Let's get this out of the way up front...absolutely nothing that is to follow in this post has anything to do with why the Dawgs lost yesterday. Auburn is a better team than Georgia is right now. I think that without a doubt, we are a better team than the 5-6 record would indicate, but Auburn is the #2 team in the country for a reason, and they showed it yesterday. We never even looked like we MIGHT stop their offense at any point after the first quarter, and another very good performance by our offense could not overcome our defensive deficiencies and poor special teams play.
Now....on to the point.
Unlike some Dawg fans, I have never really hated Auburn. There are a lot of reasons for that...some of them as innocuous as the fact that my high school was the War Eagles, so we shared a fight song and the same color scheme. There was also the Pat Dye-Vince Dooley institutional incest. And when I got older and visited their campus, I was always struck by how much it reminded me of Athens. On top of all that, about ten years ago my parents moved to the Opelika area and my father now pastors a church full of Auburn fans who happen to be great people who treat their pastor and their pastor's family very well.
So, yeah...I'm one of a minority of Dawg fans who has always sort of pulled for Auburn a little, as long as they weren't playing us.
Cam Newton is a thief, a liar, and a cheater. These aren't allegations. Not "allegedly". As Captain Jack Ross said, "These are the facts of the case...and they are undisputed". On top of that, over the last couple of weeks there has been a ton of smoke regarding pay-for-play allegations, including the latest news that Cam's father has allegedly admitted soliciting money in exchange for his son's prodigious football talents. Now that part of the story IS still in question, but I ask this: Knowing what we know about the kind of person that Cam Newton has repeatedly shown himself to be, why are we supposed to give him the benefit of the doubt?
Along those same lines, why do we keep being told that this is a "feel good story"? When does the "feel good" part kick in? This story makes me want to take a shower.
And yet...the Auburn administration, coaching staff, and fan base continue to be, in their own words, "all in". Not only are they not embarrassed or ashamed by any of this, they have anointed this player as the face of their program, and seem to be reveling in the controversy, flaunting the fact that they are going to support this individual, NO MATTER WHAT.
As for Nick Fairley, well...I don't understand any fan base who can look at THIS:
..and feel anything other than embarrassed. (By the way...Fairley was NOT "blocked into" Aaron. He was blocked, yes...but he saw Aaron's exposed knee, changed direction, and INTENTIONALLY drove his helmet into his knee). But that's not what I saw or heard last night...instead, I saw Auburn fans (some of whom I have known and respected for a long time) sticking up for him and saying that he was just "playing hard", that this was "just football".
Those who know me know that I am for the most part disgusted by the rule changes that we have seen in recent years that try to "soften" football. I have no issue with football as a violent sport. But what this man (not kid...man) did yesterday was intentionally try to injure an opponent in the most cowardly ways possible. Not only the two plays above...he repeatedly picked up Aaron and drove him into the ground with his shoulder, which is against the rules but repeatedly not called yesterday. (slight caveat...I know it's a rule in the NFL, not sure about the NCAA. But the point remains...there is no reason for that move other than to take advantage of an opponent in a defenseless posture and try to injure him).
I was also told last night that these are just 18-21 year old kids making "mistakes". I mostly agree with that sentiment. That's why it becomes incumbent on the adults surrounding them...their coaches, administration, and the so-called adults in their fan base...to teach them that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about your business, and the wrong way will not be tolerated.
But that's not what's happening.
The Auburn coaching staff, administration, and fan base has made it quite clear that they not only accept these two individuals...they celebrate them. They obviously represent everything that Auburn now wants to be.
Which is why, at least for me, this rivalry can never be friendly again.
I'll end with this...Auburn is 11-0. My Dawgs are 5-6.
Without a doubt...I would still rather be a Bulldog.