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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Navy Shaker

It is no secret that I am extremely superstitious when it comes to sports, especially Auburn sports. I will change seats, shirts, or the location from which I am watching the game. I wear the same bracelets on THURSDAYS that I wore when we won the day of the national championship game. I am not sure why I started wearing them on Thursdays.  I always buy a game program. I would not leave work early the day of either national championship game because I left work early once for an Outback Bowl and we lost. I could go on and on. I am sure you all understand. 

When I saw that the game was NAVY, I groaned to myself.  Actually, I did more than that. I texted my friend Ashley, who was going to the game with me. My actual text was, "Awwwww, crap. It's a navy game.' She responded with, "We're doomed!" So far, my experience with navy games has been quite bad. I especially considered the navy shakers to be cursed. I texted her again, "Maybe we will be ok as long as there are not navy shakers."

Now, I will say. Campus held a certain buzz Saturday that I had not experienced in quite some time. I would say the atmosphere was similar to the 2010 Georgia game.We got there and parked in our normal lot, but it was nearly full. We rode the bus over, and everyone was very pumped.  I have been extremely sick, so I could not do a lot of running from place to place, so we went to eat at Mama Goldbergs then went to the bookstore. The bookstore was CA-RAZY from everyone trying to buy sweatshirts since it was so cold. Campus was still buzzing. I could not put my finger on it, but things seemed to feel different.  I bought my game program and we went on in the stadium.

BLUE. SHAKERS. I refused to get one. I would not even touch them. 

I was nervous, but the student section was PUMPED UP. They really were. I was excited to see how excited they were, even if they were waving around those cursed navy shakers. It seems like every game I have ever been to where those navy shakers are out, we have lost. We talked with some of the people around us for a while when 3 late teen Georgia fans show up for the seats on the end of the row. I was a little worried they might be obnoxious but they were very polite and friendly.  They were not dressed for the weather at all. The kid closest to us told us that he lives nearby and roots for Auburn on every game except Georgia. Of course, everyone knows what happened. When Auburn went ahead, the kid nearest to us just put his head in his hands. He was a thin little fella, so he was freezing. Everyone around him offered Auburn jackets or sweatshirts but he declined. The lady in front of him had  a jacket that did not have anything on it and he accepted. They players came out and went over for their prayer in the far corner of the stadium. I wonder why that is their spot?

We're up by quite a bit. I am still worried about those navy shakers. 

When we scored after halftime, the kids leave. He had been muttering about freezing for no reason and there was no way they would beat Bama. He handed back the jackets and left. He really was polite. We scooted over a little and spread out since we had been jammed in like sardines.  Immediately there was a good play that went UGA's way. I honestly do not remember what it was. I moved back to my original seat. I told the lady on my other side how "traditional" I was. She laughed and said she was the same way. I pointed to the navy shakers and told her I was worried about them. 

Of course, it became evident we were going to win. Watching our boys have so much fun dancing was a highlight of my year. I mean it. It was awesome to watch them. I am not the biggest fan of the jumbotron because I miss the band playing all the time. However, I will say that the DJ fella was SPOT ON with his selections. When he played "Too Late" on the review of the play made my laugh a lot! The plays, the players, the songs were all fabulous. It was a great atmosphere and I had a blast. 

Fast forward to the end of the game. I made sure to grab a navy shaker! I have it on my special shelf. Why are we so superstitious? I cannot explain it, but at least I have one more I can mark off the list!!

Christy:1 Navy Shaker:0
War Eagle, everybody!

Jeff Holland. Isn't he fun?

P.S- I stayed in my original seat the remainder of the game, jammed up against folks I do not know when there was plenty of room to spread out. Maybe that will be my next worry that I conquer!

Monday, November 13, 2017

College Football Playoff Chaos

Wow! Just wow! Miami exposed Notre Dame, Auburn routed the SEC East champion, Ohio State deflated Michigan State's dreams, and Oklahoma ousted TCU from any real playoff conversation. What a weekend.

When last we visited this subject we had no less than 14 teams still vying for the 4 coveted spots in the playoff. This past weekend saw a complete mess made of some teams hopes. 

I will give you my take on the chaos, and what I believe all this means as it relates to playoff potential.
Chart courtesy of @AURobUSA

Pac 12
Stanford knocking off Washington really hurt the Huskies chance at being in the playoff. The Huskies were 9th last week. Hard to see them anywhere below 15th with just 3 weeks left in the season. 

The only team in the PAC 12 still with a chance? USC. The Trojans need to handle UCLA convincingly, then do the same to their opponent in the championship game. Even then, they will need some help. Namely have teams in front of them to lose. 

Big 12
Oklahoma throttled TCU putting up all 38 of their points in the first half, and cruising to victory. The Horned Frogs may still be mathematically in the race, but I doubt they have what it takes to take Oklahoma down, assuming they can make the championship game in the first place. 

The Sooners however, should they take care of business may well have punched their ticket with the big win.

Wisconsin rolled Iowa, while Ohio State piled up on Michigan State. The advantage is to Wisconsin at the moment. Being undefeated, and ranked 8th last week, the Badgers need only to take care of business by winning out, and they "should be" in.

Meanwhile in Columbus, the Buckeyes are making a statement that they don't want to be left out. There is zero room for error for the Buckeyes.

Should they win out, and beat Whisky in the Big 10 championship game.  They may well do enough for an invitation.

Auburn took a punch to the snout on the opening drive, and then rebounded well to take a bite out of the Dawgs. Meanwhile a visiting Alabama had to rely on some 4th quarter heroics from its QB Jalen Hurts, to rally and beat MIssissippi State in StarkVegas. 

It's simple for Alabama. Win out and they are a shoe-in. Lose, and the road gets bumpy. Same for UGA. They still have everything they hoped for in front of them. The Dawgs can ill afford another let down. 

I still believe Auburn has an outside chance to make the playoffs, but like USC, they will need lots of things to happen in front of them. 

Clemson and Miami are the class of this conference. Seems a sure bet these two will play for a winner takes all seat at the CFP table, in the ACC championship game.

Central Florida won, and is making a case for inclusion. Notre Dame let the moment slip through their fingers, and are now out of the picture. 
artwork by @AURobUSA 

A new CFP poll is due out Tuesday night.

My Top 10 CFP rankings: 
1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Wisconsin
4. Miami
5. Oklahoma
6. Auburn
8. Georgia
9. Ohio State 
10. UCF

Until next time......

Auburn Rocks Georgia!

artwork created by @AURobUSA

It's simple really. Georgia came out and set the tone on their first drive. They punched Auburn in the mouth, and scored a touchdown. Then Auburn punched back. Repeatedly. Until in the end, it was a rout of the number one ranked team. The final score was Auburn 40 UGA 17.

This game meant something different for the Auburn fans. Much like the LSU game, there are some heavy weights that needed to be lifted from our backs as well as off the backs of our team. Losing to LSU left us a terrible attitude, and with many questions as to whether this coaching staff understood what beating our rivals meant to us. 

I'm pretty sure they got the message.

Coach Malzahn and his staff have made efforts to ensure the stinging loss to the Bengal Tigers would not be repeated any time soon. This team has finished their opponents in the second half. 

Against Arkansas the Tigers scored 35 points, 28 in the 3rd quarter alone. With a 21-13 lead at the half, Auburn came out in the second half and scored 21 more against Texas A and M. Saturday against their oldest rival, they poured on 24 points in the second half. 

Every Auburn fan is well pleased with these type performances. It showed in the glow of the after party. 
photo by Albert Cesare of Montgomery Advertiser

Somewhere in all of this joy and chaos come the realization this Auburn team is getting better. They are not great yet, although they played extremely well against Georgia, they were not perfect.
Courtesy of the official Auburn Tiger Football page:
Team TotalsUGAAU
First Downs1325
Net Yards Rushing46237
Net Yards Passing184251
Total Offense Yards230488
Fumbles: Number-Lost2 - 11 - 0
Penalties: Number-Yards7 - 755 - 29
Punts - Yards8 - 3574 - 158
Possession Time26:5433:06
Third-Down Conversions3 of 14 (0.214)4 of 13 (0.308)
Fourth-Down Conversions2 of 2 (1.000)0 of 0 (0.000)
Sacks By: Number-Yards2-124-37
Field Goals1-2 (0.500)4-4 (1.000)

There are still a lot of goals and dreams to work toward. Only way to the top is to take that first step upward. Saturday at home this Auburn team took a step up. Let's keep climbing guys. We haven't reached the top just yet.

War Eagle!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Where Legends are Born

When the College Football Playoffs released their first rankings it was at that point I knew that our Coach had been right. Now a lot of people got on Coach Malzahn and I was one of them because of the statements he made at the half of LSU and after the game. With that said either Gus Malzahn is the luckiest guy in the world or he may just be the “Mad-Visor.”

But here we are, handled business in College Station by defeating Texas A&M convincingly and last night doing something that really no one gave a shot to do, not even Cole Cubelic a former lineman for the Auburn Tigers. We did not only win last night but we defeated Georgia, we dominated them on defense and we gashed them on offense. If not for a Special Team’s muffed punt by them I would say they won that aspect of the game hands down and we need to clean up our special team’s coverage. We have got to contain the flipping of the field on kick/punt coverages.

I know you are probably saying what does all this have to do with where legends are born. I am getting to it! 😊 Yesterday afternoon we probably witnessed one of the best displays of rising to the occasion from our Auburn Tigers. Specifically, Stidham, Stove, Slayton, Holland, Davidson, Brown the O-Line that created the plow to gas the UGA D-Line and strip away the moxy they had been exhibiting all year. We held UGA who was proclaimed an UNSTOPPABLE running attack to 46 yards on 32 attempts for a paltry 1.4 yards/carry far off their 4.7 yards/carry average coming into the game. We also contained their entire offense to their lowest point total all year (which was 20 previously @ Notre Dame) and only 230 yards of total offense the first time they were held under 300 yards all year.

One player stood out. The player that comes to the game and has made a commitment to the team, the fans and this great institution that he will run until the game is over and that is #21 Kerryon Johnson. I am sure we all remember back in September when he took off and pulled up limping after a spectacular run…look at how far he has come. He has participated in 8 of the 10 games and is throwing up numbers that backs in 10 of 10 games are not even coming close to. He is also carrying that rock with the help of his team and using a style of running that must have that other league’s scouts foaming at the mouth. His patient running style is amazing to watch, jump cuts, power, stiff arms, tip toeing the lines and the yesterday laying out and scoring the 39th point of the contest that popped the UGA balloon for good.

His stats against Georgia were gaudy and he deserves to be mentioned in the Heisman race. Do not forget we did not have him against Clemson. Continuing at this pace and this impact is how legends are born…

We had 5 games between us and a case for a College Football Playoff berth and 2 of them are behind us. All 5 games have equal weight lose one and done. This team continues to do what needs to be done and that is learn that complacency and arrogance will bite you in the ass even with a 20-point lead. Most importantly though we need to continue to evolve and being better than we were the day before. Need to win every 1 on 1 and we need to create chaos through unpredictability when it is done right, wouldn’t everyone agree it is so, so sweet? I think so! So, continue to support, cheer and embrace this moment you may be watching a legend being born…

War Eagle everyone and no matter what I am always proud to be an Auburn Tiger ‘95

All graphics are done by me I have no rights to the logos or copyrighted elements nor do I claim any.

Friday, November 10, 2017

UGA Hate week Graphics and Hype Vid!

Here we are again the day before the UGA game! I tell you what! Their fans sure are confident they are going to destroy our Auburn Tigers in Jordan-Hare.

We do have our work cut out for us but I do think if we play our game and the Family does their part we will be OK!

Here are some of the graphics and a video I created for this week.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them!

War Eagle! #BeatUGA

No mission is impossible for the Auburn Tiger Football Team!

Monday, November 6, 2017

CFP: Trying To Make Sense Of It All

It's incredibly early still to try and predict who, or what team actually, will make the College Football Playoff(CFP). 

After 9/10 weeks the picture is more clear of who won't be in, than who will be. We will try to offer some clarity on the subject. Ready? Let's give it the old college try.

Artwork courtesy of @AURobUSA

First we will start with the Big 12. 

Teams from the Big 12 that won't be in the CFP: Kansas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. 

Team(s) still with a chance to make CFP: Oklahoma, TCU

Oklahoma and TCU will play next Saturday at 8pm ET at Oklahoma. This may very well be a precursor to the rematch in the Big 12 Championship game. 

The PAC 12 presents a challenge in that there are two teams with just 2 losses, and one team with just one loss. 

Teams from the PAC 12 that will not make the CFP: Colorado, UCLA, Utah, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon State, California, Oregon, and Stanford. 

Outside chance: Washington State, and Southern Cal.  

The Washington Huskies, in our opinion are the only team left in the PAC 12 with a real shot at the CFP, if they win out. They started 12th in the first CFP poll of 2017. 

The B1G or, Big 10. Whatever. This conference is very competitive amongst themselves. Other than one unbeaten team, there are four teams with two losses.

Teams from B1G that won't make the CFP: Indiana, Maryland, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, Nebraska, Northwestern, & Iowa. 

Outside chance:  Ohio State

Best chance: Wisconsin Badgers. 

An undefeated Wisconsin is in. Period. Ohio State may have shot themselves in the foot this past weekend getting drummed by Iowa. The Hawkeyes can spoil the Badgers chances by taking them down this coming weekend. That game is at 3:30 pm ET.

The ACC is the defending National Champion conference, with Clemson the current Champion. While Clemson is currently ranked higher, it's the Miami Hurricanes that sit undefeated.  The winner of the ACC should advance to the CFP, unless a hapless Florida State knocks off Clemson this coming weekend. The Tigers will play the Hurricanes for the ACC Championship.  

Teams not in the CFP: North Carolina, Duke, Pitt, Ga. Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Syracuse, Wake Forest, FSU Boston College, and NC State.

Teams still in: Clemson and Miami

The SEC is heavy two teams with a potential contender still in the hunt for a playoff spot. 

SEC teams not in: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Miss State, LSU, Arkansas, Texas A and M, Florida, South Carolina, and Missouri. 

Outside chance: Auburn

Best chance: Georgia, Alabama

Some of the football pundits are claiming that Auburn controls its own destiny. "Win out and they are in." I don't see it being that simple. The Tigers could be in, but will need some help outside of the conference. 

We must factor in a Notre Dame team that has only one loss. The loss was to Georgia in the opening game, by a single point. The Fighting Irish play Miami this coming weekend at 8pm ET

Another outlier team? University of Central Florida. The Knights are 8-0 and ranked #18 in the first release of the CFP poll in 2017. One factor working against them would be the quality of their opponents. Still, an undefeated team at the end of their schedule is hard to ignore.

Georgia and Alabama are heralded as the two best teams in college football at the moment. If that is true, then they should both easily handle a 2 loss Auburn. The Tigers have arguably played one of the toughest schedules in all of college football. Clemson, LSU, UGA, and Bama. Potentially setting up a rematch with UGA in the SEC Championship. Should Auburn win the SEC, they could easily play Clemson again. Win all of those, well, hard to argue they didn't belong.

Artwork courtesy of @AURobUSA

So, the question remains. Who's in? In no particular order, the teams with a chance at the CFP: Notre Dame, Miami, UCF, Clemson, Oklahoma, TCU, Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Washington State, Washington, and USC.

14 in all. It's gonna be a fun ride to the 'ship this season. Hold on.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ok Mr. or Ms. Auburn Fan, How Do You Want to be Remembered?

You all know by now I wear my heart on my sleeve and I have a passion for everything Auburn. I love Auburn the village, I love the institution and I love all our teams! Even though we go through high times and low times. I love the special bond that share with my fellow alumni and fans that are a part of the Auburn family.

Now, what social media has introduced is a running record of what you say, how you feel and your perception of any given situation if you so choose to make it public for the world to see.

As I was reviewing this Sunday morning I noticed that I was blocked on Twitter by someone who is an Auburn forever person. Now a couple of things came to mind. First of course is that I hope I did not offend, or hurt someone in the "Family." It is never my intention to do that. Second was how can I use this event as a positive instead of a negative and it got me thinking.

It has been a very interesting week, let's recap it quick. Auburn Basketball lost to a D2 team, Coach Gus Malzahn announced we had lost Kam Pettway for the rest of the year, Auburn Volleyball beat Bama, Auburn Equestrian came up a smidgen short at Texas A&M, Jay Jacobs, an Auburn Man his entire life, decided to step down as AD and our Football team kept a dream alive by handling business at Texas A&M. That my friends and family in my opinion is one heck of a week!

So, what do we do with all this? Simple, stay positive. Now I am not going to regurgitate a bunch of fine content out there on the Power of Positive Thinking, and there is a lot, but all of them have one thing in common: To achieve success, you must be positive, you must see it happen in your mind first, you have had to believe, you had to commit, and you must execute. Also, positivity breeds positivity. I can tell you when I see two followers on my feed getting negative with each and lose sight of the debate it makes me sad. We are all Auburn Family and we all have a right to our opinions but one thing you should ask is am I being positive and being a builder of great things or am I creating friction and potentially blocking progress as others try and support our institution, our teams and our family reach goals that no one thought we ever could achieve or give us a chance to achieve.

People will remember who the builders are, and they will almost always forget the blockers. They will navigate around the blockers to be with the builders. I hope that I am always thought of as an Auburn builder and supporter and never want to be a blocker.

So how do you want to be remembered? Or potentially forgotten? One thing for sure is people can Google search and make their own judgements of what you said on social media and how you said it. I know I am not perfect but when it comes to Auburn, I believe in Auburn and love it.

Now let’s support our team because they have business in Jordan-Hare on November 11th, 2017 and that is to make someone’s 0 disappear. We believe in the power of positive.

War Eagle y’all!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Auburn Asserts its Intentions in College Station

Artwork by @AURobUSA 
On a day when "Special Teams" made some big plays, and Jarrett Stidham would have his best performance thus far, Auburn took Texas A and M to school with a 42-27 win. The Tigers stayed alive in the CFB Playoff hunt.

Jarrett Stidham went 20 of 27 for 268 yards and 3 TD's. All without a single INT.

The Aggies scored first, then had the lead most of the way through the second quarter until Auburn decided to insert its intentions. 

With 1:43 left in the first half, Stidham hit Darius Slayton for a 54 yard TD in stride. The extra point put the Tigers up 14-13. 

Coaching Assistant Jonathan Wallace celebrates after the blocked punt recovery for a TD

The defense held, and with 49 seconds left in the half, Auburn blocked the punt and recovered the ball in the endzone for another TD. The Aggies Special Teams blocked two FG attempts by Daniel Carlson. 

"We need to come out in the second half like our hair is on fire." - Gus Malzahn

This statement by Coach Malzahn says volumes about the psyche of this Auburn football team. After blowing a 20-0 lead in Baton Rouge, this Auburn team has asserted its intention to control the outcome of the games since, in the second half. 

As in the second half against Arkansas, the Tigers started the second half making a statement. On 3rd down with 4 to gain, Stidham rolled out and hit Ryan Davis for the TD that put Auburn ahead for good. 

Stats provided by

Team TotalsAUTAMU
First Downs2313
Net Yards Rushing228143
Net Yards Passing268200
Total Yards496 393
Fumbles: Number-Lost0 - 01 - 0
Penalties: Number-Yards3 - 342 - 20
Punts - Yards5 - 2376 - 259
Possession Time35:4424:16
Third-Down Conversions6 of 14 (0.429)6 of 18 (0.333)
Fourth-Down Conversions0 of 1 (0.000)1 of 2 (0.500)
Sacks By: Number-Yards1-52-9
Field Goals0-2 (0.000)2-2 (1.000)

Next up are the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia clinched the SEC East today when they won against South Carolina, and Kentucky lost to Ole Miss.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

We are the Great State of Auburn

What a week again! Auburn being ranked #14 in the initial CFB rankings has given them an unbelievable opportunity. It is time to rekindle the “State of Auburn” Tee shirts and ensure everyone in CFB realizes that We are Auburn no matter where we are, and it is absolutely a state of mind, body and spirit! It was obvious that y’all (you all) believed there was some type of orange and blue revolution going on to rename states and even a couple of countries to Auburn but that was not it.

Wishing Sammie the best in Cleveland!

So how do I know it is misunderstood? By this type of “tweet” of course (below) because if y’all understood it you would know how utterly ridiculous this tweet was and that a single play or a single game does not ever affect the “State of Auburn.”

I had the privilege and the honor to become a part of the Auburn family back 1992 when I chose Auburn as my University to receive my U.S. Navy commissioning after serving 8+ years on active duty. What I learned in my 3 years at Auburn is that it truly is the loveliest village on the plains and the family that you become a part of is like no other. I was lucky enough to experience Auburn Football from field level and was able to be side by side with Aubie while I was McGruff the crime dog for the APD. Some truly AUsome memories and a wife!

Little did I know that once I was there that something special was happening and that I was becoming a part of a larger family. A family that believes and lives by a creed and that will support each other like no other. Your probably saying sure but this is no different from any other University, but it is.

How do I know this? Well, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel and travel a lot for the past 20 years. In those 20 years I have lived in Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Washington State, Michigan and now in upstate New York and there is no spirit that burns stronger than the orange and blue spirit of Auburn within its fans. I have also traveled to many destinations from Tokyo to Canada and at least 35 of the fifty states. I have been through at least 50 or 60 different airports since I left Auburn in 1995. I drive, I fly and even been on a few bullet trains. Two things remain constant in my travels, the first; I am always wearing something Auburn, a hat, a pin or a shirt. Second when someone sees me, or I see them a “War Eagle” is shared, a smile and feeling of belonging overcomes both of us. All too often as travelers moving from A to B are focused to getting to where they need to be for the next point in the journey but on many occasions, we stop, chat and talk. We reminisce about when we graduated, our majors, how we miss Toomers Corner or Momma Goldbergs and of course that wonderful little village. We also almost always agree it has been far too long since we have been back there.

So, when the Auburn Family declares a State of . . . whether it be Great Britain, South Africa or even where I live right now here in New York. . . 

we have no intention of introducing a bill into that state’s senate to change the name to Auburn what it means is somewhere in those boundaries there is someone who we share a bond and a belief with because we were blessed enough to experience all the wonderful and unique experiences that Auburn has to offer. It is… are you ready? It is a State of MIND! Most importantly when you believe in Auburn you become a part of the Auburn Family forever and it is a family that I am a proud and blessed member to be a part of and like a family is, I have every one of my brothers and sisters backs. 

War Eagle! (and yeah that is our battle cry and not a mascot CBS)