Fans have been looking forward to this weekend's matchup between Auburn and Arkansas State for quite some time—albeit for different reasons.
When the game was first scheduled, it looked for the world as if it would mark the first opportunity for Gus Malzahn, an upstart head coach with the Red Wolves, to prove himself against his old mentor, Gene Chizik, the national-championship winning head coach for the Tigers.
It was also supposed to be Mike Dyer's big return to Jordan-Hare Stadium, as the former Tigers running back landed at Arkansas State with Malzahn after leaving Auburn in January 2012.
That was the narrative, just 15 months or so ago.
My, how the times have changed.
Now, Chizik is gone after a lackluster 3-9 campaign in 2012. Malzahn has switched sides, taking the helm at Auburn after just one year with the Red Wolves. Dyer is out of the picture, now sharing a backfield with Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville.
That's not to say that there won't be a story to be told on Saturday night.
Win or lose, another chapter will be written in Malzahn's long history with his home state of Arkansas. For Malzahn—in a season of improving, rebuilding and moving forward—Saturday will be one last look back to the ghosts of a season past.
Meanwhile, the Red Wolves will have plenty to prove to Malzahn, who became the second consecutive head coach, after Hugh Freeze, to use Arkansas State as a one-year stepping-stone to reach the supposed greener pastures of the SEC.
Both teams will be playing to win Saturday night. Here's what you need to know before it all goes down.
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Place: Jordan-Hare Stadium
Radio: Auburn IMG Sports Network, EAB Sports Radio Network
Spread: Auburn -13, via VegasInsider.com consensus.