Week 1: Auburn vs Akron
Game time: 6:00 pm CST/7:00 pm EST - Saturday, September 4th, 2021
Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
Radio station: Auburn Radio Network list of affiliates and internet stream
Tickets: Mash here!
It almost seems as if it’s been two full years since we got to experience Auburn football in all its glory, and that came during a year that we may not have enjoyed to its fullest since we had no idea of the vast desert we’d be crossing in the months to follow.
While 2020 certainly had a football season, it just wasn’t the same. Hardly any fans, every game looking like an open spring scrimmage, so many precautions, and worry that it would all get canceled at the drop of a hat made things feel too sanitized. We were handling it with an oven mitt hoping not to get burned, and we somehow managed to get through the season of SEC-only games without any real hiccups.
Until the final game was played, that is.
After Auburn won its final matchup against Mississippi State, we watched Gus Malzahn dance and celebrate with his team in the locker room, and barely 12 hours later he was fired. That’s it. Gone. $21M richer, and Auburn was one coach poorer.
Then the week that followed was hilarious. Rumor of insubordination and a coup to oust the former head coach from his assistants. Like Caesar, he was surrounded by enemies and didn’t know it. At first, we were getting Kevin Steele. Then it was Mario Cristobal. Then Brent Venables, Tony Elliott, Billy Napier, then Kevin Steele again. We had 1,000 comments on a post about the Oregon Board of Trustees meeting live listen party to discuss Cristobal’s contract extension. It was a wild pre-Christmas time.
Finally, a couple days before Christmas, we got the news that we’d gone completely outside the box and went with Bryan Harsin, a completely non-fambly hire from across the country. To be fair, he brought in some of the necessary pieces. SEC faces in Derek Mason and Mike Bobo, and former Auburn stars in Cadillac Williams and Zac Etheridge.
With the added wrinkle of navigating COVID and vaccines and trying to establish the best possible competitive advantage in regard to all of that quagmire (which Harsin admittedly hasn’t done the best job at), this guy comes into his first game a little under the gun.
I can guarantee that if Auburn goes three-and-out, doesn’t run Tank enough, runs Tank too much, only leads 7-0 after a quarter, heaven forbid TRAILS at any point in this game, gives up double digit points, only scores 31 or something like that... any of those happen and we’re going to be seeing a wildly critical next two weeks ahead of the trip to Happy Valley. If we get there and it’s the same old Bo Nix story, and the offensive line can’t make a push, maybe we blame Gus a bit, but it’ll still fall on Harsin at this point in time. And what happens if we have a COVID outbreak and some hugely important piece of the team has to miss a game or two? What if we lose basically due to quarantine? Is that a fireable offense?
It’s a good thing that we get these two warmup games to start off, because we’re likely going to need them to get people liquored back up on Auburn. Watching us trounce the Zips and Hornets (which we should do easily, they’re both terrible) will always make you smile and give you the feeling that we can win on the road at Penn State. Thankfully, Auburn’s second team would beat Akron by about 30, so let’s enjoy watching the first team hang a fifty-burger on them. If only Terry was still there...