Auburn Football: 12 Days of an Auburn Football Christmas
The year is winding down and and it is almost time to turn the calendar to 2013 (unless those Mayans were correct).
The year of 2012 has been a wild one, on and off the field. When 2012 started, Auburn football was fresh off of an impressive victory over Virginia in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Once the clock struck midnight just a couple of hours after an Auburn victory, there has not been much for Auburn fans to celebrate.
After a disappointing 3-9 campaign that ended with Gene Chizik being dismissed as head coach and being replaced by former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, Auburn fans have turned their eyes to 2013.
There is one thing certain about the Auburn fanbase. Regardless of the record on the football field, Auburn fans will love everything about Auburn. Whether it's the city, the tradition or just the memories of family and friends around the campus, Auburn never fails to bring a smile to one's face.
Now, 'tis the season, as they say.
To celebrate the holiday season, gather all your friends around to sing an Auburn version of the popular Christmas ballad, "Twelve Days of Christmas."
I'd like to wish all of you (Auburn and non-Auburn fans) that take the time to read and comment each week a very happy holidays.
Now, let's talk about the 12 days of an Auburn football Christmas.
12 Drummers Drumming
"On to victory, strike up the band!" is yelled during the playing of Auburn's fight song.
It's good to be in your seat around an hour before kickoff in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Around this time on each home game, a stream of men and women in uniform walk out of the tunnel and begin to play the fight song at each corner of the stadium.
The Auburn band sets the tone before each game and it's hard not to get chills after it spells out "AU" and runs off the field before the game.
During the game, the band maintains the energy and can provide music that excites the Auburn fans as much as it intimidates Auburn's opponent.
The band is an important part to everyone's game-day experience.
11 Gallons of Toomer's Lemonade
Just across the street from the entrance to Auburn's campus stands an old drug store that has been there since 1896. In that drug store-turned-souvenir shop is home to what many feel is the best lemonade in the South.
Legend has it that former Auburn coach John Heisman used to frequent Toomer's Drugs in the early 1900s just for a sip of the lemonade.
While lemonade has nothing to do with football, making a stop at Toomer's Drugs for their famous cup of lemonade is as much of an Auburn tradition as the Tiger Walk and the "Bodda Getta" cheer.
Although you'll be hard-pressed to get your hands on the secret recipe, any Auburn fan will tell you that there is nothing better to wet your whistle on an Auburn game day. You will be greeted with a warm smile and you will leave with a lemonade that would make your mother jealous.
10 Rolls of Toilet Paper
If you see a happy Auburn fan after a big win, chances are that he or she has some toilet paper in hand and is looking for the nearest tree to roll. If they are in Auburn, they are headed to the intersection of South College Street and West Magnolia Avenue to celebrate with the rest of the Auburn family.
The intersection serves as the entrance to Auburn University from downtown Auburn.
You may know this intersection better by its other name: Toomer's Corner.
Auburn fans have adorned the two statuesque oak trees at the corner with toilet paper after a big Auburn victory on the gridiron (and other athletic accomplishments) since 1972, when Auburn upset No. 2 Alabama, 17-16 (there may be evidence to prove otherwise, though).
In 2010, the oak trees were poisoned, allegedly by Alabama fan Harvey Updyke. The once majestic oak trees now appear to be clinging to life as an Auburn committee decides what to do next with Toomer's Corner.
9 Tiger Walks
What started as a stroll down Donahue Drive from Sewell Hall to Jordan-Hare Stadium turned into a tradition that Auburn is quick to call the most copied tradition in all of college football.
Regardless of who started the tradition, Donahue Drive is filled with thousands of Auburn fans that want to wish the Tigers luck in their upcoming battle two hours before kickoff of each Auburn home game.
Auburn fans take the Tiger Walk on the road as well. Auburn fans greet the Auburn coaches and players getting off of the bus at the opponent's stadium.
Although there isn't an official attendance recorded at Tiger Walk, the largest is believed to have occurred in 1989 when rival Alabama visited Auburn for the first time. ESPN.com reporter Ivan Maisel said that he "feared for his safety" during Tiger Walk that day.
8 Home Games in 2013
With the sour taste of 2012 in their mouth, Auburn fans cannot wait to put the dismal season behind them and move on to 2013.
Auburn starts the 2013 season on August 31 next year against Mike Leach and Washington State in Jordan-Hare Stadium. That game will be the first of eight home games on the season.
The front part of the schedule is not nearly as daunting as 2012's was. Auburn opens up with the Cougars and then welcomes Gus Malzahn's old team, Arkansas State, back to Auburn for the first time since 2010.
Auburn's SEC home games include Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama.
Here is the full schedule for 2013:
August 31: vs. Washington State
September 7: vs. Arkansas State
September 14: vs. Mississippi State
September 21: at LSU
October 5: vs. Ole Miss
October 12: vs. Western Carolina
October 19: at Texas A&M
October 26: vs. Florida Atlantic
November 2: at Arkansas
November 9: at Tennessee
November 16: vs. Georgia
November 23: vs. Alabama
7 SEC Championships
The Auburn football program is filled with tradition and success.
It is among the 15 winningest programs in college football history. It is also among the traditional powers in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn boasts 7 SEC championships; good enough for sixth in SEC history.
The conference championships occurred in 1957, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, 2004 and 2010.
6 Fingers Waving
Even after a dismal season that ended with a throttling by archrival Alabama, Auburn fans can look back and smile at most of the previous decade.
From November 23, 2002, to November 24, 2007, former head coach Tommy Tuberville and Auburn beat Alabama six consecutive times to put a stranglehold on the rivalry until 2008. Auburn supporters adored Tuberville when he would add a digit to the win streak each year by keeping count on his hands.
By 2006, "Fear the thumb" became the popular topic of conversation between Auburn and Alabama fans.
Tuberville added another thumb to the count in 2007 before getting beat 36-0 by Alabama in 2008. That was his final game as Auburn's coach.
The Tide may have a strong grip on the rivalry now, but it wasn't long ago when Auburn was the football force in the state of Alabama.
5 Consecutive Bowl Victories
Although the Tigers aren't going bowling this year, Auburn has had great success in bowl games in recent years. When Auburn defeated Virginia in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl last New Year's Eve, it was the fifth straight bowl victory for the Tigers.
Auburn has not lost a bowl game since it lost to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day in 2006.
Since then, Auburn has won the 2006 Cotton Bowl vs. Nebraska, the 2007 Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Clemson, the 2009 Outback Bowl vs. Northwestern, the 2010 BCS National Championship vs. Oregon and the 2011 Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Virginia.
4 First-Round Draft Picks in 2005
After a perfect season in 2004, Auburn had four first-round draft picks in the 2005 NFL draft. At the time, Auburn became just the 11th school in college football history to have that many first-round draft picks in the same draft.
Auburn's offensive backfield was loaded in 2004. QB Jason Campbell, RB Ronnie Brown and RB Carnell "Cadillac" Williams were all selected in the first round of the draft.
In the defensive backfield, CB Carlos Rogers was selected ninth overall by the Washington Redskins.
3 Heisman Trophies
You've probably heard this trivia question before: What school(s) can claim to have John Heisman as a coach and have a Heisman Trophy winner? There is only one. It's Auburn University.
Auburn doesn't have just one; it has three. QB Pat Sullivan, RB Bo Jackson and QB Cam Newton have all won college football's ultimate prize while wearing an Auburn uniform.
Auburn is tied for fifth in college football history for the most amount of Heisman Trophy winners.
2 Eagles Flying
When the Jordan-Hare Stadium public address announcer asks fans to turn their attention to the northeast or southwest corners of the stadium, fans of both teams stand up in excitement. It's because that one of the best game-day traditions in all of college football is about to take place.
Spirit or Nova, Auburn's eagles, circles the field before the game as the Auburn fans roar in a low tone, "WAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRR." When Spirit or Nova makes the descent to capture its prey a loud "EAAAAAAGGGGGLLLEEEE, Hey!" is screamed at the top of the lungs.
Spirit is a bald eagle that was rescued in 1998 in Florida and has been flying in Jordan-Hare Stadium since 2001. Nova is a golden eagle that is also known as War Eagle VII. She was hatched at the Montgomery Zoo in 1999.
Tiger, or War Eagle VI, made the first eagle flight in Jordan-Hare Stadium on August 31, 2000, against Wyoming.
1 Auburn Family
Other programs around the country say the atmosphere is family-like. Maybe it is. One thing is for sure, though. The family atmosphere at Auburn is real and hard to match. It didn't just start when former head coach Gene Chizik branded it in a way. It has been there for years and years.
It is often poked fun at. That is probably because most people don't understand.
Maybe it's the small-town atmosphere. Or maybe it's the underdog role that Auburn seems to thrive on as it has for many years on and off the gridiron. It's an "us versus them" mentality that the Auburn family embraces.
It is really hard to put a finger on what makes Auburn supporters such a tight-knit community. And that's OK. There doesn't have to be a reason.
Where ever your life may take you, if you are wearing something with the famous "AU" logo on it and another family member sees you, you will get a hearty "War Eagle." That phrase means the same when Auburn is winning or losing, or whenever things are going good or going bad.
It serves as a "hello," a "good to see you," an "I understand," and most importantly it serves as a "we're in this together."
Whatever the meaning behind it, it's a mutual bond that each member of the Auburn family shares and passes on from generation to generation.