I know the description on this blog says "cheering and fight for Iowa Hawkeyes Football all day, every day" but today I am making an exception. Today is all about cheering and fight for Auburn football as the Tigers try to win a Nation Championship. My wife and most of her family went to Auburn and are all huge fans. My in-laws are actually down in Arizona just to tailgate for the game tonight.

However, despite the large amount of fandom around here, I don't actually know a lot about the Tigers. I've watched a handful of their games and of course know about Cam Newton, but that's about it. So, I had my wife contact one of her friends from Auburn to write about a preview of tonight's game.

Full disclosure up front: I am one of those people that is absolutely insane for AU football. I get an almost equal amount of pleasure from a certain other team's losing as I do when we win. Yep. I'm that guy.

My mom grew up in Auburn and my parents met there in college. My grandfather worked there on their first computer, (I think it was 1994). I didn't get to many games growing up but I watched on TV, wore the t-shirts, knew the players' names, and was harassed when we lost. Literally, if they had a surgery that could make your blood run orange and blue, I'd look into it, (they don't have it yet, btw). Okay, let's just keep everything out in the open: I cried when we came back and beat that other team in the Iron Bowl this year. Tears happened. So I have grown up this way.

As I'm sure you can relate in Iowa, we do not have a pro sports team in the state. So 100% of people's passion, love, and hate go into football. You can't talk about football in this state without talking about our rivalry. If both teams (I like to avoid saying their name) were to have losing seasons in the same year, the state economy would crash and we'd slide back down to being the 50th poorest state, (thank God for Mississippi). So if I sound preoccupied with hating “the bad guys” that is just how it goes. I don't try to hide it. (You know they only have eight national championships and not thirteen, right?). We like to point out that we are the "Auburn Family" instead of the impersonal "____ Nation" that other "universities" around here claim.

My thoughts for the game are simple. Number one: we have Cam Newton. Our offensive line is 8x their d-line’s size. We can score in any way possible when we have the ball. From a hail mary to a reverse end-around 80 yard run, anything is possible at any time, (yes, I know their's does too. I'm getting to it). Do you know how many times we came back from MASSIVE deficits this year? I think it was most of our games we were down. Many times by double digits. We were down 24-0 AT tuscaloosa. That does not happen. Sure, we have not played an offense like theirs and our secondary, as everyone on the planet loves to point out, is not great. But they have not played an offense like ours for four quarters and we have played better defenses and made them look silly. We ran for more yards against LSU than they’ve given up. Ever. LSU. The UO defense will be exhausted in the fourth quarter, (thanks to our size and speed and their lightning fast offense) and our defense has been tested by the SEC for 13 weeks. We win.

As a lifelong Auburn fan, I always told myself if we made it to the NC game I’d do anything to be there. (But I can't, because I'd have to sell myself into indentured servitude to afford it, and I've got stuff that can’t be rescheduled). Can I be honest? I thought it might not happen for 30-40 years. After the ’04 Robbery (and then the bad guys winning it all last year) I started to despair a little. But the truth is, while I'm nervous as heck for Monday night and want to win it so badly, if we don’t, I will be okay. We are still Auburn. As the saying goes, "it's great to be an Auburn Tiger," win or lose. Is that cheesy? Absolutely. True? Yep.

Did I mention I thank God I didn't go to that dumpster-fire of a "school" in tuscaloosa? Just wanted to make sure we are clear on that one. Thanks for reading and War Eagle!

AU = 377
UO = -7

-Nick Melton
Class of 2006