Saturday, November 27, 2010

Iron Bowl 2010 - Rollin' on the Plains - Photo Gallery

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

What's the Tiger Battle Cry? V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!

"Alabama hasn't thrown into a defense as opportunistic with the game on the line.

"Alabama hasn't seen a team with this kind of chemistry." - Kevin Scarbinsky, The Birmingham News, November 26, 2010, before the Iron Bowl game commenced
What a game!  Yes, I was concerned ... worried ... when Alabama came out strong and dominated the Tigers so  handily in the first quarter.  I kept telling myself (and my Tiger friends) that our guys just needed to settle down and settle in ... that they had some kind of fog (the hype of the game?) in their heads.  I knew, and I had faith, that once they focused their attention on each play at hand - not on the crowd, not on the significance of the game (both in terms of the in-state rivalry and the BCS standings), not the "tradition" of football at Bryant-Denny along with the yelling Tide faithful - they would be just fine.  And they were!

Yes, the win might have been prettier if the margin of victory was larger.  But the score didn't reflect the degree to which Auburn outscored Alabama in 3 of the 4 quarters (and, really, how they outplayed Bama after the 1st quarter):

Source:  The Birmingham News

Of course, all it takes to win is have at least one more point than the opponent, with that minimum margin of victory met in at least 3 Iron Bowl games prior to 2010: 1972, 1982, and 1996.  Add 2010 to the list. 

Auburn has now won 7 of the 11 matchups beginning in 2000.  War Eagle!

Here are some of my favorite photos from the game.  You can view a full collection of game photos from The Birminghams New on

Cam over the Top!
Photo:  The Birmingham News

Demond Washington breaks up a pass
Photo:  The Birmingham News

Josh Bynes T'Sharvan Bell and Neiko Thorpe wrap up Trent Richardson
Photo:  The Birmingham News

McElroy Crunch
Photo:  The Birmingham News

Fly like an eagle - Onterio McCalebb divng for yardage
Photo:  The Birmingham News

Philip Lutzenkirchen makes a TD reception
Photo:  The Birmingham News

T'Sharvan Bell tries for an interception
Photo:  The Birmingham News

T'Sharvan Bell penetrates to tackle Greg McElroy
Photo:  The Birmingham News

T'Sharvan Bell celebrates with the Auburn Family
Photo: The Birmingham News

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Paw on the Media: Auburn Beats Bama!

The Opelika-Auburn News reports that Auburn beat Alabama in this year's food drive competition. 

In the Beat Bama Food Drive, Auburn's contributors donated 234,116 pounds of food.  Alabama's contributors donated 218,510 pounds.

Auburn set a record with its collections.  The previous high was 212,199 pounds of food in 2008.  Alabama fell short of its record high, 270,915, also in 2008.

Contributions to Auburn's effort will go to the East Alasbama Food Bank.  The West Alabama Food Bank will receive Alabama's.

This year's result brings Auburn's record in the drive to 10 of the last 15 contests and breaks Alabama's 3-year winning streak.

Of course, the best thing about it isn't which side won the friendly competition but rather the level of assistance that will be available to people and families in the coming year. 

That is yet one more thing that we can all be thankful for!

War Eagle!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Iron-Clad Thanksgiving!

For as far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving has always been iron-clad.  A holiday with much meaning of its own (to say the least), Thanksgiving, for our Auburn family, has been entwined with the annual meeting of the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl.

The Auburn-Alabama rivalry has been described as a "culture war" marked with religious-like fervor. However, I doubt that any of the Auburn or Alabama faithful let the Iron Bowl overshadow their Thanksgiving celebration and dinner.

Nevertheless, the all-important game has been part and parcel of the broader holiday ... one more event on for the Thanksgiving weekend, albeit a very special, fun, and much-anticipated event.  (How else can one describe the game of games on both Auburn's and Alabama's schedules, an in-state rivalry that determines bragging rights for the next year?)

So, perennially, on the last Thursday in November, our family sits down at an abundantly-filled table to share in the company of each other and to give thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us.

As we joke and cut up and talk about life, eventually some mention will be made of the Iron Bowl, especially on those occasions when my immediate family - all Auburn - breaks bread with our extended family - uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws, some of who align themselves with the Crimson Tide.

When game time finally comes, the family will watch earnestly from kick-off to an expired clock, always hoping that our favorite team will prove successful, but in any event, enjoying the time spent together, yet another item on our list of that for which we are thankful.

I hope that you and your family and friends have a very happy Thanksgiving holiday ... although I do hope that my Crimson Tide friends have one less thing to be thankful for by weekend's end.

War Eagle!

(P.S. - I figure Auburn will win by at least 9!  Just sayin'.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vintage Auburn: AUdacity

Vintage Auburn Spirit Pin

"boldness or daring, esp. with confident disregard for conventional thought"

"a spirit that is not afraid"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Let the Music Play! - AU Alumni Band (Video)

I filmed this footage of the Auburn Alumni band at the 2010 Homecoming game.  The band was in the next section, which only added to the already excellent game-day atmosphere at the stadium!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vintage Auburn: AUthentic

Vintage Auburn Spirit Pin

"not false or copied; genuine; real"

"exercising honesty and truthfulness, without which one cannot win the respect and confidence of fellow people"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vintage Eagle, circa 1930

Photograph from Mickey Logue and Jack Simms
Auburn: The Loveliest Village Collection
The Auburn University Digital Library

About this photograph, from the Auburn University Digital Library:

"Auburn's greatest football cry, War Eagle, took on feathered form in 1930 when this golden eagle was found on a farm near Auburn entangled in thick pea vines.  Bought for ten dollars by local businessmen, the eagle was turned over to the A-Club.  Cheerleaders DeWit Stier (left) and Harry "Happy" Davis, later executive secretary of the Alumni Association, helped care for the new mascot, which quickly proved a good omen.  Auburn hadn?t beaten a Southern Conference football foe in four seasons until the eagle attended the 25-7 victory over South Carolina at Columbia in the last game of 1930. -- Photo: The Auburn Alumnews"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vintage Auburn: AttitUde

Vintage Auburn Spirit Pin

"the way a person views something or tends to behave towards it, often in an evaluative way"
"a spirit that is not afraid, a product of a sound body and a sound mind"
War Eagle!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Auburn Tigers 2010 - Compilation Video ... So Far!

The Auburn Athletics Department posted the following video to YouTube today with the following comment:

"This is the video that played on AUHD minutes after AU's win over UGA. War Eagle!"

Auburn: Takedown of Georgia, SEC West Champs!

Congratulations to the Auburn Tigers for a hard-fought win over Georgia yesterday and for securing the SEC West title!  What a season!  11-0!

The celebrating will limited for now, though. It's time for our guys to prepare for the Iron Bowl!  (Then they can start thinking about taking down Spurrier's Gamecocks for the 2nd time this season.)

Here are some of my favorite Associated Press photos from the game.  You can view more at

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Heisman!"
Source:  Associated Press

SuperCam:  "You crawl; I'll fly into the end zone!"
Source:  Associated Press

Fairley:  "Your team will, but you really shouldn't take it personally."
Source:  Associated Press

Drinking Kool-Aid on the Plains?  Gatorade!
Source:  Associated Press

Cam, Celebrating with the Fans!
Source:  Associated Press

 War Eagle!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Because Auburn Men and Women Believe These Things

Samford Hall
Source:  Ed Packard
I expect the media will be in a frenzy today after the ironically numbered WSB television station (channel 2), released it's "exclusive story" that Cecil Newton, Cam Newton's father, talked about money when discussing whether Cam would sign to play at Mississippi State.

But this writing is not about critiquing the case that is being made against Cecil Newton or Cam Newton - or the conclusion that some have drawn about Auburn's involvement in a potential pay-to-play scheme.

This writing is about Auburn.  Auburn Men. Auburn Women.  The Auburn Family that is comprised of all who have walked through Auburn's doors as students, faculty, staff or supporters. 

We in the Auburn Family who have stood by Cam Newton and our coaches have been accused of being duped by Cam, falling victim to the scheming and machinations of this young man and his father. 

We are told that the opiate of Auburn football has lead us to create an unhealthy cult of personality around a player because he has shown us a path to the promised land:  a BCS National Championship. 

In less original terms, we have been accused of "drinking the Kool-Aid", a cultural reference to the suicides in Jonestown, Guyana, committed by followers of a man so committed to furthering his own personal and political agendas that he lead people to take their own life.  (As with many analogies and metaphors in politics and other human interactions, the meaning of the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" has been watered down the further its usage is removed from the source material and the more often it is employed in everyday life.)

While we in the Auburn Family love all of our athletes, we are not unlike the fans of all sports teams who have players that excel beyond expectation. 

When we see an athlete who performs on the field at the level of a Cam Newton ... or a Bo Jackson ... or, at other schools, a Mark Ingram, a Herschel Walker, a Vince Young, or a Tim Tebow ... we will naturally gravitate toward that player, rally around him and celebrate his contributions to the team and to our university. 

When we see that same athlete also perform good deeds in the community, as we have seen with reports of Cam Newton's contributions to Wrights Mill Road Elementary School in Auburn, we are inspired to even greater appreciation of him.

Does this mean we believe that Cam Newton or his father, Cecil, are above doing wrong, that we have bestowed sainthood on either of them?  Of course not.

Our reaction of solidarity in the face of these allegations - these very serious allegations - is based on a principle that has a long life in our society but which seems to have less currency with each passing day:  a person is to be considered innocent of wrong-doing until proof of guilt is presented, proof that convicts him or her beyond a reasonable doubt.

No one likes innuendo or smears or unsubstantiated allegations when one is the target of them.  We want the truth to be revealed and the truth to prevail.

I will not argue that the critics of Cam Newton or Cecil Newton should be valiant defenders of the Newtons.  The critics, the "haters" - to use the vernacular - have to find their own path.

I will argue that the critics of the Newtons should standdown and let the investigations in this case proceed to their conclusion.

And until the investigations produce proof of wrong-doing by Cam Newton, I will encourage the critics of Cam Newton to not judge the Auburn Family for its support of an Auburn Man. 

Even if that undesirable outcome is realized - and, if so, a price must be paid - do not be surprised if members of the Auburn Family stand ready to help Cam Newton, just as many generations of mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters have refused to shed their love of a family member, have refused to see their loved one as irredeemable.

As The Auburn Creed states:
"I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all."
War Eagle!

Friday, November 12, 2010

All Part of Being Family - Auburn or Otherwise

It's Friday morning.  I cannot stop thinking about the Tigers and Auburn University.  The unsubstantiated allegations against Cam Newton and Cecil Newton, his father, notwithstanding, the Auburn Tigers are having a stellar season on the football field.  10-0.  A #2 BCS ranking.  High-octane performances by Cam and his associates:  Michael Dyer, Darvin Adams, Demond Washington, Nick Fairley, Mario Fannin. A supporting cast working together so that the Tigers can do what they do.  And let's not forget the coaching staff:  Gene Chizik, Gus Malzahn, Ted Roof and all the assistants.

The Tigers have two big rivalry games coming up.  Georgia, tomorrow; Alabama, in two weeks.  So with as much excitement as we've already seen, there is still more to come.

But there are those unsubstantiated allegations ... and an NCAA investigation. 

What are we as alumi of Auburn ... supporters of Auburn ... and as fans of the Tigers ... to make of the allegations? 

Here are the thoughts that I have been turning over in my mind ...

First and foremost, at this point, these allegations are just that, allegations.  And they are unsubstantiated

Also, we should note that the man who brought the allegations to light, John Bond, has apparently contradicted his own testimony on the matter.  He first told ESPN that he spoke to Kenny Rogers.  Then, in an interview on the Buck and Kincade radio show on 680AM in Atlanta, Bond points out that there were two people between him and Kenny Rogers, the person soliciting Cam's football talent. Hear the interview here;  at the 1:11 mark is Bond's clarification.  So, Bond would appear to have gone from an eyewitness to a potential NCAA violation to a purveyor of hearsay.

John Bond alleges that John Rogers told him that "other schools" had offered $200,000 for Cam's commitment. However, Rogers supposedly claimed that a deal could be cut for Mississippi State due to Cam Newton's previous relationship with Dan Mullen (current Mississippi State head coach; former Flordia coach):  a price discounted 10% to $180,000.  Which other schools were involved?  Or was this claim just part of the scam ("everyone is willing to pay, c'mon ... look at the great deal I have for you, my friend!").

What about this bombshell that apparently has received little media attention that I could find? Kenny Rogers, while claiming that Cecil Newton directly broached the subject of cash for Cam's commitment in a Starkville hotel room on November 27, 2009, stated that two of Mississippi State's coaches were in the room at the time

I have not heard any report that Mississippi State filed any reports with the NCAA based on its own coaches hearing such talk about money.  To my knowledge, Mississippi State reported only the alleged contact with John Bond.  If Rogers' claim is true, would it be a violation of NCAA regulations for coaching staff at a university to not report such behavior?  (And without drawing any spurious conclusions, is it a stretch to be concerned about the veracity of Rogers' comments when he is already under investigation for alleged misrepresentation?)

So what are we to make of the allegations? 

It may be trite or naive to say so these days, but I do believe in a person's innocence until there is reasonable proof of wrongdoing.  For now, I do not see any proof that Cam Newton, his father, or anyone at Auburn did anything wrong. 

So, I will stand by my Auburn.  I will stand by my Tigers.  I will stand by Cam Newton. 

That's all part of being family ... Auburn or otherwise.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Homecoming on the Plains - 2010

A Homecoming Float
Photo:  Ed Packard

I had a great time getting back Auburn for Homecoming this year.  Auburn was ready to take the field against the UT-Chattanooga Mocs.  But first, I was ready to make my rounds of campus, beginning with the Homecoming floats.  There were several good ones, but this one was my favorite.

Happy 30th Birthday, Tiger!
Photo:  Ed Packard

Over at Haley Center, I came upon a party for Tiger.  Auburn alumni, staff and fans - including Aubie and cheerleaders - were celebrating Tiger's 30th birthday!

Ready for Tiger Walk!
Photo:  Ed Packard

A bit later, a crowd of Auburn faithful was forming, ready for Tiger Walk!  The fans stood ready to welcome the Tigers to the stadium and cheer them on to victory!

Auburn's Marching Band
Photo:  Ed Packard

The crowd knew kick-off was near when the Auburn University Marching Band took to the field.

Ever faithful, Aubie was on hand to motivate and entertain the crowd!

Aubie - Doing What He Does!
Photo:  Ed Packard

Aubie Emphasizes a Point to a Fan
Photo: Ed Packard

Not too soon, the game started and the Tigers- as expected - quickly took control of the game. 

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

Photo:  Ed Packard

A solid effort by all players resulted in a 62-24 win over the Mocs, moving Auburn to 10-0 on the year.  The only thing left to do was hit Toomer's Corner with a roll or two!

Rolling Toomer's Corner at Homecoming
Photo:  Ed Packard
 War Eagle!