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Undercover Barner: Homeward Bound

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This week’s Undercover Barner reflects on a weird football weekend and looks forward to her Homecoming.

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Jamie Squire

It kind of seems like we’ve had two bye weeks in a row, doesn’t it? As nerve-racking as last Thursday’s game against the Kansas State Wildcats was, it’s almost a distant memory. Having two "off" Saturdays in a row was great for my nerves (and my appetite) but it’s hard to get back into a normal schedule. Once Auburn won the game, I kind of checked out, responsibility-wise, for the rest of the weekend.

But man Thursday's game was, for lack of a better word, pukey. What turned out to be an absolutely bizarre football weekend began with Auburn's nerve-racking trip to Manhattan, Kansas. I know I wasn’t alone, but I had a bad feeling about that game since it was moved to a Thursday night. As soon as Auburn failed to score on their opening drive, I knew we were in trouble. I spent the first quarter listening to Rod and Stan in the car because I was traveling back to Tuscaloosa from Huntsville. If you thought this tweet was a joke:

I was 100% not exaggerating. I put it on in the parking lot of a gas station in Cullman. You're welcome. Due to the events of like 95% of the game, I was afraid the Cam jersey was losing its magic, but thankfully it remains undefeated. I have another* undefeated Cam jersey (2011 Mississippi State True Blue game) and two more untested jerseys (Ronnie Brown and Bo Jackson). There are plenty of reserves, but that one is my favorite. Never underestimate the power of your gameday apparel, Tiger fans.

Thursday’s game felt a little like the 2010 Mississippi State game to me: a Thursday road game where the offense struggled and the team had to lean on the defense, which bent but didn’t break. After Duke caught that last, wonderful pass**, I just wanted to hug everyone and sing "Lean on Me." The Tigers were fortunate to have a lot of things go their way but also shot themselves in the foot plenty. Dropped passes, uncharacteristic bad reads by Marshall, bad blocking, and our blessedly opportunistic defense*** kept that game close, despite what Bill Snyder said later****. In the end, the better team won but I spent most of the second half on the couch in the fetal position.

Saturday’s games were just plain weird. I was going to say that I don’t remember the last time Alabama had four turnovers, but they actually had five in the Sugar Bowl so I’ll go ahead and retract that statement now. Derrick Henry is still haunting my nightmares. Florida is bad, and they should feel bad.The idea of playing Mississippi State in Starkville just got a lot more daunting. Jameis Winston is a really dumb kid who needs a better handler. Clemson is an abomination. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that they managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory because Dabo but DAMMIT CLEMSON YOU HAD ONE JOB.

Back on the plains, before worrying about dealing with Dak, we’ve got a two-week homestand that begins this Saturday against Louisiana Tech. It’s Homecoming, which means cheap tickets, Ag Roundup*****, and my first trip to Auburn for a game since the Iron Bowl! To celebrate mine and I guess everyone else’s Homecoming, here are the top 10 things I’m most looking forward to this weekend:

10. Jin Korean Restaurant

9. The Auburn University Marching Band’s pregame show

8. Toomer’s Corner, wires or no wires

7. Ag Roundup

6. That electric moment when they loose Nova and he circles Jordan-Hare to a "Warrrrrrrr Eagle HEY" 87,351 strong.

5. Refusing to sit down

4. Losing my voice because if babies don’t need hearing protection in Jordan-Hare, we’re doing it wrong.

3. Price’s Barbecue House breakfast (Obviously I’m going home Thursday night so I can eat Price’s on Friday morning. Why they won’t serve on Saturday mornings is beyond me.)

2. Tailgating with my War Drunj Eagle family, a precious rarity these days.

1. Walking around a place thousands of people return to every fall and knowing I’m lucky enough to call it home.

What are you looking forward to seeing/smelling/tasting/doing this weekend? If you’re making the trip for Homecoming, I hope to see you there! Let’s hope for nice weather and a game that allows us to rest the starters for LSU.

Until next time—War Eagle!

*Yes, I have two Cam jerseys. In my defense, I got one during his meteoric rise and then one with the national championship patch after the title game.

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***Dat defense tho. When they needed to make plays, they came up with a way. I love Ellis Johnson. And I could not be happier for Trovon Reed, who’s had interceptions in Auburn’s last two games. Trovon knew he wasn’t an elite WR and volunteered for the position change. He will always have my respect, and now he has my heart.

****I have so much respect for Bill Snyder, but I wish he’d kept his mouth shut. Auburn and Kansas State both made mistakes during that game. Y’all have a clean penalty sheet, INEXPLICABLY. You’re a grown man. Stop acting like a child.

*****Ag Roundup is one of my favorite things about Auburn. The College of Agriculture hosts Ag Roundup and Taste of Alabama Agriculture at Ag Heritage Park every year at Homecoming. The event will run from 10am-2pm. Admission is $5 and includes all you care to eat from the many vendors showcasing their Alabama-grown/raised food. Seriously, go check it out.