Despite the fact that it makes it only more likely that Alabama will claim their first-ever Heisman Trophy, yes, I’m happy about this:
Why? Because I am a believer in the SI cover jinx.
Not because of some mystical evil huju-juju voodoo the cover exerts, of course. That’s stupid.
But what’s not stupid is pointing out that getting a player or a team on an SI cover is a big deal, and there’s a few neagatives that come along with it. To wit:
— He’s not just Mark Ingram, he’s Mark Ingram, Official Sports Illustrated-Approved Heisman Candidate. Alabama–as a team, an offense, a coaching staff–can’t help but know that and adjust their goals, however subtly, towards not just winning games but trying to win Ingram the award and make sure he lives up to this kind of hype. Anything that takes ‘Bama focus of of anything that’s not “winning” is a positive for Auburn.
— The voodoo aspect of the jinx is of course hogwash, but I’ve never read anything dealing with football players and superstition–which inevitably concludes that football players are more superstitious than your average Salem witch trail plaintiff–that suggests that there’s any way to keep it out of the back of the Tide’s mind. If Auburn gets a couple of lucky bounces early on, maybe even it leaks forward a bit, and there’s another tiny thought that’s not about victory.
— The day-to-day media surrounding this game now also have another chew toy. Do the Tide players believe in the jinx? What do they think about Ingram’s Heisman chances? How does Ingram handle this kind of spotlight? None of these questions are about Auburn.
Now, is this genuinely a big deal? No. As far as “Factors that will have an impact on Friday’s game” go, Ingram’s cover story rates about No. 117 on the list, somewhere between how much sleep Chris Todd gets the night before and whether the Tide’s sideline exercycle is functioning properly. It’s probably not worth posting about, I can admit.
But it’s news, and if you ask me whether it’s news that matters for Auburn … a little, tiny bit, yes I think it does.