Scene: A beautiful Saturday afternoon in 1985 Auburn, Alabama. #6 Auburn has just beaten Miss State to go to 6-1 on the year. Suddenly, between the Stadium and Sewell Hall, a flash of light appears followed by the appearance of a silver, flying Ford F-150. Out of the cab step Cliff Hare and Pat Dye.
"Here we are coach, 1985."
"Just like I left it, Fessor Hare. Are you sure we're in the right place?"
"They should be passing by any moment, coach."
"Here they are Fessor, HEY BO! TRACY! FREDDY! LAWYER! BEN!"
The five young men approach. "Coach?" Bo asks in shock, "have you aged thirty years since your postgame speech?"
"No, Bo, it's me, I've just come from 30 years in the future, Auburn's future. I need you to come with me to 2015. All y'all hop in the back."
"Coach, I'm not getting in that thing" said Ben Tamburello. "Things are good, we have a chance at a national title."
"Athletics make men strong, study makes men wise, but character makes men great, Mr. Tamburello. We need you for a mission much greater than any championship."
"What's wrong Fessor? Is Auburn bad in the future or something?" asked freshman Tracy Rocker.
"No, Mr. Rocker, well, we aren't doing great but that's not why we've traveled back to see you. I believe in my country, because it is a land of freedom, but not for much longer without your help," answered Professor Hare.
"What's wrong?" Asked Lawyer Tillman, "did the Soviets invade?"
"Worse'n that, Lawyer." said Dye. "In 2015, Arkansas beats Auburn in an important conference game--"
"What?!!!??? Slow down, coach," Freddy Weygand interjected, "Arkansas is in the Southwest Conference we're not in the same conference . . . ."
"Shut your redhead up, Freddy, that's not important right now. What matters is that Arkansas wins the game. Their coach, Bret Bielema, finally gains the affection of his fanbase. The team gets confidence and follows that up with wins over Ole Miss and LSU. Arkansas finally starts getting the best recruits in state to stay home and stop coming to Auburn. Arkansas goes on to win a national title."
"Good for them coach," Bo says, "I still don't see what this has to do with us."
Professor Hare drew a breath, "Mr. Jackson, Coach Bielema builds on this success to become Governor of Arkansas in 2023. By 2028, his brazen behavior and outlandish comments have bewitched a nation desperate for change and he's elected president. He suspends elections in 2031 and establishes a dictatorship. His civil servants advance solely based on feats of strength and girth. By 2040, America is in a constant state of war and its citizens stand in line for sprays of aerosolized soup and Sooielent Green. All because Arkansas beats Auburn in October 24, 2015."
A pregnant pause hung in the air. "What can we do?" asked Tracy. "We're just 18-22 year old boys. Why are we the ones who have to save the world? Why not someone else?"
"Ain't no easy way in life, Tracy." Coach Dye said with a gentle smile, "You gotta wrassle with them angels and become men. Y'all just have to grow up sooner than most."
"But why us coach?"
"Bo, in 30 years, we ain't had a back as good as you. Ain't had one with your courage Bo. If the fate of the free world is in someone's hands, it's gotta be yours. Tracy, you're the Rock. We need playmakers on the line against the Hawgs. They're the biggest line in America. Ben, you're an all-American now, you'd be an all-American in 2015. Lawyer, Freddy, we need some depth at receiver. Lawyer, your boy is on the team so you'll be easy to sneak in."
"I'm a father?"
"Coach Dye, we discussed this," chided a flustered but gentlemanly Professor Hare, "no one should know too much about his own future."
"Won't people notice me out there?" Freddy asked.
"Freddy, you just ran out of eligibility last year. You played 8 years here under your own name then under a series of assumed identities. Otis Mounds, Tyrone Goodson, Lee Guess, Will Herring, Knots D. Cameron-Bagman, all you. Last I heard, you were playing under the name Quan Bray. Best as we can tell, your daddy was a Gallifreyan Time Lord and you're just regenerating."
Freddy sheepishly hung his head and said, "Coach, I've been at it longer than that. You met me as Freddy Weygand, pride of Emma Sanson High in Gadsden but I was born a fully mature young lady on the planet Messaline, the daughter of the Doctor--"
Dye exploded, "Freddy we ain't got time for character development! The fate of the free world is on the line and y'all the best chance we got. Besides, that line of fiction, while in the time travel milieu, is outside the specific context of this parody! Are y'all in or out?"
All the players nodded their heads in agreement. Ben Tamburello asked, "How does this thing work, Fessor? You expect us to believe this truck is not only built Auburn tough, it's also a time machine? Granted I haven't driven a Ford, lately, but it's hard to believe."
"Education gave me the knowledge to work wisely and trained my mind and hands to work skillfully, Mr. Tamburello. What looks like a toolbox in the back of the truck bed is actually a quantum energy generator. It runs on a combination of white dog liquor and bovine excrement--"
"Wait!" Tracy Rocker exclaimed, "It, runs on bullsh--"
"Yes, Mr. Rocker. I needed an ample supply of combustible material. Most scientific geniuses in early 20th century east Alabama have time machines. We only use them to advance agricultural research or save the world. Dr. Carver built one that runs on peanuts. In retrospect, that one would be easier on the nose."
The five ancient heroes stepped into the back of Pat Dye's time traveling F-150. A moment later they arrive in Auburn, October 21, 2015, just in time to step on the team flight to Fayetteville. With Bo running the wildcat, Tamburello anchoring the line, and the added depth at receiver, the Tigers were unstoppable on offense. Rocker and Montravious Adams stymied the Arkansas offensive line and the Tigers won in a rout.
"Was it enough, Fessor?" asked a gassed Lawyer Tillman.
"You did splendidly, Lawyer. The newspapers from the future are changing. Bret Bielema is fired after this season. He never works in college football again. He never becomes Governor or President. Soup is still consumed in liquid form. You saved the world."
"But at what cost, Fessor? Bo doesn't look so good."
The team rushes over to Bo who is nursing thigh and rib injuries. "I'm fine y'all. I'll gladly take these small bumps and bruises if the world is safe for democracy."
Coach Dye checks his 20th Century Sports Almanac. "Fessor, we have a problem. With Bo's injuries, Auburn no longer wins the 1985 national championship. Without that, we don't win one in 88 either. Or 1994. I'm fired in 1992 and replaced by someone named Terry Bowden, is that Bobby's boy? Isn't he, like 12? Fessor what have we done?"
"We saved the world, Coach. For now, that has to be enough."
The F-150 flies back to 1985 Auburn and drops the exhausted football heroes off right where they had left only moments before. After a long silence, Dye finally spoke up. "I don't guess I got to tell y'all to keep this quiet. No one would believe you if you told them what happened. They'd think you were crazier than Jeff Burger in a Burger King. I'm proud to be associated with you now and in 1985, but we gotta keep it down home, cuz."
"Will we ever see y'all again?" Asked Bo.
"One day, I shall come back, Mr. Jackson. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."
"Wait, Dad?!!!????" yelled Freddy.
"This isn't the time, Mr. Weygand. For now, we're off to the 2015 Iron Bowl. I'd tell you what happens but, spoilers. Let's just say, I believe in Auburn and love it. War Eagle."
And like that, the F-150 disappeared to parts and times unknown.