I was at a bar with some friends when Alabama won the title back in early 2010. I didn't want them to win. I rolled my eyes when McCoy went out; the game was over before it really even started. Quick aside: that isn't Bama's fault at all that McCoy got hurt...you play to win. It's not like you have to lay down because the other teams' main guy falls. In fact, you put the foot on the throat even harder.
I wasn't happy that Bama won. I actually thought that the previous year, when Bama started off 12-0, that I couldn't take Alabama winning another title while Auburn was mired in a season of sucktitude. I was wrong about that. Alabama won and that's that.
If anything, the question I had was how in the world had Nick Saban only been there 3 years and had just 2 players from his original roster. But guess what? While he made have diced and shredded the team to get it to the championship to my knowledge he did nothing illegal. My whole point to this is Alabama won the title fair and square. I do not have to like Alabama to acknowledge that.
That's why the vitriol over the Auburn thing still floors me.
What people don't get is that the season was a total shock for any Auburn fan. I don't think you could find an Auburn fan who was expecting to win a national title at the start of last year. We started some JUCO kid who didn't look quite as good as Barrett Trotter did in the Spring game. We watched this guy put on some dance moves and rushed for a ton of yards against nobody state (our first game)...
I went to 4 of Auburn's home games and all of them were thrillers. Clemson (who was sooo close to beating us), Arkansas, LSU (the loudest I have ever heard a stadium), and Georgia. I went to the Iron Bowl and watched the biggest comeback in that illustrious game's history. All the while Auburn fans were buzzing like bees. "Can you believe this season?" I had to make a decision at the start of November, at the height of the Cam Newton media frenzy, about whether I was going to drop coin on a BCS championship package. I had faith and went for it. Then Auburn beat Georgia and Bama...
...by this time the reality that Auburn might go to the title game was real...there was no question about where we were going to be in the polls: if we beat South Carolina we were going to the title. That game was tense...up until the Newton to Adams hail Mary for a TD to end the half. When Spurrier was shown on the sideline shaking his head as if to say, "There's nothing I can do" (this after a pick six from Garcia), the game was over. I ordered airplane tickets not more than 30 minutes after the game ended.
What people don't get is that Auburn fans outnumbered Oregon fans 70-30 at that game. It was a family reunion. Alum from old and new were there. People were so happy that the Tigers were getting a shot to play for the title after many in our nation felt we were wrongfully denied in 2004. By the time game time was ready to start it just felt surreal. I still could not believe that Auburn made it here. Not after all of the heart attack games. Not after Cam-gate. No way we're here. Don't we normally falter in these situations?
What people don't get is that I saw friends at that game who I haven't seen in years. When the game started someone had the idea of letting a bald eagle circle around IN THE STADIUM as a tribute to something or the other. Auburn fans, right on cue shouted "WARRRRRRRR....." and then the eagle landed on a giant American Flag.... "EAGLE! HEY!" There had to be an Auburn guy on the planning committee...
What people don't get is, when Mike Dyer made that ridiculous run to get us to around the 15, then broke off another run that appeared to score that Auburn fans were unhinged...we had an 8 point lead and Newton get stripped from behind (!) This never happened in any other game, it seemed! We found out later that he had a back injury, Oregon got some good pops on him. We gave up a TD and a 2 point conversion to tie the game. But we never doubted we would win. Why would we? The game was tied with about 3 minutes to go...we've been down 24 points...what's driving the length of the field gonna do to phase us at this point, right? (gulp).
What people don't get is when Byrum kicked the field goal to win it, many Auburn fans shed real tears. Alabama wins championships. Auburn never does, right? We're 'little brother'. We're the school where no one knows what state we're in...this does NOT happen to us! But it did. People were shouting WAR EAGLE everywhere all the way out of the stadium. I probably watch the same SportsCenter highlights about 5 times. I could watch it 50 more.
And after the game and for the entire offseason we now have to hear how we cheated to get what we got.
What people don't get is...they would never want for their team to win and not receive the respect they deserve from that. I don't see why people don't get that. It's very, very simple.
To talk about hammers dropping and all of that like it's simply ordained to happen? I would never wish that on another school.
But if people don't get that I will defend my school from those attacks? That's their problem. I'm fighting for a season that I would never want cheapened in any way.