There isn’t much I can say to take the sting out of Saturday’s ugly Iron Bowl, especially this far removed from it. There isn't much you'd really want to read about it anyway. I’d venture to say 95 percent of us expected exactly what happened on the field (maybe worse — they could have scored as much as they wanted). It was exactly what we thought it would be but hoped against hope it wouldn't be: an embarrassing waxing by our fiercest rival. Iron Bowls aren’t supposed to be one-sided like that. Can’t say I’m sorry to kiss the 2012 football season goodbye.
There isn’t much to say about Auburn releasing Chizik. I hate it for him. He is a genuinely nice man, and the players loved him. He brought us to the mountaintop in 2010, and I hope that’s how Auburn fans remember him. Much like Tuberville, I will (almost) always think of Chizik fondly. The wheels just fell off, and it was time to part ways. Such is life in big-time college football. Doesn't mean I don’t hate it.
There isn’t even anything to say about the trees. Except maybe this: I’m afraid they’re not going to make a miracle comeback. They’re all but dead. The amount of herbicide used to poison them was just too much. I hope the powers that be take them down soon. In their current state, they function only as a painful reminder of one demented man’s cruelty and as a giant trophy for him. He got exactly what he wanted: The trees are dead, Auburn fans are sad (for any number of reasons), his team won a national championship and is in a good position to play for another, and he is STILL awaiting trial. I doubt he’ll make it to trial, honestly. And that’s a shame.
The good news is that the sun came up on Sunday morning. And Monday. And, against all odds, Tuesday morning, too. I still see Auburn insignia on clothing, vehicles and buildings. The Auburn students are still going to take finals. No one seems to be ashamed of the orange and blue.
Bottom line: Auburn is still Auburn. Yeah, to put it bluntly, things kind of suck right now. I’m sure some people have jumped ship, but if you’re like me, you don’t have the luxury of flip-flopping. Auburn is in my blood and in my heart, and I’m stuck with her for better or worse, ‘til death do us part. I can think of a whole bunch of times when it was more fun to be an Auburn Tiger, but I’d never choose any other team, place or family, even through this crap storm.
Things will get better. I know this because they have to eventually, right? Right now, it is what it is. But there’s always next season (Oh God, now we sound like Cubs fans. -ed.) There’s always spring sports. There’s always something to be excited about.
The never-ending commentary from 'Bama fans is unavoidable. They can’t help themselves. It’s the nature of the rivalry. However, there will come a time in the future when Auburn emerges victorious from an Iron Bowl, and BOY am I going to be freaking obnoxious about it. Probably.
Take care, Tiger fans. Undercover Barner will be on temporary hiatus until after finals* so I don’t lose my mind/fail.
Until next time — War Eagle.
*I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this before I took a break: The law school kids are pretty decent 'Bama fans. There was only one unprovoked attack regarding Alabama’s renewed national title hopes and its relation to my fandom. It took me off-guard, and I screamed something incoherent about 2004. Anyway, as much as I dreaded football season, it really wasn’t too awful. Probably because we’re all too busy to worry too much about football. This just applies to the law school, though. The rest of Tuscaloosa is exactly how I remembered it: mean.