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Auburn Football: With Malzahn Secured And Awards Won, Focus Shifts to Title Game

Matthew DonaldsonCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2016

Cam Newton took home the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O'Brien Award and the Maxwell Award. He's been named Player of the Year by numerous media outlets. Nick Fairley won the Lombardi Award. Lee Ziemba made many All-American Teams. Gene Chizik won many national Coach of the Year awards. 

After winning the most prestigious hardware in the Heisman Trophy, Newton appeared on Good Morning America, The NFL Today and the Late Show with David Letterman.

All the media attention seems kind of surreal, doesn't it?  

It's been a wild wave of accolades since the SEC Championship game. But another set of stories also took center stage.

Urban Meyer resigned, opening up the Florida job. Eventually, former Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp took the job. Gus Malzahn was courted by Vanderbilt to become their next head coach, but eventually decided to stay at Auburn with a hefty pay raise.

So now, the awards are finished and the coaching staff remains in tact. 

The focus shifts to the national championship game, though it is still 26 days away. How each team handles the long break will be crucial. Getting healthy and staying sharp in practice will be emphasized. 

Undefeated Oregon should scare Auburn a bit. Their offense is very impressive, and makes Auburn's seem slow at times. Chip Kelly has his team on an even keel and is likely to play the underdog role with his players as the game approaches. 

Oregon's defense has done much of what Auburn's has. They have made strong statements when necessary. Big turnovers and stops in the second half have defined both defenses. 

The last couple weeks' events had the potential to distract and make the Tigers lose some of their edge. 

But with Malzahn committed to Auburn after the season, a potential coaching distraction has been thwarted and top recruits like Kiehl Frazier should remain secure.

And if anyone can handle the pressure and media blitz that winning the Heisman Trophy brings, you'd have to think Cam Newton can. 

Let the countdown begin: the National Championship Game is the next item on the Tigers' agenda. 

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