Week 9 of the college football season has arrived and with it a bit of sorrow. We only have a few more weeks of regular season left, which for some teams means the end of football. For others, there will be championships to compete for and bowl games to be won. Two teams with a championship on their mind are meeting this weekend in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Dan Mullen and his Mississippi State Bulldogs will roll into Bryant Denny Stadium Saturday Night undefeated. Whether they leave that way, remains to be seen. Fan’s in Starkville sure hope their team is ready to play. They’re fairly confident Coach Mullen will have his crew ready as fans are watching One in the Chamber to prepare for their team’s biggest game in years. A quick punch to the gut of the top-ranked Tide can’t hurt the Bulldogs’ chances of pulling off the upset.
Of course, fans in Starkville know you don’t just roll in to Tuscaloosa and win a game. You have to be prepared for a raucous crowd that’s ready to see their team stomp on the opposition like the elephant in the Crimson Tide’s logo. To mentally prepare for their road trip, it seems some Starkville residents have been watching Starship Troopers: Invasion. Many will scoff at the absurdity of a Mississippi State victory like they would the concept of a movie franchise based on space marines killing giant insects, but they seem to forget that a lot of science fiction is based on some fact. Saturday night the Bulldogs get their shot to prove their Cinderella story isn’t pure fiction.
I don’t believe for one second that Nick Saban will let his team get caught looking ahead to their trip to Baton Rouge next week to take on LSU in Death Valley. Tide fans, on the other hand, might be doing that. It seems week after week of solid wins has fans looking for something to entertain them. Of course, they’re saying it in a bit more colorful language, asking Alabama’s opponents to Turn Me On, Dammit!. This matchup should be intriguing because no one is really sure how good Mississippi State is, so Tide fans should have a little something to get them going if the Bulldogs are as good as their number 11 ranking.
The desire for a worthy opponent runs deep in Tuscaloosa. Fans have not only been calling for a stimulating game, but they’re feeling like things are going along at a ho-hum kind of pace. The inclusion of Atlas Shrugged: Part One says as much. Tide fans have watched their behemoth of a team plow through competition with most of their games not really being competitive late into the game. It’s enough for them to simply raise their shoulders and say, “meh”.
One of the new kids on the SEC block makes their first trip to Auburn this weekend. Week 9 sees the Aggies of Texas A&M looking for their third conference win against an opponent looking for its first. Fan’s in College Station appear to be in high spirits, with high aspirations for their team. They’ve been watching New Year’s Eve, no doubt with the hope that their team can continue to have success in their new conference and end up in a New Year’s Day bowl. It’s still a long road to haul, but with the SEC fielding so many top 25 teams, there’s no reason to doubt the Aggies could find themselves in a higher tier bowl if they can survive their road trip through the SEC West.
As things stand now, you could make a very strong case that Texas A&M will finish 4th in the SEC West, at worst. Fans realize this as they’ve been watching I Am Number Four to celebrate an impressive first season in their new conference, especially considering the past three national champions are from their new division…not to mention 4 of the last 5. Residents of College Station do seem to be sympathetic to the plight of the Auburn Tigers. The good folks have been watching Bernie in preparation for their team’s putting Auburn’s slim bowl hopes out of their misery.
Finally, we come to the team we all know and love, the Auburn Tigers. It’s been a rough season on the Plains, but the Auburn Family has taken refuge in the arms of Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah. Auburn residents have been watching Joyful Noise throughout the season, but it has jumped up the list of local favorites and it’s not hard to see why. The movie reminds us that sometimes all you need is a little bit of hope to spark a big turnaround. Sticking together through adversity can only lead to positive results. If Thursday’s rally to support the team after practice is any indication, the Auburn Family is still in tact.
Of course, Auburn residents are also searching for guidance as they make their way through uncharted territory (one of the worst starts in school history, biggest collapse of a team two years removed from a championship). Thankfully, we’ve got Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to help guide us as we watch Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. We’ll see and hear some crazy things on our trip, but if we help one another things will work out for the best. I know a lot of readers are upset about how things have played out this season. I’m upset too. But I’m still proud to be an Auburn Man. We don’t need to lose sight of how truly special Auburn is. I’m happy to see that others in the Auburn Family still remember how special our school is. They know that each and every one of us is The Lucky One for having known and experienced the joy of being an Auburn Tiger.
Stephen Savage, Auburn Man exiled to Baton Rouge, is currently working on his PhD in Political Science. In his free time he enjoys watching movies and writing about them on his blog, Movies N’ Munchies. For more evidence of how Netflix movie rentals reflect the psychology of local fan populations, click here.
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