I watched Saturday's game with the Rocky Mountain Auburn Club at the Irish Snug in Denver, Colorado. It's worth mentioning that this week - a couple of weeks ago, I watched with the Philadelphia Auburn Club and it was extremely...fine. It was just fine. Me, my friend Joey, my friend John (who went to Virginia Tech and splits his time between Birmingham and New Jersey now and came for the excuse of having a beer together) and his friend and three other dudes. Maybe four. That was it. Fine Folks, but the local "Auburn bar" isn't really lit in Philadelphia.
I. Me. This guy. Of all guys. Is here again to advertise patience.
In Denver, it's LIT. There had to have been 200-300 Auburn fans in this bar's two levels. Auburn decor all over the walls. Big leather couches in the Downstairs Snug gave it a real "mancave" vibe. And these dudes were INTO it. I hate they weren't given more to cheer about because they cheered. Bodda Getta. "War Eagle" on every kickoff.
I was talking to at least two of the guys separately and each time, I would say, "Man this is amazing. This whole trip has just been amazing."
And each time they said, "Kinda makes you wanna move out here, don't it?"
And each time they'd just smile. Look, every single thing about Denver lives up to expectations. I was there for a trip to Red Rocks, which absolutely surpassed all expectations. But the drive through the Rockies, the day trip to Colorado Springs for Garden of the Gods, the food at Mercantile Dining and Provisions...it's all just the best.
1. An Important Clarification. I've long said and really harped on in this space two weeks ago that Alabama killed football; that they sucked the joy from a sport that I once loved a lot.
Where do you come in, Alabama fan? You don't. You don't owe an apology. You don't need to do anything. I wish my team was as good as your team and if I were in your shoes, I'd be elated. Enjoy it. Every second of it.
But the clarification: the reason that it's been beaten lifeless is because this Auburn season can now be nothing but a four month bitchfest about Gus Malzahn's job security. The man who was the architect of one national championship and coached Auburn to another. That anyone is seriously wanting to fire Gus Malzahn after three seasons and three games is directly related to the fact that he isn't winning football games with the frequency of Nick Saban. And he's not going to do that. No one is.
Who is your hire? Who is going to come in and do what you want, "Fire em all" guy? Bobby Petrino? No, "fire em all" guy, you already said that Auburn's moral standard is too high for that? So...Art Briles?
Think, McFly, think.
That hire doesn't exist.
But 9-4, 8-5 isn't good enough for you either. So you run Tommy Tuberville off because he went 9-3 every season and you ran Gene Chizik - for the right reasons, but still prematurely - and now you want to run Malzahn off for having a few "okay" years?
Auburn has had two coaches in the last eight years. It had three in the 26 prior to that. What exactly is appealing to you, "fire em all" guy about firing them all? Just an activity to do? Something to discuss? A topic? And don't misunderstand that for excessive sympathy for millionaire football coaches; I'm just saying if I'm wanting to run someone off that is performing decently, I'd like to make sure I have a decent idea that I can hire someone better.
I think there has been much confusion about what I meant when I said that "Alabama killed football." I mean, they did, but that's not even remotely Alabama's problem nor do I expect it to be. It's every other school's problem. It's Jay Jacobs's problem. Because Jay somehow has to navigate keeping his own job, which a large contingent wants to see finished, but also not make rash, crowd-pleasing decisions because folks have decided they need something to scream about. And they have something to scream about because Alabama killed football.
Remember way back in, like, 2000? When Alabama and Auburn were both alright - not great, not frequently awful. They'd each have one crappy year then turn around and go to a Capital One Bowl or a Citrus Bowl. Those were the DAYS, man. Tommy Tuberville survived rogue planes and bankers and crime fighting lumberjack cowboys to become, at minimum, the third greatest coach in Auburn history. But when Nick Saban came to town, being better than average wasn't good enough anymore.
Anyway, that's all. The observation is aimed much more at Auburn fans than Alabama fans. Maybe I'm way off base and Malzahn has a hotter seat than I believe. But maybe chill on it right now. Eight or nine wins is STILL doable. STILL. Rather than stick your head in the sand because Auburn isn't winning the way that Alabama is winning, maybe enjoy the season you've been given and don't wish it all away. Still plenty of enjoying can be done if you'll put on blinders every now and then.
That is the bulk of TAKES - it's not particularly insightful but most TAKES aren't.
2. The quarterback is Sean White. With all of that said, I get WHY Malzahn is trying to make John Franklin III work, but it's just not.
Okay, well there's still potential. But that's why you force him to throw against Arkansas State and work that out there, not here.
I don't know; I'm no quarterback expert. Just a guy. But I think the whole issue would have more success if White was just the guy.