MOAR. I know you think you’ve seen all the Auburn Arena photo galleries you’ll need to see before the big unveiling this fall, but you should maybe check out the newest one at the AUfficial site anyway. (The pic above comes via.) It’s as comprehensive as you can get, and the interior shots make it clearer than ever how incredible it’s going to be to watch a game there–there really, truly isn’t going to be a bad seat in the house.
Previewin’. You’re not going to find a more in-depth third-party Auburn preview than the one appearing this week at TeamSpeedKills. So far we’ve got: the (becalmed?) state of the program; the exclamation points and the question marks; and quick once-overs for the roster and the schedule. Think there’s more on-tap later in the week.
As per usual with third-party reports, there’s nothing revolutionary in there for the Auburn diehard. It’s all worth reading anyway, and there’s also a crack on the Tide’s desperate need to make sure they get as much rest as possible after their titanic clash with Georgia State, which is of course much appreciated.
As the RB World Turns. This week’s obligatory developments in the world of Auburn running back recruiting: 1. Dee Hart has officially-for-now named Auburn and Michigan as co-leaders. More quotes:
“They are my two front runners — Michigan and Auburn,” said Hart. “Michigan is in a rebuilding stage and it’s a good time for me there because I can help them through that. I would be a good piece in that offense because I always feel like no one can run with me.
“I like the Auburn offense. They are like a hybrid offense. They have some tricks on one play and then can run with three running backs on the next.”
More good news: Mike Blakely may not be as high on Florida as he claimed last we heard from him, when he named the Gators his leader:
Blakely is focused on seven schools, and right now he has USC [East–ed.], Florida and Auburn as his top three with no favorite. Tennessee, Ole Miss, Southern Cal and North Carolina are his other schools. Blakely said he might attend the Friday Night Lights camp at Florida later this month.
He happened to be speaking to a Gamecock writer at the time, though, so maybe he was being kind.
Billings. This quickie Q&A with Montez Billings–on the Saints’ roster after a strong performance at the New Orelans rookie camp–isn’t exactly a deep exploration of his life and character, but there’s one note that made me a little sad about how his Auburn career ended:
What is your best football memory?
“In high school when I signed with Auburn would be my best memory.”
Billings got himself into trouble by not making the grade, but I can’t help but wish he’d made a memory on the field at Auburn his senior year that would have trumped it.
(HT here to PPL, who’s got a bunch of other links you should check out, including the fact that Auburn could have signed a quarterback named “Fudge Van Hooser.” I’m serious.)
Take a moment. I know the USC schadenfreude is running deep and thick these days, and it should, since between Lane Kiffin, the departed Tim Floyd, and Mike Garrett, the Trojans are setting new and probably unbreakable records for obnoxiousness within a single athletic department. But do spare a thought for the genuine Trojan fans out there, of which the brillant Jonathan Tu is one. He’s come out of hibernation to pen his magnum opus on the fall of Troy, and though it might take you a few minutes–I’m not exaggerating when I call it a magnum opus–its is very, very much worth your time:
Sometimes when I’m thinking about what’s gone before and the vast unknowable future heading for me, I think of the sea. I think of the almost unimaginable weight of that heaving, chaotic depth. It is a machine of chaos. If you’re around boats long enough you start to realize the sea laughs at hulls, it’s delighted by the sultry illusions we have about control and security. At any moment the sea can rise up and blast it all into nothingness like Jehovah directing the flood. But walk out onto a beach on a sunny perfect day and all you smell is the tang, all you feel is the beautiful living salt water. The endless horizon is comforting. It doesn’t suggest entropy, or chaos. You’ve gotta look down to find that.
This is a sea change, no matter what USC fans might try to say. For seven years Pete Carroll fought the very waters of creation and succeeded despite terrible overwrought metaphors and the 85 scholarship limit. There’s no way Lane Kiffin just forges on and continues what happened from 2002-2008. There’s no way in the same vein there was no way a washed up ex-NFL coach could bring Southern Cal glory once more, except now it’s actually true. I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen: good, sometimes great seasons, peppered with occasional mediocrity. It’s the dim, terrifying shape beneath the waters, coursing through the oceans on kraken limbs: normality. Time to come down back to earth. Bless Lane and his family and his father and everyone who’s come to USC to declare their own destinies, because I have to admire such tenacity in the face of such obvious inexorablility.
If Lane Kiffin is a sailing man he’d understand: you can’t fight the sea.
Etc. SI.com found some draftniks who believe two Mississippi St. seniors are among the nation’s 25 best, a list that includes only two other SEC players, which, OK, whatever … Speaking of top-25s of questionable value, Chris Low included just a single Auburn player–Darvin Adams–on his list of the best players in the SEC, though Josh Bynes made his Honorable Mention, at least; to be fair, the 25 he names are all good players, but leaving Lee Ziemba off is still just dumb.
Chris Low’s top 25 was about as predictable as a sunrise. BORING.
I went inside the new arena after a-day. Absolutely unreal. If we can’t win there, we never will