's only when we're inspired that we dare dream of what 2013 can bring. Let's not forget that this is a future filled with some of America's most star-studded recruiting classes of the last four years. While Tommy Tuberville sold a bill of coaching three-stars into five-stars, Coach Gene Chizik is coaching his five-stars into eight-stars. As a result, Auburn's depth chart has more stars than the Big Dipper. The Biggest of Dippers. Ultimo Dipper.
The next time you begin to think you are a better decision-maker than Jay Jacobs, I encourage you to remember this feeling. When you sprinted to Toomer's Corner for what could be the last time. When you threw rolls of Charmin at that once majestic oak, blanketing Harvey's crime in what appeared to be a mid-November snowfall. When you start getting ideas that you know what it takes to run an athletic department, remember what it was like on Sunday morning when you ran to get the morning paper. The sheer delight as you rushed down your drive to flip through pages of the fishwrapper and flounder through each piece of gorgeous prose. The taste of victory. The bragging rights that can never be taken away after beating an in-state rival. That's what football is all about.
Thank the football gods Jay Jacobs is the man charged with holding this family together. Now, Jay, pass the squash casserole.