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Undercover Barner: Guess who's back

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In this, the first Undercover Barner of 2013, I attempt to exorcise the 2012 demons but instead end up listing all the things I love about Auburn. I think everyone wins, except those who were expecting this thing to be funny. That I can't help you with.

Our fearless leader, El Capitan of the #GusBus, may the odds be ever in his favor.
Our fearless leader, El Capitan of the #GusBus, may the odds be ever in his favor.
USA TODAY Sports

I’m baaaack.

In a surprising turn of events, the powers that be have allowed me return to CaM to continue spreading the Auburn gospel to the crimson masses in Tuscaloosa. I don’t really know what they were thinking either.

In preparation to write this season’s first Undercover Barner, I took a look at the UCB archives*. Between our season falling apart and bitter disagreements over the direction of the program, you really needed a machete to hack through all of the melodrama. There’s a finite number of ways to convey the sentiment, "Chins up, Tiger fans."

But I’ve head through the grapevine that it’s a new day on the Plains. I like that. It might help us get past the trying national nightmare that was 2012**. In contrast, 2013 offers a clean slate and breath of fresh air we all needed. I’m excited to see Gus’ offense but I’m impatiently waiting like a petulant child for Ellis’ defense. I want to see my boys hit someone. Hard.

Do you think we can consider 2012 a character-building exercise? Just when you thought Auburn fans couldn’t get any more jaded, right? But we got through it. We’re a little worse for the wear, but now we’re leaner, meaner and above all else, battle-tested.

So in the spirit of this new day we keep hearing about, I’d like to welcome you back to our little corner of the Web. Things are about to get pretty exciting around here.

Which brings us to the only reason you’re reading this: It’s football season, y’all.

Football season. Not just scrimmages or summer workouts. Not just depth chart conjecture or preseason polls. It’s finally honest to God, as I live and breathe, I’m going to be in Jordan-Hare come hell or high water*** football season.

Ain’t it a sight for sore eyes?

It’ll really do a number on all of the senses. Remember those? We learned them in elementary school. There’s five of them: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. They’re all pretty basic, but the magic of fall and the sheer pageantry of football season lights them on fire.

Nothing, and I mean nothing compares to the sight of burnt orange and navy blue, two perfect color wheel complements, blanketing Jordan-Hare. Except maybe the mass of humanity at Tiger Walk. Or a perfect orange and blue sunset. Or a protected bird of prey, almost close enough to touch, circling overhead.

Nova is breathtaking, isn’t she? Spirit, too. When they release her, whether it’s your first Auburn game or your one-hundred-and-first, the thundering chorus of 87,451 fans yelling "War Eagle, Hey!" inspires chills and heartmist. Every time.

I can’t explain it, but fall smells different, better. It smells earthy and electric. Maybe it’s the tailgate food or the freshly manicured turf on the nicest field in the country, but Auburn just smells like home.

Speaking of the food, barbecue just tastes better on a Saturday in the South. The tea is sweeter. Bourbon burns a little more, that good burn. Eating off a Dixie plate and drinking out of a Solo cup never tasted so good.

And let’s be honest: Is there anything sexier than a blindside sack? A running back shrugging off a defender with ease? A goal line stand? As far as contact sports go, football is as good as it gets.

There’s also a sixth sense, and it’s not the kind that makes you see dead people. It’s a weird one, hard to explain. It’s the soul-gripping equivalent to umami. It’s that "something" that’s a part of who you are. You can feel it in your chest. It makes your heart flutter when you think of Dye’s speech after The First Time Ever. It’s what ties your stomach in knots on fourth down. It’s what makes you swell with pride when you see "Bo over the Top" or "Punt Bama Punt," even if you weren’t born yet. It’s why you’ll never forget the first time or last time you rolled Toomer’s Corner.

This is a pretty crazy thing we’re doing here, being sports fans on the Internet. Twitter. Message boards. This blog. In countless ways, the Internet has made being a fan so much easier. It lends itself effortlessly to predicting, reminiscing, commiserating, arguing and beating dead horses. But it’s fall now****. The Internet has gotten us through the long offseason, and now it’s time to close our laptops and put down our phones.*****

It’s finally time to see, hear, smell, taste, touch and feel football season. It’s time to travel to the Loveliest Village on the Plains. It’s time to War Eagle.

It’s a new day, guys. On to vict’ry/Strike up the band.

Until next time — War Eagle.

*I don’t suggest doing the same, unless you want to be morbidly depressed.

**Technically, this blog is about being an Auburn fan behind enemy lines. But I’ll address Alabama’s 230984329th national championship dynasty of the millennium next time. Or maybe I’ll just post some pictures of funny stuff I’ve found in Tuscaloosa. Either way.

***Or finals

****I’m aware astronomical fall doesn’t start until Sept. 22. But fall means football season, so here we are.

*****Metaphorically speaking. Of course we want you to keep CaM high atop your bookmark list for all of your Auburn Athletics needs. No seriously, don’t shut your laptop.

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