Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tiger's Muschamp Ready To Blitz Jordan-Hare Stadium

The name "River Boat Gambler" was given to Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville while at Ole Miss because of the chances he took with trick plays. He may have finally met his match. While Auburn's defense will still line up with a four man front and three linebackers, look for the Tiger defense to be much more aggressive than one year ago.

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Washington State's Odyssey Begins Friday Morning

Washington State coaches have been getting ready for Auburn on the field all summer. But for Cougar athletic department officials it has been all about getting them to Auburn. That odyssey starts Friday morning when Washington State embarks on a five hour flight from Pullman, Washington to Montgomery.

Click here to read the story...

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2006 Auburn Tiger Season Opener Facts

To get you prepared for Saturday night's kickoff with Washington State, here are some interesting facts to get you ready...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Auburn's Cox Looks for Big Season on the Plains

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time all the talk at Auburn was about whether quarterback Brandon Cox could fill the shoes of departed SEC Player of the Year, Jason Campbell. On opening night, Cox showed his potential along with his inexperience as he threw for 342 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions in a loss to Georgia Tech.

Auburn Puts Finishing Touches On Game Preparation

After taking Monday off, Auburn practiced for just under two hours Tuesday, as they begin putting finishing touches on their game plan for Saturday night's contest with Washington State . Auburn kicks off at 6:45 CST from Pat Dye Field and the game will be televised by ESPN 2 and ESPN 2HD.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Auburn's Borges Faces Familiar Foe Saturday Night

Auburn's schedule has been scrutinized by every college football prognosticator in the land. They all point to LSU, Florida and Georgia as the key games in the Tigers run toward a national championship. A game that continues to be overlooked is the one Saturday night at Pat Dye Field.

No Preseason For Auburn Cornerbacks

There will be no preseason warm-ups for Auburn cornerbacks David Irons and Jonathan Wilhite. The two will be tested early Saturday night when Washington State visits Jordan-Hare Stadium. While only winning four games a year ago, the Cougars are no push-overs when it comes to throwing the football.

Cougar Fans In For A Treat Saturday Night

College football on a Saturday night in Auburn, Alabama, is a special experience. I've had the good fortune to attend games at many of the great venues in the SEC and have witnessed the pageantry of many other games outside the conference. But Auburn University has a tradition unique to any other.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Herring is the Straw that Stirs the Drink for Auburn Defense

If Auburn ends up playing in the desert on January 8th it will probably have Will Herring to thank. New defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is rolling the dice in hopes that Herring will be as effective as a linebacker as he was in the role of safety for the past three seasons.There are risks in moving a known commodity to a new position.

Expectation Game Is A Daily Battle For Auburn

Expectations. If you've been following Auburn in the papers or online during the summer you know that's something that has concerned coaches and fans alike. Tiger coach Tommy Tuberville has gone out of his way to well, poor mouth.

Four Auburn Freshmen Avoid Scout Team Assignment

Auburn quietly moved most of its freshman class to the scout team this past week. As expected, highly regarded signees Neil Caudle, Lee Tilley, Michael Goggans, Terrell Zachery and Steven Ensminger all make the move over to the dark side. More than likely, they'll stay there this year barring any injuries to the Tiger starters. Coach Tommy Tuberville would love to give redshirts to each of these players.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

It Still Hurts To Hear Touchdown Auburn!

Auburn radio play-by-play man, Rod Bramlet still screams Touchdown Auburn! after every Tiger score. But it's not the same. Legendary announcer Jim Fyffe has been gone from us three years now and it still hurts.

There's Nothing Like Saturday Night on the Road in the SEC

A lot of the reason Auburn is a preseason top five team is because of its home schedule. With LSU, Florida and Georgia all coming to Pat Dye Field, Auburn is expected to have a decided home field advantage. That got me thinking. Where are the toughest places to play in the SEC? Below is my list. I leave Jordan-Hare Stadium out of the mix to be objective. Let me know your thoughts.

Click here to read the story...

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Friday, August 25, 2006

FSITS Teams Up With AOL Sports

These are exciting times here at Football Saturday In the South. Today, we officially become part of the AOL Sports Network. We have been contracted by the mammoth web site to provide content on Auburn football throughout the season.

AOL Sports is busy building a college football FanHouse where bloggers from the top 40 Division I schools in the country will write. The site is scheduled to officially launch next week. However, today we have begun moving content over to AOL.

What does it mean for those of you that visit FSITS? It means better coverage and more stories. We will continue to post our stories here each day. The only difference you will see is that the entire story will link over to the AOL Sports site.

So please continue to visit here daily. The day's stories will always be here at the same time they are posted on AOL. The benefits for FSITS are huge. We are now linked with the top bloggers in the country. We'll be sharing content throughout the season. This will be especially helpful during game week when we'll take a look at what our opponents are planning.

This weekend, I'll be adding even more college football links for you to visit. We plan on having links to most of the top college football sites in the country.

I want to thank all of you who continue to make FSITS the premier Auburn Football blog. It's going to be even better this season! War Eagle!

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Auburn Brothers Put Past Behind Them

In recent days, Kenny and David Irons have gotten media exposure that few brothers from Dacula, Georgia ever see. Heck, let's face it, they've gotten coverage that hardly anyone sees. Yesterday, USA Today did a feature length spread on the two. Today it's The Tigers feature tailback and defensive back are living large these days...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Courtney Walker... I Mean Taylor Looks For Break Out Season

Courtney Walker will forever be etched into Auburn football lore. No one will ever forget that winning catch in the end-zone against LSU in 2004. Walker? That's right. In the link below from Lindy Sports, Courtney Taylor tells the story of how his last name really should be Walker.

It seems his mom mistakenly put her maiden name on his birth certificate even though she was married to his father and both went by the last name of Taylor. Courtney says they never got around to changing it. In high school his friends nicknamed him Walker. When he came to Auburn everyone got to know him by his unofficial name, Courtney Taylor.

With that explained, Taylor says he's looking to recapture the magic of the 2004 season. Last season against Ball State he suffered a severe high ankle strain. From that point on, Taylor was never able to get back in the groove.

With Devin Aromashodu, Anthony Mix and Ben Obomanu all off to the NFL, Taylor knows this is his year and his team. The first catch he makes this season will be his 100th catch as a Tiger. That's an accomplishment that only six other Auburn Tigers can claim.

Courtney Taylor is without question one of the most talented receivers to ever wear orange and blue. When he's healthy he's without question better than the three senior receivers that left him after last season. If Brandon Cox can continue to throw the way he did last year, Taylor has a chance to join the Iron's brothers on many All-American teams. He could also be the key to the Tigers reaching Tempe, Arizona in early January.

Click here to read the article

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Former Tiger Calling The Plays For Georgia Tech

Here's a great story on former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix. It's good to see him getting a bigger role in the Georgia Tech offense this year. While he's had the title of offensive coordinator, this is the first season where he's actually calling the plays. Head Coach Chan Gailey has kept that responsibility in the past.

I don't know about you, but I'm glad Tech's off the schedule. I still haven't figured out how we lost to them twice with far superior talent.

A Story That Will Change You Forever

Here's one of the most uplifting stories I've ever read or watched. Perhaps you read this column by Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly back in May. It's the story of a father and son and it will forever change your outlook on life. Someone forwarded it to me today and I haven't stopped thinking about it. I thought I would share it with you.

Please read the column first. At the end is a video that goes along with it. Watch it last. It's a powerful read...

Strongest Dad in the World
[from Sports Illustrated, 5/6/06, By Rick Reilly]

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to Pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck. Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right? And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester , Mass. , 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. "He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way,'' Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain.'' "Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad,'' he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

"No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive
field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon?

Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think? Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time'? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

"No question about it,'' Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great
shape,'' one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago.''

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

"The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, "is that my dad would sit in the chair and I would push him once.''

Watch the video...

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USA Today Profiles Kenny and David Irons

In case you missed it in yesterday's USA Today, there was a nice profile on Kenny and David Irons. Both of them have already made preseason All-American teams and are in line to make college football history.

There's a better than average chance they will become the first brothers to make All-SEC and All-American honors in the same season. Kenny is a serious Heisman candidate and David is a consensus preseason all conference selection and on many preseason All-American teams.

As for personal accomplishments, the crowning moment could come next April when both may be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. That would also be a first. David continues to nurse a hamstring injury but should be ready to go on September 2nd against Washington State.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Injuries On The Rise As Tuberville Gets More Physical

It's got to be in the back of Tommy Tuberville's mind. Having lost three of the last four home openers, It's obvious that he wants the team to be more physical at the beginning of the season. Besides the 2004 opening season win over Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn has struggled in their openers against named opponents.

Tuberville seems determined to fix that. Practices have been tougher and more physical this year. As a result, Auburn has seen considerably more injuries in Fall practice this year than in years past. Luckily, none of them have been too serious. But they are starting to add up.

Courtney Taylor has returned to practice but the defense has strict orders to keep their hands off him. David Irons is also back at practice. From talking to some that were at practice yesterday, his hamstring continues to bother him. Don't expect him to be 100% by September 2nd. The good news is that 75% of David Irons is better than 100% of most others. So we should be fine.

Tackle King Dunlap returned to practice Sunday and seems to be OK. Jonathan Wilhite also returned to practice after receiving a scare from a wrist injury. X-rays were done and they were negative.

Two that were held out of practice on Sunday included Will Herring and Merrill Johnson. Herring also continues to fight hamstring problems. Johnson tweaked his ankle but should be ready to go against Washington State.

Despite the risk, I think having a more physical Fall practice is going to pay off for Auburn early in the season.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Oliver Brings Back Bad Memories

Bill Oliver has resurfaced again, this time in a Sunday Birmingham News feature story. The thought of Oliver still sends cold chills down my spine. For me, the 1998 season still stands as the worst in my 37 years of life.

Who can forget the 1-5 start and sudden firing or resignation (you be the judge) of Terry Bowden. Do you remember all the questions and allegations? Did Oliver really tape record meetings with Bowden so that he could turn them over to Bobby Lowder?

Oliver says in the article that he did tape the conversations but only so he could let his wife listen to them. Yeah, and I've been nominated for a Pulitzer prize for this blog.

I never liked Bill Oliver. I never trusted him. He was an excellent defensive mind. I'll even say he bordered on genius. But I never had a good feeling about him. Was it because he came from Tuscaloosa? No. Pat Dye came from there and I felt good about him from day one.

I guess the reason I didn't like him was because of the way he did Alabama. Yeah, that's what I said. I'm not defending Bama. But how can someone who supposedly bled crimson and white leave in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to join its arch rival?

It made me feel uncomfortable. Sure, I was thrilled at the time, but something still didn't feel right. Was there anything sacred with this guy?

Further, why would you leave when your dream job was about to be given to you? I know the relationship with Gene Stallings soured. I know about the salary and the retirement from the state of Alabama. But it still felt kind of weird.

In the end, my heart and head were right. Did Oliver really play a role in getting rid of Terry Bowden? I doubt it. Did Oliver want him gone? My gut still tells me yes although Oliver says no.

The article (see link below) brings up a lot of bad memories. It also makes one realize how far Auburn has come in such a short time. We should all thank David Housel for going after Tommy Tuberville (even if he did try to run him off later). Oliver admits to having had an interest in the job.

How would things have been with Coach Oliver? I don't think we'd be celebrating a 13-0 season and talking about lofty expectations for this year. Let's all breath a sigh of relief and thank the man upstairs for Tommy Tuberville.

Click here to read...

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Sophomore Moves Into Starting Role

One of the biggest concerns facing Auburn this season is at the wide receiver position. Courtney Taylor is expected to lead a group that is thin on experience but huge on potential. That can be dangerous.

However, since practice started a few weeks ago, a little known sophomore is making a big name for himself. Rodgeriqus Smith has gone from being the third string backup to Taylor to starter at the X receiver position. He has now passed Prechae Rodriguez on the depth chart.

The Snellville, Georgia native played in seven games last year and had six catches for 109 yards. Offensive coordinator Al Borges said yesterday, “If we played tomorrow he’d be the starting X receiver. He was today (Saturday). Courtney (Taylor) would be the Z. I told the players from day one--there is no seniority system."

This is great news for the Tigers. If Rodriguez can build on his solid sophomore campaign, Auburn can be become formidable at the position early in the season. This may the key to the Tigers title run.

Below is a link to an excellent article from Inside The Auburn Tigers. In the story, Al Borges gives us an update on where the offense stands after this weekend's practice.

More Polls Released; Auburn Continues To Climb

This past week a number of publications and other media outlets released their preseason polls. It seems that the closer we get to kickoff, the higher Auburn is ranked. What does this all mean? As coach Tuberville says, "It doesn't amount to a hill of beans."

Texas coach Mack Brown doesn't mind being a preseason favorite. ``It's a whole lot easier to get to No. 1 from No. 2 than it is from No. 20." Auburn found that out the hard way two years ago when it started at number 17. You know the rest of the story.

The Associated Press released its preseason poll late last week where the Tigers came in at number four. That's two spots higher than the coaches poll released two weeks ago. Sporting News issued it's college football edition last week and have Auburn ranked third. Sports Illustrated, who for whatever reason is notorious for ranking us low over the years has us at number seven.

Speaking of polls, you may have noticed the new BlogPoll located in the sidebar. The voters of this poll consist of more than 60 college football bloggers from around the country. I'm participating this year. Rankings will be updated weekly. Auburn starts the year at number three.

Brian Cook, who organizes the poll and is publisher of MgoBlog, the popular Michigan blog, has Auburn ranked number one. I'll tell you how I voted later in the week.

The big question now is, can Auburn handle it? Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky wrote an excellent article in yesterday's paper that talks about how important it is for Auburn to answer the call this season.

"Three years ago, a season that started with great expectations ended with snakes on a plane, but that experience made the program stronger," says Scarbinsky. He's absolutely right. It's time for Auburn to take it to the next level. We have to show the nation that Auburn is here to stay.

In other words, it's our time to not only take control of this state, which Auburn has already done, but also take firm control of the conference and be in a position to compete for it all year-in and year-out. Coach Tuberville has us at the door.

Below is the link to the Scarbinsky column.

Kevin Scarbinsky...

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Random Thoughts On The Tigers

Juco transfer Greg Smith participated in his first practice Thursday. Coach Tuberville says the defensive tackle will work out in shorts for the first three days. Judging by the pictures posted today on ITAT, Smith is very overweight. No, he's just plain fat. He says he's been running a mile each day. I find that highly unlikely. Still, Tuberville expects big things from him. Many compare him to T.J. Jackson. Let's hope he can work himself into shape by the LSU game...

I hope everyone received their season tickets today. I got mine around 5:00 p.m. It felt almost like Christmas morning. I still can't believe what they cost. The first game I attended was the Virginia Tech game in 1975. Ticket price: $7.00...

Jason Campbell looked really sharp Sunday night. He's much closer to being ready than I thought. He was very comfortable on the field and certainly had a presence for a player that is still third string. My guess is the offense will be his by opening day next year...

Coach Tuberville commented at practice this week that this year's freshman group is the best he's seen since coming to the Plains. There's no question that this group is the biggest. Every one of them is big for their positions. It's good to see us adding more size...

Will Muschamp gets more and more impressive each day. I know he hasn't coached a down yet but man he has command on the practice field. He coaches every position out there. I honestly think all the hype about him is true. Time will tell...

Coach Tuberville did a masterful job of handling the Sociology Department issue. I also give props to President Richardson. While it's not completely gone, it does appear to be fading fast...

The recent changes announced for this year's Tiger Walks is disheartening. In case you missed it, Auburn will be lining the walk with a barricade on each side this year. The area where the players walk will be roped off. It appears that the days of patting the players on the back and getting up close are over. My question is why? I don't ever recall an incident taking place during Tiger Walk. It's important not to make rules when you don't need them...

Here are a couple of good Auburn stories I came across today...

Sports Illustrated On Campus (Auburn Overview)

Hunstville Times Article on Will Muschamp

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

We've Got A New Look!

We are working on a much needed face lift to Football Saturday In The South. I hope you like the new look. We plan to have everything moved over from the old site in the next few days.

We've also got an exciting new partnership that we'll be announcing later in the week. The partnership will expand our reach and provide us with more resources as the season gears up. As always, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to stop by. Feel free to share your thoughts with us. War Eagle!

20 Reasons To Love College Football

As I was watching SportsCenter tonight and following the antics of Terrell Owens I wondered to myself how anyone could love the NFL over college football. I do take an interest in following the Auburn alumni (Carnell, Ronnie, Jason, Carlos, etc.) but beyond that who really cares.

When I think of pro football I think of spoiled players and head coaches with cheesy mustaches and mullets. When I think of the college game I'm reminded of the great traditions that take place all over the country.

Below is a link to a story by Ivan Maisel of ESPN that gives 20 reasons why the college game is better.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Taking A Look At Washington State

As we move closer to the September 2nd kickoff with Washington State, it's time to take a closer look at the Cougars. I think everyone realizes now that this game is not a lay down. Everyone remembers last year's home opener against Georgia Tech.

In digging around the internet I found some interesting stats on Washington State...

They have won 10 games in 3 of the last 5 seasons (01,02,03).

They have 9 wins and 8 losses away from home over the last 3 seasons.

They beat #5 ranked Texas 28-20 in the Holiday Bowl in 2003. They were 9 point underdogs going into that game.

Last season the Cougars led a 10 win UCLA team 38-21 in the second half, they led Oregon St 30-16 in the second half, they led Cal 38-28 and had the ball in Cal territory with 6 minutes left in the game. They missed two late field goals while trailing Arizona St by three in the fourth quarter. They were stopped on downs at the Oregon five and gave up a last second field goal vs the Ducks, and they LOST every one of these games!!!!!

They averaged scoring 33.5 points per game which is more points per game than Auburn averaged scoring last season.

Against the line since the start of the 2000 season they are 10-7 vs non conference teams and also 10-7 as an away underdog.

They are 4-1 against the spread all time vs the SEC.

They gave up 31.5 points per game last season.

Their turnover margin was -5 last season.

Their returning kicker hit 14 of 22 Field goals last season with a long of 48 yards and three of the misses were from 50 or longer.

The Cougars campus in Pullman is only eight miles from the campus of the University of Idaho.

Martin Stadium holds 37,600 and their average attendance last season was 34,506.

Their head coach, Bill Doba, has been on the coaching staff at Washington State since 1989.

His offensive coordinator has been in that position for 6 years and his defensive coordinator is in his 4th season with the Cougars.

Their quarterback, Alex Brink, has the second highest efficiency rating returning to the Pac 10 this season.

Their star receiver, Jason Hill, has the second highest receiving yards returning to the Pac 10 this season.

The Pac 10 had a winning pct. of 57.1% in non-conference games vs. BCS conference schools.

The Pac 10 was 3-2 in their bowl games and had four teams finish in the Top 25.

Obviously their strength is at the wide receiver position. Jason Hill is a two time All-Pac 10 selection and their other receiver, Michael Bumpus was an honorable mention selection. They will be looking for a new tailback this year which should have an effect on the passing game early in the year.

Below is a link from a Stanford web site that examines the Cougars in-depth and gives you a better understanding of what to expect opening night.

Click here to read...

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Are The Auburn Glory Days Now?

In the link below Randy Kennedy of the Mobile Register makes a solid argument that Auburn is in the midst of its glory days now. This picks up from our post yesterday and takes the argument one step forward. He makes some good points...

"In the glory days of Auburn football, the Tigers won 55 games over a six-year period, an average of 9.2 games per season.

In the glory days of Auburn football, the Tigers won four straight games over rival Alabama and were a combined 9-3 against their two most intense rivals, the Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs.

In the glory days of Auburn football, the Tigers won the SEC West outright or tied for first five times in a six-year period.

In the glory days of Auburn football, the Tigers won 13 games in a single season, two more than they had ever won in a season before."

His logic is sound. But I still say that Auburn's true glory days were back in the 1980's when the Tigers pretty much dominated an entire decade. But I do believe if Auburn delivers on expectations this year then we'll be very close to those elusive glory days...

Click here to read...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Comparing Tuberville To Dye

By Jay Coulter
Football Saturday In The South
Frequent readers have probably figured out by now that I'm a huge Pat Dye fan. Growing up in the 70's and 80's I lived through those difficult years when Bourbon Bryant was leading Alabama to numerous SEC championships and several national ones.

The pain of nine straight loses during your elementary years can leave marks. I still remember the day Auburn hired Dye and the infamous press conference. When asked how long it would take Auburn to beat Alabama, Dye simply replied, "sixty minutes". That was music to the ears of a 12 year-old that was beginning to question why he must love those guys in orange and blue.

Saturday, Dye was officially enshrined into the College Football Hall Of Fame. His 99 wins were without question the most important ones in the programs history. Auburn was at a crossroads in 1981. Alabama and Georgia were at their apex and we couldn't be lower.

How would things have been had Vince Dooley kept his word and flown on to the Plains? What if the Tigers had hired that guy that was turning the program around at Florida State? I know how things would have turned out if we had gone with Pittsburgh's Jackie Sherrill. At the time he was one the hottest coaches in the country, having continued Pittsburgh's winning ways after Johnny Majors left for his alma mater, Tennessee.

We’ll never know the answers to those questions. But I think I can emphatically say that Auburn got the right man. Dye carried on the traditions established by Shug Jordan and then added to them. Jordan will forever be the father of Tiger football and his accomplishments are legendary. But Dye was able to beat Alabama with consistency and dominate a decade (80’s) like no Auburn coach before him.

People are now starting to compare Tommy Tuberville to Pat Dye. I say, not so fast my friend. Tuberville is without question carving out a name for himself at Auburn. The 2004 season will forever be remembered as Auburn's greatest.

Most will argue that Tuberville really deserved the national championship in 2004 and I obviously couldn't agree more. Some will argue that it already gives him a leg up on Dye. For those that do, I recommend you rewind to 1983 and what happened on New Year’s night 1984.

Auburn and Coach Dye were robbed of a national championship that night in what was equally as painful as what happened in 2004. Top ranked Nebraska and #2 Texas both lost that day, leaving #3 Auburn poised to jump to number one. In one of the biggest crimes college football has ever seen, Miami jumped from the number five spot to claim the title.

So I give both Dye and Tuberville equal marks for nearly winning it all. With that said, Dye still holds four SEC championship rings, a Heisman trophy winner, an Outland Trophy winner and a Lombardi Trophy winner. He brought Alabama to Auburn. And more importantly he dominated the Tide until right before he became sick.

Tommy Tuberville has an excellent chance to catch and even pass Pat Dye in terms of wins and championships. And nobody wants that anymore than me. Tuberville is one of the five best coaches in the country right now. Auburn couldn't be more fortunate than to have him at the helm.

But right now, Ralph Shug Jordan and Patrick Fain Dye are still the measuring sticks for Auburn football coaches.

The link below is to Paul Finebaum’s blog and in it he recounts how Auburn ended up with Pat Dye as its coach. For those of you too young to remember, it’s required reading.

Click here to read about Coach Dye...

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Friday, August 11, 2006

David Irons Is An All Around Good Story

Lost in the Sociology circus taking place at Auburn is a great story. Preseason All-American David Irons graduated on Monday - in Sociology. Before you snicker, listen to the whole story. Irons has a pretty severe learning disability. Because of this, he's struggled his whole life in school. He's had to work harder than most to graduate.

While it's easy to make jokes about a degree in Sociology at Auburn, don't forget there is only one class in question. And I'm not sure whether Irons took the questionable class or not. My guess is he probably did.

That doesn't take away from the fact that this incredibly gifted player and person took many other classes and made it through with a degree. He said of his graduation, “I proved a lot of people wrong. A lot of people told me I couldn’t do it, but I did. I am going to walk on Monday as a graduate of Auburn University. It is probably the biggest accomplishment of my life.”

I couldn't agree more David.

Below is a good column from the Gwinnett Daily Post about Irons and the struggles he overcame.

Click here to read...

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Where Do We Rank?

Nobody looks more forward to the preseason publications than me. The feeling I have when I see that first Athlon's or Lindy's at Barnes and Nobles is similar to opening that first present at Christmas. It means that football is almost here or at least within three months anyway.

With that said, the preseason top 25 polls and conference rankings that these publications put out aren't worth the paper they are written on. Save your magazines from this year and then make a few comparisons in January. You'll see what I'm talking about.

How can Ohio State be number one? They have to replace nine starters on defense. And anytime Notre Dame wins at least six games the previous season, they are guaranteed a preseason top 10 ranking the next year. As for Florida, mark my word, they are the most overrated team in the conference. They will easily lose three games this year and maybe four. Chris Leak will still be the same quarterback in the wrong offense.

Despite all of that, we still love to see where we are in the various polls going into the season. Now the SEC has made it easy for us. The link below shows where all the SEC teams rank in the conference in the eight major preseason magazines. As you will see, we've done pretty good. Now the team has to deliver.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fall Practice Is Not What It Once Was

Phillip Marshall writes a nice piece in the Huntsville Times about how Fall practice has evolved over the years (And by the way, why do we refer to practice in August as Fall practice?). Anyway, Marshall writes about Pat Dye's early years on the Plains and how brutal preseason practice was at the time.

These were the days of unlimited practice sessions and no time limits on how long they stayed on the field. Players were not given a lot of water and compassion was hard to come by.

Click here to read...

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What Does Jefferson-Pilot Mean To You?

What do the words Jefferson-Pilot mean to you? Do they conjure up thoughts of taking your first drink at 6:30 in the morning so you'll be drunk by noon? Or do they remind you of getting up at 4:30 in the morning to make kickoff in Auburn at 11:30? Or maybe it reminds you of Dave Rowe, the worst color analysis in the history of college football.

Whatever thoughts you have about Jefferson-Pilot, my guess is they are mostly negative. There are no more dreaded words in all of the SEC than JP. The only thing worse than watching Auburn play on JP is having to watch Dave Neal and Dave Rowe call the Ole Miss - Vanderbilt game.

And if you are unfortunate like most of the state of Alabama then your local CBS affiliate carries the JP broadcast which means that when Auburn and LSU kickoff at 2:30 on September 16th chances are you'll still be watching Vanderbilt and Southern Illinois.

Last week it was announced that Jefferson-Pilot was dead. Gone. History. Then the other shoe dropped. Lincoln Financial has stepped in and taken the reigns from JP. Does it mean that Dave and Dave will still be around? I'm not sure. Does it mean that you'll be drinking Bud Light at Waffle House at 5:30 am? Unfortunately yes. Don't expect a whole lot to change except for the name at the top of the broadcast.

With that said, Clay Travis of CBS Sportsline writes a moving eulogy for Jefferson-Pilot and points out all the wonderful things we love to hate about our JP. Enjoy...

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New Mexico State Heads To Jordan-Hare... Yeah Baby!

New Mexico State joined South Florida on Tuesday as another quality opponent on Auburn's 2007 schedule. The Aggies (are you impressed I knew their mascot?) are being paid close to $800,000 to take the ceremonial ass whipping in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Aggies are coached by former Kentucky head man, Hal Mumme. Expect New Mexico State to throw for 600 yards and lose by 52. Get your tickets now while you still can.

Click here to read the juicy details...

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's Time To Get Comfortable With Lofty Expectations

I always wince when I read a pre-season publication that has Auburn ranked in the top 5. Let's face it, we don't handle these lofty expectations very well. I still have nightmares over what happened 20 years ago in Knoxville when Auburn went into the game with Tennessee ranked number one in the land. After going through three quarterbacks in four quarters, our season was essentially over.

Now we are faced with lofty preseason expectations again. That's a good thing right? It does say a lot about a program when you can be a perennial top 10 team each year.

I was visiting yesterday and looked over their bowl projections for the 2006 season. I kept scrolling down the page and Auburn was nowhere to be found - until I got to the end and that's where I saw it. Auburn is picked by the respected web site to play for the national championship against USC. Thanks but no thanks for the publicity.

CFN had this to say about the Tigers, "Auburn is due. Like LSU, Texas and Ohio State over the past few years, Auburn has been knocking on the door long enough to finally get the right breaks to get a shot at the title. With many still feeling the Tigers got screwed over a few years ago, the voters would give the Tigers the nod if everything else is equal. The schedule works out well getting LSU, Florida and Georgia at home, but there can't be a loss to Alabama in the regular season finale."

They make a good point. We absolutely have been knocking on the door. Take away the bowl game and last year was pretty darn incredible. Tommy Tuberville does have us knocking on the door every year. Don't look now, but Coach Tuberville has a chance to be on equal footing with the guy that the field is named for.

I'm not saying he's in Coach Dye's league - yet. We are two or three more recruiting classes away from having a chance to compete for the national championship on a yearly basis. That's not bad for a guy who was fired two years ago.

Click here to read the College Football bowl projections...

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Who Are The Most Well Known Tigers?

By Jay Coulter
Football Saturday In The South

On Friday’s show, ESPN radio’s Colin Cowherd ranked the most well known coaches in the country – not the most successful, just the best known. He ranked John Madden first. He ranked Madden first not because of his on-field success (he did win a Super Bowl) but because of his name recognition as a broadcaster and most importantly, his video game franchise. It’s hard to argue with that choice. Other names that made the list included Mike Ditka, Dick Vitale and Lee Corso. They all made names for themselves more through television than coaching.

That got me thinking. Who are the most well known Auburn athletes in the country? Again, we are looking not for the most successful on-field athletes but the most well known. We are also talking about today and not in year’s past. Here’s my list. Please feel free to share yours with us…

1. Charles Barkley - He is perhaps the most well known athlete to come out of Auburn University. The fact that he’s a basketball player makes the accomplishment all the more amazing. After retiring and being named one of the NBA’s 50 best players of all time, Barkley continues to grab headlines through his role on TNT’s NBA coverage, his numerous books and his many appearances on ESPN and other networks.

2. Bo Jackson – Despite dropping out of the public eye after his playing days, Bo Jackson continues to be a national figure. For a 2-3 year period in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Bo Jackson was arguably the most famous athlete in the world. Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky actually appeared in Bo’s commercials. His Nike commercial campaign is still one of the most famous of all times. Had Bo decided to stay in the public eye he would easily be the most well known athlete in Auburn history.

3. Tim Hudson – The former Auburn pitcher and SEC Player of the Year made a name for himself after being drafted by the Oakland A’s. During his tenure in Oakland, he along with Barry Zito made up the best pitching duo in the major leagues. While his fame has dimmed somewhat since joining the Braves, Hudson continues to be one of the marquee names in Major League Baseball.

4. Carnell Williams – After leading the Tigers within an eyelash of the national championship two years ago, Cadillac enters his second NFL season as one of the hottest running backs in the league. Named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year last season, Carnell has become a regular of ESPN Sportscenter and a darling of the national media.

5. Tommy Tuberville – While technically not an athlete, Coach Tuberville should be on this list. Often mentioned with Georgia’s Mark Richt as the top coach in the SEC, Tuberville is making a name for himself nationally. The way he handled Auburn’s case for the national championship two year’s ago and the way he continues to recruit and win has made Tuberville one of the top names in the college game.

Other big names that come to mind in no particular order include: Rowdy Gaines, Ronnie Brown, Shug Jordan, Pat Dye, Pat Sullivan, Stephen Davis, Mark Bellhorn and Marquis Daniels. I know there are glaring omissions. Please feel free to set me straight.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tuberville Says Tigers Had A Good Team Practice

Auburn held their fourth practice yesterday and Tiger coach Tommy Tuberville gave the session mixed reviews. “We had a good team practice today,” he said. “We had a lot of mistakes, but that is going to happen. We are looking forward to tomorrow (Sunday) to get a little more contact and physical stature to the practice.”

Auburn practices today at 4:30 CST and will take tomorrow off. Click the link below to read more of's coverage of yesterday's practice.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Auburn Ranked 6th in Coaches Poll... Does It Mean Anything?

As expected, Auburn is the highest rated SEC team in the pre-season USA Today Coaches Poll released today. The Tigers come in ranked number 6. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. I think we all learned that lesson in 2003.

To prove my point further, the coaches have Ohio State the preseason number one. Nevermind that the Buckeyes have to replace nine of their 11 starters on defense. As for the rest of the SEC, Florida comes in at number eight and LSU rounds out the SEC top ten at number nine.

The football writers will not release their first poll until the fourth week of the season. Seems sensible to me. But it doesn't matter; remember the AP poll no longer counts in the BCS. My how times have changed...

I'm glad to be back blogging regularly with you. I knew this week was going to be tough to post. I'm glad it's over. I'll be with you every day from here on...

If you have little one's who are very patient, Auburn is holding its annual fan day tomorrow from 3-5 CST at Beard-Eaves Coliseum. I made the mistake of taking my kids over two years ago and because of the crowd we got nowhere close to any of the football players. However, we did get some quality time and autographs from the women's soccer and softball teams. You've been warned...

Auburn's game at Mississippi State on September 9th has been picked up by the network formerly known as Jefferson Pilot (I have no clue who's sponsoring this year). Kickoff is set for 11:30 am CST. That's fine with me because I've never known anyone who spent a weekend in Starkville and said they had a lot to do. With a little luck, I can be back in East Alabama by 9:00 p.m...

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alabama In Struggle To Keep Up With Auburn

We've been saying here at all along. Alabama can no longer legitimately claim to be in the same league with Auburn. Whether it be athletics, academics or overall student enrollment, Auburn has become the dominant university in the state of Alabama.

I first wrote about this after last year's Iron Bowl. It was incredible the number of emails I got from very upset Alabama fans (I say fans because most who pull for the Tide have never set foot on campus). The language used in those emails made them impossible to re-print. But believe me, they were hilarious.

But now comes independent confirmation that what we've been saying at FSITS is true. Last week Knoxville News writer John Adams wrote the following after Alabama's appearance at SEC Media Days...

Bama better, but still chasing Auburn
By John Adams
July 26, 2006

HOOVER, Ala. - It wouldn’t be SEC football media days if there weren’t a gaggle of Alabama fans hanging out in the lobby of the Wynfrey Hotel, hoping to get a glimpse of their favorite sportswriters.

Just kidding.

The fans were there because the Tide was there. First came running back Ken Darby and defensive back Ramzee Robinson, Alabama’s two player representatives at the media gathering; then came head coach Mike Shula.

As a woman hit Darby up for an autograph, I overheard her saying a relative had named her baby after Darby. Such are the fruits of a 10-2 season, Alabama’s first winning record since 2002.

A young Alabama fan was wearing a T-shirt with the headline: "Got 12?," a reference to Alabama’s 12 national championships, some of which were legitimate and others which might has well have been determined by an impromptu survey at a Tuscaloosa barbershop.

Tide fans always have a presence at the media days, but the turnout was noticeably larger Wednesday. Success will do that, especially when it follows the Dark Ages of Alabama football. Before last season, Alabama had been embarrassed by two coaches (Mike DuBose and Mike Price), abandoned by a third (Dennis Franchione) and turned in to the NCAA by a fourth (Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer). Oh by the way, it also lost 15 games in two years.

The losing stopped in 2005. The Tide posted a record that might have been acceptable under Gene Stallings, if not Bear Bryant. It was quite a year for the second-best football program in the state of Alabama.

While the Tide has been battling to overcome UT, the NCAA and the sins of past coaches, Auburn has established itself as one of the country’s most solid programs. It also has established its superiority over Alabama with four consecutive victories. "We’ve been hearing about that (since last season’s game)," Robinson said Wednesday. "We were still hearing about it in Dallas (at the Cotton Bowl). "That’s just more motivation, more fuel to our fire. We get so much negative energy about it. So we’re really looking forward to that game."

All the anticipation and motivation won’t change the facts. Auburn has surpassed Alabama decisively.

Who has the best coach? Auburn’s Tommy Tuberville.

Who has the hottest assistant coach? Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges.

Who has the more proven quarterback? Auburn’s Brandon Cox.

Darby gives Alabama an experienced, talented running back. Kenny Irons gives Auburn a better running back. Alabama’s best receiver is Tyrone Prothro. His career is still in doubt after suffering a horrific injury in last year’s Florida game. Auburn’s top receiver is Courtney Taylor. He’s not only one of the best wide receivers in the SEC; he’s healthy.

When The Sporting News ranked the SEC by position in its preseason football publication, Auburn ranked higher than Alabama at every position. Its advantage on offense was overwhelming. TSN ranked Auburn’s offensive backfield first, its receivers fourth and its offensive line first.

Alabama’s respective rankings were seventh, eighth and sixth.Got the message? "Got 12?" is history. Here’s reality: Alabama has emerged from the Dark Ages, only to find itself in Auburn’s shadow.

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