Hey. I neglected TAKES last week. It's probably the first time in about five years that I haven't even tried. Here's why, if you care: I was in Nashville for two Jason Isbell sets last weekend, I went to Jimmy Eat World on Sunday as soon as I got back. I recorded HAM Radio on Monday. I have no idea what I did Tuesday, but I found out that Foo Fighters were going to play at The Ryman on Friday. I went to Secret Sisters and recorded the AL.com podcast on Wednesday. I saw Dracula on Thursday at Virginia Samford. And somewhere in there, I wrote three pieces for Weld. Then, on Friday, I went to the aforementioned Foo Fighters show at The Ryman, rushed home on Saturday in time to see some friends at Avondale Brewery and plant myself in front of a TV before the Ole Miss game. It's been a time.
I share with you guys. If you're new here, you may not care. Ok. That's what this weekly post has been since I helped create the website. I hope you'll indulge me oversharing. War Eagle.
But what all of that is? An apology. Some of you may enjoy the post or look forward to it, and if you do, I let you down last week. I'm sorry.
1. The injury. No one with any dignity wants to see a kid get hurt. Especially not like that. It's the worst. And it literally added insult to injury that he had to hear that he had fumbled before he was carted off the field. I hate it. Breaking part of your leg sucks. I promise. I wish it upon no one. I hope he heals soon and has a promising career.
That said, no one meant to hurt his leg. The play was legal. To suggest that Auburn fans shouldn't be happy about victory, whether externally or internally, is dumb. To take it a step further, I don't think the fumble had a direct impact on the outcome of the game.
If Ole Miss scores the touchdown, which at that point in the night, I was hoping they would do, Auburn has 90 seconds remaining and three timeouts and they are down by three points and Gus Malzahn is their coach. But as a result of the injury, Auburn very nearly played themselves into a spot that allowed Ole Miss to still win it.
The injury deflated everyone. The crowd was beside themselves, and rightfully so. Coach Malzahn wanted nothing more than to run out those 90 seconds and take the win and get out of there and never speak of the incident again. By doing so, he forgot that Ole Miss had timeouts and that they were still trying to win the game. The result was Ole Miss having a real shot from midfield with 30 seconds remaining.
So, yeah, the fumble and the injury changed the way the rest of the game was coached and the way we arrived at the outcome, but Auburn didn't win that game because of it.
Winning that way makes it less fun. It took the wind out of everyone's sails. But that game was a fantastic one, and Auburn was penalized plenty. If anything illegal was done to cause that injury, I promise the officiating crew would have been more than willing to make us aware.
We know this is a dangerous game. We want to watch it without having to see things like what happened. But they do. He seems like a great man, and like others before him that have dealt with really gruesome sports injuries, I know he'll recover. Hotty Totty Gosh Almighty.
I won't go all-in on commentary about the Opelika-Auburn News photo incident, but I'll say this: newspapers do a lot of outsourcing these days. Someone close to home should have made a better call on that, but it wasn't entirely the paper's fault. And the Opelika-Auburn News is certainly not a representation of Auburn University or its fans or graduates. I think reasonable people know that, but it felt worth noting.
2. Perception. I saw some complaining about Lee Corso's takes. Or the ever present complaints about Danny Kannell's takes. But here's a thing, gang: they're takes. Who cares? Like, you guys know I named this column TAKES ironically, right? My opinion about college football is no better than yours. It's no worse than Danny Kannell's. Or Tim Brando's. Or Lee Corso's. Or Danny Sheridan's. Or Paul Finebaum's. They're takes, gang. It's big and dumb. It's football. TAKES only exist because of presentation and the reaction they garner. If you don't want hot takes, don't watch ESPN.
I care so little about how Auburn is perceived, it's ridiculous. Well, let me take that back: I care about how my university is perceived. And when it comes to sports, I hope they are putting the best product possible on the field or court, which is why I essentially boycotted Auburn basketball for the better part of the last 10 years. But if Auburn is winning football games and some guys on the TV box are saying they are the sixth best team or something? No. I don't care. I stopped watching commentary shows and listening to mainstream commentary radio when I came unglued over the Toomer's situation a few years ago. Because I was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. And I'm not saying that to be a "cool guy." I literally "Shake it Off." I listen to Magic 96 (well, I did until they started playing Christmas music in October. Now I've gone back to Birmingham Mountain Radio) on my four minute commute to work. I barely watch television at all, but when I do, it's live sporting events. Or HBOGO.
I shake it off. You should, too. I encourage this lifestyle if you're getting too wound up about what some ordinary bro on television is saying about your football team. And I say that with sincerity, because if you've followed me for any amount of time, you know that I used to get really worked up about all of it, too. It's not healthy, and it makes the big dumb game we all enjoy less fun.
3. November. Do those things. Because November is going to be a big pile of fun and you'll enjoy it more if you live in the moment. Don't worry about the polls. Don't worry about the perception. Ride this ride. Barn Hard.
[That's all I have. I don't need to tell you that CAP looked great or that Nick Marshall should be back in the Heisman race or that there were a lot of penalties. You're all really smart men and women. You saw those things.]