|70K plus attended A Day 2014. photo by Celeste Bell|
This post will probably ramble around a bit. Hang in with me as I try to convey my thoughts on what a tremendous turnaround Gus Malzahn and his staff have navigated within the Auburn football program.
Auburn has been on national television many times this past season. Especially so, when the latter part of the season heated up. When the rest of the country gets fully interested in the teams that are in the national title hunt, and the conference championship games, Auburn was in the picture. Literally.
Winning the South Eastern Conference, sending a player to the Heisman Trophy presentation as a finalist, and playing in the BCS National Championship game, all gave Auburn many millions of dollars in advertising, and a leg up on the recruiting trail.
The Auburn spring football game, known as "A Day" was televised nationally by ESPN. The Auburn faithful came out and gave the world notice. Over 70,000 seats were filled. Media notables and potential recruits alike took notice of the fact that Auburn was where football mattered. The players mattered. It's great to be an Auburn Tiger!
On NFL Draft day, Auburn again received national attention as Greg Robinson was the second player selected. Robinson, the "mauler" offensive lineman was picked by the St. Louis Rams. His highlights were played and replayed all day by every sports network in the country that covers football and the draft. Auburn again was in the national limelight.
Near the end of the first day of the NFL Draft, Auburn got another shot in the arm as Dee Ford was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs. More Auburn highlights, and The Voice of the Auburn Tigers Rod Bramblett excited call of the final sack of Johnny Manziel in this season's game against Texas A & M. "He's running around back there, he's in trouble, he's going down! Tigers win!"
So, the question now is; What happens next for Auburn?
Auburn starts the 2014 season in nearly every preseason poll in the Top 5. That's more exposure. Staying in contention for a newly formed College Football Playoff spot is the goal. If Auburn can manage to earn a spot in the CFP, things really get crazy then. That is even more exposure of the Auburn brand.
From here, there are a ton of hypothetical situations. Maybe another player in New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation. Maybe another shot at a National Championship game. Almost certainly, more Auburn players being taken in the first round of next year's NFL Draft. That just compounds the exposure, all positive for Auburn University, it's athletic department, and of course, the football program.
Yes, It's great to be an Auburn Tiger!