In a bizarre way, it's actually more fun to write about losing than it is to write about winning. There's less pressure.
With losing, you just hate everything. Life. All sports. Your neighbor's dog. The fact that someone left time on the microwave. Every single thing. Why even give your heart to a team? It’s all dumb. So you pour your heart out for a paragraph, curse the football gods, throw in a couple of self-deprecating jokes and some alcohol references and BAM, you’ve got yourself a column we can all commiserate over.
Winning, particularly winning after an inordinate amount of losing, is different. Winning requires more talent than I possess to accurately capture the moment without seeming cheesy. Football feelings can be kind of delicate. But trying to make winning funny seems to cheapen it. So if it’s hard to be serious and it’s weird to be funny, what is there to do?
And why bring this up now? Saturday’s win against the Aggies was Auburn’s sixth win of the season, not its first.
I don’t have to tell you the answer to that question. You already know. You felt it in your heart when Dee Ford brought down Johnny Football on fourth-and-13 to seal a victory you scarcely allowed yourself to believe possible. That win, the win that made Auburn bowl eligible after going 3-9 and winless in the SEC last year, was different. Its previous five wins were all glorious, but this one was cathartic.
For all four quarters on Saturday, I felt absolutely physically ill. It was a familiar feeling but one I hadn’t felt since the last time Auburn actually had a chance to win big games on a national stage. This game made me feel feelings again.
I was alone in my living room when Auburn began what would be its game-winning drive. My laptop sat beside me on the couch as I implored my Tigers via Twitter to impose their will on the Aggie defense and run the ball down their throats*. As you can imagine, I was a wreck.
I pulled my knees to my chest and pulled my Cam Newton jersey** over my eyes. I couldn’t watch. Except that I did. I saw Nick Marshall connect with Marcus Davis to convert a third-and-9 I’d all but given up on. I saw Tre Mason stretch out and score, by Gary and Verne’s*** estimation, entirely too soon because it gave Johnny a chance to work his magic. I saw Auburn make the decision to place the game, this game people thought Auburn had no business even competing in, in the hands of its harshly criticized defense.
I believed in my boys, but as the Aggies embarked on their final drive, I paced. I paced from the kitchen to the front door and back again. I climbed on a chair. At one point I found myself crouched in some kind of weird three-point stance in front of the TV****. I think banged on the floor? Then I was joined by my roommate, an LSU fan from Texas with a special dislike for A&M. We watched A&M’s last four downs while yelling loud enough for our neighbors to know how we really felt about Johnny Football. When Dee Ford brought Johnny down, the earth shifted.
And then I think I blacked out.
I remember yelling War Eagle at my neighbors and then just yelling in general. I remember not being able to breathe, probably because of all the yelling. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t know how to handle all of the feelings*****. I still don’t. Auburn won. Auburn beat a team I thought we’d lose by 30 to at the beginning of the season. Auburn went to Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, home of the 12th Man, and beat the Aggies. How about that?
My child, Tre Mason, described it perfectly:
"This was a statement game," he said. "The statement that we want to put across is that we’re coming"
For those of you with short or selective memories who think Auburn has always been and will always be there to kick around, you’re on notice. Auburn is coming for you. It may not be this season, but Auburn will compete for championships again. Auburn isn’t afraid of anyone, and that makes a dangerous team.
If you’re heading to the Plains this weekend to see Auburn take on the Owls of Florida Atlantic, enjoy some lemonade and barbecue, but most of all, enjoy the afterglow of taking down the No. 7 team in the country just one week prior. The rest of the season hits hard soon.
Until next time—War Eagle.
*Obviously they heard me.
**If we’re going to compare mobile Heisman-winning quarterbacks who wear/wore the number 2, no one compares to ours. Johnny is crazy stupid good, but Cam made men look like boys. I may be biased, though.
***Is there a worse announcing team in the country? The world? SPOILER ALERT: There isn’t.
****That is 100 percent truth and 0 percent hyperbole. It’s also why no one is ever allowed to watch Auburn football with me.
*****I won’t lie to you: I cried. I cried because this game was the antithesis of 2012 and because all of those boys have mamas and families and they’re Auburn Men. There’s no crying in baseball, but no one ever said anything about SEC football.
Odds and Ends without a place:
1. I liked Gus in the sweater vest.
2. I will never stop watching this.
3. Mike Evans is the stuff of nightmares. Good riddance, but with love and admiration.
4. I don't think it was a horsecollar. Legitimately. It looked like jersey.
5. Noise violations shouldn't be a thing during football season.
More from College and Magnolia:
- The College and Mag Show, Episode 8
- Nick Marshall named SEC Offensive Player of the Week
- TAKES: 2ND EDITION, VOLUME 7
- BCS standings, Week 9: Auburn debuts at No. 11
- Tigers go on the road, prove they're contenders