Tuesday, July 23, 2013
A New Day
While the Auburn football team is gearing up for "a new day", that will begin on August 31st, the Students/Faculty of the school is also gearing up for "a new day". That new day will begin on August 21, 2013, when the entire Auburn campus will become "smoke-free." This will also apply to game-day. According to the new policy, anyone wishing to smoke while on campus, may do so in their vehicle as long as the windows remain up. I can only envision a lot of smoked up cars on August 31st. (insert snicker, loud laughter, desk pounding...). I applaud the University for making such a bold move. Now comes the enforcement part. All I can say (and I don't smoke, can't stand it, etc.) is, good luck with that one!
Now on to some football. I am not sure, given the daily afternoon rains, that the football television execs who spotted Auburn three consecutive 7:00 pm kickoffs to open the season, did the fans or the team any favors. While night games make for some great afternoon tailgating time and cooler stadium, game-watching time, having a soaked wardrobe is not that much fun.
I am sure that Gus is welcoming the first three opponents that appear on the schedule, plus the fact that all three are at home. Washington State, under second year coach Mike Leach, will certainly look to improve on their 3-9 record of 2012. Coming into the 2013 season, Leach is still in search of a quarterback to run his "Air Raid" system. Couple that with several off-the-field incidents since the close of the 2012 campaign and Washington State may be looking at the cellar of the PAC-12 again.
Arkansas State will roll onto the Plains on September 7th. The Red Wolves are all too familiar to Gus Malzahn, since he came to Auburn from there. It is assured that they will be looking to notch a win for first-year head coach, Bryan Harsin, against their former head-man.
ASU will be minus QB Ryan Aplin, who led his team to a 10-3 record, a Sun Belt Championship, and a GoDaddy.com Bowl victory. The team only returns 12 starters from 2012, 7 on offense and 5 on defense.
The Wolves sport the best offensive and defensive lines in the Sun Belt and appear headed to another league title in 2013.
They will look to senior David Oku to lead them from the running back position. Oku rushed for over 1000 yards and scored 16 touchdowns in 2012. Sophmore receiver J.D. McKissic will also be expected to top his 103 catches and 1000 yards receiving effort from last year.
You can expect ASU to give the Tigers a very stiff test before opening SEC play the following week.
The Bulldog Cowbell from Starkvegas will pull into the station on September 14th and 5th year coach Dan Mullen is feeling some heat. After an 8-5 finish and a 4th place SEC-West mark., Bulldog fans are ready to beat up on some "big boys". Mullen is expecting big things from Tyler Russell. A 28-10 win over Auburn at Davis-Wade Stadium last year would taste even sweeter and make the cowbells ring a little louder inside of Jordan Hare this year.
Russell will operate behind four returning offensive line starters that were outstanding, at times. This is a perfect setup game for some of Auburn's new faces to dip their toes into the boiling SEC West water before heading for a showdown in Baton Rouge.
The smell of football in in the air...39 days, 2 hours and 27, 26, 25, 24...minutes and counting...WAR EAGLE!!!!