Auburn is going to enjoy this. Big Time

Glendale, Ariz.—There was joy. There was relief. There were smiles of happiness. There were tears. There was incredible exhilaration. There was utter exhaustion.

 
You could see it all on the floor of University of Phoenix Stadium in the aftermath of Auburn’s 22-19 victory Oregon which gave the Tigers their first national championship since 1957.

 
Ted Roof, who took more than his fair share of criticism as Auburn’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons, had his arms around his two sons as confetti rained down around him. The former Georgia Tech captain could not be happier. For it was his defense that held the mighty Oregon offense to only 19 points, 30 points below its average.

 
Oregon’s offense had 12 possessions in the game and Auburn’s defense got nine stops: five punts, two interceptions, and what will become two very big plays in Auburn football history: In the second quarter Mike Blanc stuffed Oregon’s LaMichael James in the end zone for a safety. In the third quarter Auburn stopped Oregon on fourth and goal at the Tigers’ one-yard line.
Oregon came into this game averaging almost 245 rushing yards per game. Auburn held the Ducks to only 75.

 
“I am so proud of our guys. They stepped up and played the best when we needed it the most,” said Roof. “We didn’t do anything fancy. It was all about effort. All I know is that we’re the national champions. Nothing else matters.”

 
A lot of people wondered if Cameron Newton had one more great game left in him. He did. Yes, he had a late turnover that allowed Oregon to tie the score make a game-winning drive necessary. Still, it has been an extraordinary season for the Heisman Trophy winner in every sense of the word. He became the flash point of a great debate in college football and it was not pretty. There was a significant portion of the populace that believed that Newton should not be on the field but there were also those who believed in the presumption of innocence. The debate will never be resolved unless more facts in the case emerge down the road. That is another discussion for another day.

 
Regardless of where you came down on the Newton issue, there was no denying that he was one of the greatest college football players we have seen at the quarterback position. I say WAS because Newton will soon close the door on this controversial chapter of his life and declare for the NFL Draft. We may disagree about Newton’s legacy, but we will certainly never forget him.
“I have never seen a football player go what he went through and continue to perform so well on the field,” said former coach Pat Dye, who beamed during the post-game awards ceremony. “People said a lot of bad things about that kid but it never affected the way he played. He is something special.”

 
Then there was Gene Chizik, whose hiring in 2009 brought rounds of criticism from those who thought he was not dynamic enough or tough enough to stand up to what Nick Saban was building at Alabama. But when the sun rose this morning in the state of Alabama, the schools had the same number of national championships since Saban arrived in 2007. Chizik has proven to be a rock solid manager of the program who surrounds himself with very talented people.

 
“It was never about me and proving anybody wrong,” said Chizik, who was the defensive coordinator when Auburn went 13-0 in 2004 and did not get a chance to play for the national championship. “That’s not the way I live my life. From the day we arrived it was about doing what was best for Auburn. I am so proud to be a part of the Auburn family.”

It’s been a great season at Auburn but has also been a draining season for all concerned. The weekly scrutiny which came with the Newton case was not an easy burden to bear. The SEC has won its fifth straight national championship. But the conference had to routinely defend itself against the criticism that it did not exercise due diligence in the Newton case. Now that the SEC has won another championship, that criticism is not going to go away. Such is the nature of success. Off the field, it has been a tough season for college football as a whole.

 
And what about Auburn for 2011? As is our nature, we will quickly move on to next season. Auburn loses 24 seniors including Wes Byrum, who kicked the winning field goal at the buzzer. Newton will leave as will defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who is more than ready to play at the next level. If you had to guess you would say that Auburn will take a dip next season but such dips are easier to take when you have a crystal football in the trophy case.

Both those issues can wait at least a day or two. Auburn fans will celebrate and know that for the next year they are the national champions while Alabama is not. And if you don’t think that’s important, you do not know the state of Alabama. Auburn is going to enjoy this. Big time.

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811 comments Add your comment

Yum Yum

January 11th, 2011
8:43 am

Can’t wait until next season when every team in the SEC throws the beat down on that cow college that cheated its way to a national championship. Soak it up now Barn fans. It will be another 53 years until you win another.

Simple Jack

January 11th, 2011
8:44 am

Glad the season is over. The Corruption. The Lies. The Hypocrisy. This game has gone to Crap. Shame on everyone that lets this go on—especially the “news agencies”. Disgraceful. Done.

Dawg_Mike

January 11th, 2011
8:44 am

Urb and Saban on the same set= priceless. One hates the other and the other is smug.

Sandman053

January 11th, 2011
8:44 am

I think they should have left the original field in place, cause that new crap they put down was terrible.

General Ledger

January 11th, 2011
8:45 am

That was a really good game. I pulled for AU despite being a dawg fan but they played well enough to win. Was still disappointed and angry with Fairly and Smith for a couple of uncalled for cheap shots during the game. It was good to see a couple of teams really go for it on the big stage….4th downs, fake punts etc as opposed to kicking the field on 4th and a foot at the three after a 95 yard drive against UCF.

If that had been us last night tied at 19 with two seconds to go on the two, we probably would have taken a knee and gone to overtime.

JB at home

January 11th, 2011
8:45 am

AuTigerAtl………………….No, there are ethics at lot’s of placing….and before you jump, read your history.

Sandman053

January 11th, 2011
8:45 am

not to change the topic, but what about this? Les Miles to Michigan and Kirby Smart to LSU.

Bull Meacham

January 11th, 2011
8:45 am

Threepeat: Now that was classic! Funniest and most well written piece I have seen in AJC since Grizzard. Well said and on target on all counts!

Tom C

January 11th, 2011
8:45 am

Congratulations from a big Dawg Fan. Team showed a lot of heart…the D was incredible. Chizik is impressive, classy…

purple gorrila

January 11th, 2011
8:45 am

So I’ve been in a coma since last January. I woke up this morning and asked what has happened in the sports world. They told me the Saints won the Super Bowl, the Giants won the World Series and Auburn won the naitonal championship. First, I said “well that national championship will be vacated down the line becuase Auburn has always been cheaters”, then I said I’m sure glad I slept through all that mess.

Yum Yum

January 11th, 2011
8:46 am

Is $cam taking a pay cut next year?

Dawg Fan

January 11th, 2011
8:47 am

Congrats Auburn. You held together last night, just like you done many times before this season.

JB at home

January 11th, 2011
8:47 am

Langely

January 11th, 2011
8:47 am

Congrats Auburn. Act like you have been there before…oh wait you haven’t.

Gene Chizik coach of the year? I would argue half this board could win that award with Cam. ****’s coming soon.

Dawg_Mike

January 11th, 2011
8:48 am

The Game: Not a good one. will not be an “instant classic”. sloppy.
could the long layoff be to blame?

Ed

January 11th, 2011
8:48 am

Congrats to AU and the SEC…..

JB at home

January 11th, 2011
8:48 am

Chip Kelly…the Anti Mark Richt…………wow.

scott

January 11th, 2011
8:48 am

Has anyone ever noticed how much Cam Newton looks like Chief Noc-a-Homa?

HiStendek

January 11th, 2011
8:49 am

Once in a lifetime player is a lock for one school to play for a coach he’s familiar with. Check.
This school’s “friend of the program” tries to make himself some money and spooks the player’s father who steers his son away from the situation and to another school. Check.
Undefeated season. Check.
Heisman trophy. Check.
National Championship. Check.
Cleared by the NCAA. Check.
Stripping of the Heisman and National Championship?? Wish in one hand and sh*t in another and see which one fills up first.

JB at home

January 11th, 2011
8:50 am

No one happier for Cam than the IRS……Now, they can get their share………

enjoy now

January 11th, 2011
8:50 am

Enjoy it while you can. There is a culture of corruption at Auburn that has been prevalent for years. If the NCAA were doing their job, this game would not be the national championship.

Fan of the Game

January 11th, 2011
8:50 am

Simple Jack – I heard the BCS will play its championship game on Feb.6 next year. They want to compete with the Super Bowl. I am like you, the NCAA needs to clean up all this mess. What will all these analyst do now? TV is ruining college football. ESPN is leading the way. Oh by the way Auburn congratulations and I just hope poor Cecil got to see the game. I hope Cecil and Cam can communicate better now. Hard to believe he did not know of this dad’s corruptions. Just an opinion.

Fan of the Game

January 11th, 2011
8:51 am

Oh is Cam enrolled in school?

RxDawg

January 11th, 2011
8:52 am

“Why can’t some of you folks just congratulate Auburn and leave it at that?”

Why? Because Auburn does not do things the right way. And they just won a national championship doing things the wrong way. Everyone knows it, everyone sees it, and I’m very afraid that now everyone is going to think that’s the only way to win. The bad guys just won in this movie.

stanley sisson

January 11th, 2011
8:52 am

AUBURN TIGERS R NATIONAL CHAMPS way 2 go guys totally awesome.now 4 all the people that did not give him a chance when coach chizik arrived dont jump on the bandwagon now and 4 everyone that said a negative word about him should be ashamed of their selves GO WAR EAGLES!!!!!!!!!.

JB at home

January 11th, 2011
8:52 am

Louder (sp?) has been caught before. He’s still involved with the program. This pay to play at MSU comes up. Cam loves Mullen and MSU……Cam ends up at AU……………..Move along….Nothing to see here……..

WDE

January 11th, 2011
8:53 am

what a past 2 months! beating the whining dawgs, Alabama, winning a heisman and a national championship.

UGA, cover yourselves in our glory by bragging about the SEC. We haven’t forgotten all the crap from you about our game. You are now Kentucky – live vicariously through the accomplishments of others!

WDE!!

Asterisk

January 11th, 2011
8:53 am

National Champions *

General Ledger

January 11th, 2011
8:53 am

What was the spread in the game? Was it about 3 or 3 1/2? I don’t bet, but couldn’t help but think what was going through some folks’ minds there at the end when AU was trying to decide to kick the field goal, go for a td or run some clock as they did. That had to be pretty gut wrenching for the gamblers. It worked out and AU won all its games this year, but I can’t help but think with 10 seconds to go that you might not want to run Newton a couple of times and use your time outs. That sure was scary. I’d rather put the game in CN’s hands than the kicker, even though the kicker is very good. I had a very uneasy feeling until it went through the uprights.

Sandman053

January 11th, 2011
8:55 am

@WDE: UGAcan’t be Kentucky….Kentucky actually BEAT SC. But here’s to 2011! Go Dawgs!

vegas guy

January 11th, 2011
8:56 am

General Ledger,

The spread moved to -1 before kick off. AU covered.

Beast from the East

January 11th, 2011
8:57 am

RxDawg,
Has anyone brought forth any proof that anyone did anything wrong at Auburn? I have yet to see any.

JB at home

January 11th, 2011
8:57 am

If….if all is OK, why did the Auburn folks ask Cecil NOT to attend the game? If I’m Cecil…and IF all is all above board, I’m there to watch my son in Person…..From a hotel room there. Lot of money for a broke preacher to spend to sit in a motel 6 and watch on TV 2000 miles from home…just say’n

Harvey Thomas

January 11th, 2011
8:57 am

Let the investigation begin!

RCB

January 11th, 2011
8:59 am

A football player, like anyone else, should be defined first by his character. Character is not defined by a presumption of innocence. Defiance in the face of controversy and in the context of unanswered questions is not special. Just go down to your local courthouse and you can see it any work day of the week. I would think the NCAA and the SEC could set a higher bar. I have long since given up on the media. It is my prayer that that this one will not be swept under the rug, notwithstanding the current efforts to the contrary. I fear there is more at stake than television ratings and the salaries of Mr. Barnhart and Mr. Newton.

F. Lee Bailey

January 11th, 2011
9:01 am

Cecil,Cam..I’m here for you..

Les Miles

January 11th, 2011
9:01 am

So long, chumps! Helloooo, land of tundra winters, beefy women and boarded up businesses!

KR

January 11th, 2011
9:01 am

I thought it was a good game to watch. How often does any game have two 2-point conversions and a safety and still come down to the last few seconds?

Both teams started out a bit shaky and then settled into a rhythm. Both defenses played far above anyone’s expectations and both offenses refused to just give up.

It is great to be an Auburn Tiger!

WAR EAGLE!

skydawg

January 11th, 2011
9:02 am

Now that the money has been made, the NCAA will come a-calling. Well that is when the FBI finishes its investigation into McGregor and Lowder. All you have to do is look at the USC/Reggie Bush situation. The NCAA is very deliberate. And the dog and pony show of AU suspending Scam just before the SECC game just for the NCAA to say we have nothing yet and reinstate him…what a joke. The FBI is the one holding up the investigation, not the NCAA. When the FBI is done with the sensitive information it has, it will be turned over the NCAA. The NCAA can’t have that info now because it would damage the case against McGregor and Lowder. Enjoy now Barners, because your beloved MNC just came at a VERY heavy price. Ask USC.

Gainesville 456

January 11th, 2011
9:03 am

Advice to AU fans: Get your picture taken with the crystal football as soon as you can.

Dennis

January 11th, 2011
9:03 am

To all of the “enjoy it while you can” people, I wonder if you ever will.

Fan of the Game

January 11th, 2011
9:04 am

Both defenses played well because you just mirror Newton to contain him and you make Oregon beat you deep. Really two simple offenses, but it goes back to who can run the football and Auburn could. What a run by the Freshman. Others stood around while he ran to a championship. It wasn’t just Newton.

CL

January 11th, 2011
9:05 am

The “Auburn Family.” Makes we want to puke. What will they do when the championships are vacated? Buy new teeth? Buy new underwear? Buy new players?

JB

January 11th, 2011
9:05 am

Everyone in Russia sends congrats to the AU coach…..You did your country proud. Putin really enjoyed how you got there…………The Kremlin way………….WAR EAGLE

WDE

January 11th, 2011
9:05 am

touche, Sandman, touche!

JB

January 11th, 2011
9:07 am

Any truth that the NCAA put a GPS tracking device on the trophy?

south georgia jacket

January 11th, 2011
9:07 am

Enter your comments here

south georgia jacket

January 11th, 2011
9:08 am

SEC stands for Such Easy Cheating………all SEC schools cheat, pay players, etc..except for Vandy..and where does being hoenst get them?

TigerSteve

January 11th, 2011
9:08 am

NOW….it’s your turn Georgia….I want to see the Dawgs bring it home next year. We lose too much to repeat; I hope the Dawgs are next in line for the crystal….
War Eagle! Go Dawgs!

BAMA

January 11th, 2011
9:09 am

I hear Auburn is in serious contract discussions with Cam Newton and Nick Fairley to get them to return to AU next year.