Well, here we are nearly a week removed from the firing of Gus Malzahn at Auburn. We’re also 24 hours removed from the early National Signing Day, and yet the Tigers are still weighing their options to replace the Arkansas native Malzahn.
It was said Thursday morning that if the Oregon Ducks didn’t make any moves with head coach Mario Cristobal, we could’ve very well been welcoming the former Saban assistant to the Plains.
But late Thursday, the Ducks signed Cristobal to a six-year extension worth $27 million. So there goes that candidate.
That leaves the Tigers with a more limited list of candidates. The list includes: Hugh Freeze, who is currently the Liberty Flames head coach, current Auburn defensive coordinator and interim head coach, Kevin Steele, Clemson defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, current Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Billy Napier, Alabama offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, current UAB Blazer head coach, Bill Clark, and current Ole Miss head coach, Lane Kiffin.
Sure, the names on that list have some experience and carry some weight, but do they have what it takes to get Auburn back to the competitive level of football that the fans are used to?
Over the last few days, I’ve been asked several times who I think the next head man on the Plains will be and now is when I will answer that.
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Hugh Freeze will return to Power Five Football and the Southeastern Conference in 2021.
If a coach can win at Liberty, surely they can win at Auburn right?
After eight years, 103 games, two SEC West crowns, a trip to Pasadena only to lose to Florida State 34-28, Gus Malzahn’s time as the head man on the Plains has come to an end.
It is quite evident that Auburn fans everywhere have been waiting on this day for years, probably for the last four to five years.
It was announced Sunday morning that Auburn Athletic Director, Allen Green had made the decision to pull the rug out from beneath Malzahn’s feet.
In eight years, Gus had gone a mediocre-at-best 68-35, including 39-27 in the Southeastern Conference. Sure, Malzahn is a good person, but he’s not a college football head coach.
Especially when you’re in the same conference as Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Dan Mullen, Jimbo Fisher, and Mike Leach. A conference that is littered with head coaching experience.
Tiger fans have already taken to social media to express their relief. One post even said ‘Are we even surprised?!?’ The answer to that question is no, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, it should’ve happened about four years before it did.
Sorry Gus, no more Waffle House victory meals, no more Toomer’s Corner, no more settling for 6-4 seasons, no more fist-pumping on the sidelines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. Your time there is up, the Bus is burnt, my friend.
In the meantime, Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will serve as interim head coach, while you enjoy your $21.45 million buyout.
It’s often been said that Bo Jackson is one of, if not the best all-around athlete to ever play sports. It’s often brought up in a debate between Bo and Deion Sanders.
Yes, the same Deion Sanders that played for both the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Braves in the same day back when Sanders was in his playing days.
But not only is Bo Jackson quite possibly the best athlete to ever step onto an athletic field, he’s also one of the best human beings around.
Back on April 27, 2011, the same day that tornadoes ravaged through Tuscaloosa, Jackson, an Auburn University iconic ambassador, set the bitter rivalry aside and decided to start Bo Bikes Bama in order to help raise money for the victims of the Tuscaloosa tornadoes.
The Bessemer, Alabama native has got to be one of the most thoughtful athletes ever, if he’s not, there’s something wrong. A person’s heart can’t get much bigger than that of Mr. Bo Jackson.
Tennessee returns to action for the first time in two weeks after an unexpected open weekend when it travels to No. 23/21 Auburn for a prime time kickoff on ESPN inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Volunteers scheduled home game vs. Texas A&M on November 14 in Neyland Stadium was postponed due to a combination of positive COVID tests and contract tracing within the Aggie Football program.
That game is tentatively scheduled for December 12 in Knoxville. All three of Tennessee’s currently scheduled November games are on the road, marking the first time since 1891 that the Vols will not play a home game during a calendar month.
Auburn was one of UT’s two additions to its 10-game conference schedule. The two teams are meeting for the first time since a 30-24 Tennessee win in 2018. The Tigers lead the all-time series 28-22-3.
Saturday’s game will be available for viewing on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT with Joe Tessitore (Play-by-Play), Greg McElroy (Analyst), and Allison Williams (Sideline), on the call.
The game will be available over the airwaves in the Smokey Mountain region by way of WIVK-FM 107.7 FM and WNML-FM 99.1, with Bob Kesling (Play-by-Play), Tim Priest & Brent Hubbs (Analysts), and Kasey Funderburg (Sidelines) on the call.
Saturday’s meeting will be the 54th all-time meeting between the Volunteers and Tigers. Auburn has won six out of the last seven meetings. The meeting will mark only the eighth meeting on the gridiron since 2000.
In Knoxville: Tennessee leads the series 14-10-2.
In Auburn: The Tigers lead 7-3-1.
In Birmingham: Auburn leads 10-4.
The two squads have met twice in the SEC Championship, tied 1-1 in Atlanta, Georgia. Tennessee’s biggest win in the series was a 42-point win over Auburn on The Plains in 1980.
Auburn’ s biggest win in the series history is 32 points, which has occurred twice, most recently in 2013 in Knoxville.
Tennessee’s record on November 21 games is: 9-5-1. They are currently on a five-game winning streak.
It’s been 17 years since Tallassee and Wetumpka have met on the gridiron. The Tigers will travel to Wetumpka’s Hohenberg Field on Friday for their first meeting since 2003.
A Look at the Gridiron Series
The last meeting between the two programs was played at Tallassee’s J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium, with Coach Kyle Glover and the Indians pulling away from Coach Phil Lindsey and his Tigers, 52-7.
At the time of the meeting on August 29, 2003, Coach Kyle Glover was just entering his third year at the helm of Wetumpka, while Coach Phil Lindsey was entering his second season in charge of the Tallassee Football program.
The last meeting between the crosstown rivals in Wetumpkacame on August 30, 2002, when Wetumpka claimed a 44-6 victory over Tallassee.
The series with Tallassee dates all the way back to November 18, 1921, a game which the Tribe won 27-0.
The former arch rivals met every year on the gridiron from 1951 to 1997 and picked back up for the two most recent games in 2002 and 2003.
A Look at the Opponent’s Last Game and History
Last week, Tallassee fell to the Reeltown Rebels 27-21 in overtime during the Tigers’ season-opener at J.E. “Hot” O’Brien Stadium.
The Tigers are led by ninth-year head coach, Mike Battles Jr., during his coaching tenure across the Tallapoosa River, Battles is (60-31) with six playoff appearances and a (5-6) record in those postseason appearances with the Tigers.
Prior to taking the job as the head football coach at Tallassee High School before the 2012 season, Battles spent time at Oak Grove High School (1997-2007) and Bibb County High School (2008-2011).
Overall, in 24 years as a high school head football coach in the State of Alabama, Mike Battles Jr is (177-86).
A Glance at Wetumpka’s Last Game and History
Wetumpka opened the season with a 40-10 loss to rival Prattville at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in the second game of the AHSAA’s Kickoff Classic.
The Indians are led by ninth-year head coach Tim Perry. Prior to coming to Wetumpka in 2012, Coach Perry led the Alabama Christian Academy Eagles from 1985 to 2000.
During his 14-year tenure at Alabama Christian, he led the Eagles to a (73-73) record, including six trips to the postseason.
Later, Coach Perry would land jobs in Nashville and at Central Arkansas Christian School in North Little Rock. Central Arkansas Christian won the Arkansas Class 3A state title in 2004.
In 2007, Perry joined the staff at his alma mater, Harding University. In 2010, he took over at Nashville’s AR, where he remained for two seasons.
In 2012, Perry returned to the State of Alabama, as the head coach at Wetumpka where he has since remained.
During his tenure at Wetumpka, Perry has led the Tribe to a (59-38) record including seven-straight postseason appearances.
In his career as a high school head coach in Alabama his head coaching record is (132-111), in Nashville, Tennessee, and North Little Rock, Arkansas, his head coaching record is (68-19-1), and his overall high school head coaching record is (200-130-1).
Kickoff between the Tallassee Tigers and Wetumpka Indians is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hohenberg Field.
Alabama Basketball came into Wednesday night’s game vs. Auburn with a chip on its shoulder and almost all of the experts picking against them.
For Alabama, it was all about playing the role of dynasty destroyer as Auburn came into Wednesday night with an unblemished 15-0 record, ranked as the 4th-best team in the nation and as one of two remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I Basketball. Alongside Auburn, was San Diego State.
The Crimson Tide carried a nine-point lead into halftime, 36-27. Alabama rarely, if ever trailed in this game. Shooting 42.9% from field goal range, 28.6% from beyond the arc, and an unbelievable 78.4% from the charity stripe.
Led by Sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr., with 25 points the Crimson Tide was able to put things in cruise control due in large part to Lewis’ unconscious effort.
Auburn was led by Freshman forward Isaac Okoro, who tallied 13 points in the Tigers’ lone losing effort of the season.
Auburn (15-1, 3-1 SEC), will head to Gainesville to take on the red-hot Florida Gators on Saturday.
Alabama (9-7, 2-2 SEC), will host Missouri in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday.
Saturday night, felt like deja vu. I felt like I had seen it before. In fact, I had seen it before, six years to the date earlier when Auburn returned a last second field goal 109 yards to pay dirt.
Although this one was under different circumstances, it will still stand the test of time.
When Zakoby McClain took the football off of an Alabama receivers hands, and returned it 100 yards to the end zone, everything slowed down and I was taken back to 2013.
All I could think about was: “Wow, I wonder what Rod Bramblett is saying now. What would he say if he was still behind the microphone?”
It was absolutely insane. When I got home, I was discussing the game with my brother’s girlfriend, and we were talking about the pick-six. She said “I wonder how he caught that.” I replied, “He didn’t, Rod had a hand in this one.” Her voice got shaky and she replied “He was watching over us.”
Say what you want about the Iron Bowl but when it comes to historic moments, there is nothing like the Iron Bowl.
We all know what the Iron Bowl is so there’s no need to explain it, but in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 83 years, I’ll explain what the Iron Bowl is.
It needs no introduction, it’s the one time a year where families can’t get along, friends become enemies and enemies become friends.
And it’s all because of one thing around the State of Alabama, bragging rights. People talk about this game 24/7, 365 and everybody across the state is tuned into the same game at the same time, every year.
It’s all the bad blood between these two bitter rivals that makes this game what it is. Not to mention the amount of memorable moments from this game that have stood the test of time.
Plays like, “The Kick Six”, “The Camback”, “Bo Over the Top” and Van Tiffin’s kick 34 years ago in 1985 among many, many others.
Teams often claim to have a better rivalry than Alabama, Auburn and the Iron Bowl, but the Iron Bowl is quite clearly the most-bitter, most-historic rivalry in the nation, and anybody from the South will tell you that same thing if you ask them.
Sure, there are rivalry games that have been played more than the Iron Bowl, but when it comes to historic moments, nothing comes close to touching the Iron Bowl.
These two teams simply hate each other, absolutely no love is lost, it’s the one game a year where you can throw everything including the kitchen sink out of the window as you travel down the road, so you can watch it shatter.
Over the past 83 years the Iron Bowl has emanated from several different places and cities around the state. Those places include, Birmingham’s Legion Field, Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl, Tuscaloosa’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, and Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.
But something will be a little different this year, for the first time since 2002, the iconic golden voice of Rod Bramblett won’t be heard over the radio waves.
Instead, Rod’s best friend Andy Burcham will have the call alongside Stan White on the Auburn Sports Network.
This game is bound to have its own historic moments I’m sure, so prepare yourselves, we’ll have our hands full Saturday at 2:30pm CT in the 84th Iron Bowl. Picture: AL.com.
We all know what happened exactly six years ago Saturday, “The Prayer in Jordan-Hare.” It has been asked all week ‘Does Auburn have what it takes to knock off Georgia?’
They say history repeats itself, in fact, every six years, the calendar repeats itself and in a way the Tigers are in the same situation they were in six years ago, just in a different fashion and they are in the situation to upset Georgia and shut Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs out of the playoffs.
We all know that Auburn is always up when it comes to playing Georgia and Alabama, it’s two biggest, most bitter rivals in the country.
The question is, does Auburn have enough depth and strength to knock off both Georgia and Alabama?
If that does happen, where will the playoff committee turn? Would they put Auburn in the playoffs?
I think the Tigers control their own destiny at this point, despite having losses to Florida and #1 LSU, Auburn has a chance to pull off yet another miracle.
As of right now, Georgia is a 2.5-point favorite on The Plains, but I’m taking the Tigers in this one. I think they have what it takes to add another chapter to the book of big wins in big games that it owns.
Could we see yet another miracle exactly six years apart?