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LEE: Remember this is Jordan-Hare, where undefeated seasons die

LEE: Remember this is Jordan-Hare, where undefeated seasons die

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Alabama Auburn Football

Auburn fans storm the field after their win over Alabama on Nov. 30, 2013.

Remember who you are.

This is Jordan-Hare Stadium, where top-ranked teams go to fall.

This is the graveyard for greats. This the haunted land where dynasties tread lightly, and champions get flipped upside down.

This is the place where undefeated seasons die.

All this year, we’ve all heard endlessly about the White Out at Happy Valley, then the night game at Death Valley — about teeth-rattling environments and suffocating atmospheres from the Commonwealth to the bayou.

Did they forget about Auburn? You didn’t forget, did you?

You should be ticked off.

This is the place of the Prayer and the epicenter of the Kick Six explosion. This is where Auburn went back-to-back beating down No. 1. This is where Nick Saban cried “unfair” after losing in 2019 — in the most recent rivalry game played on the Plains.

That feels such like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

It feels like a lifetime, dear Auburn fan, but it’s time you remember where you stand. And I think you have plenty to get off your chest on Saturday in the bleachers when the rivalry air swirls over Jordan-Hare Stadium again and No. 2 Georgia marches onto the Plains.

You should be ticked off about everything that’s happened in the last 18 months. You should remember that feeling when the whole world was put on pause, and you promised yourself you’d never take something like this for granted again.

You should be ticked off waking up every morning in a college football nightmare. You’ve lived for so long now in Auburn Hell, where your hated archnemesis is No. 1 and your other hated archnemesis is No. 2.

And every other year, when the rivalry games come to the Plains, you finally get to say something about it.

Remember, out of the last four rivalry games in Jordan-Hare, Auburn has won three of them — all against great teams. When the path to the College Football Playoff steers Alabama or Georgia through the Loveliest Village, the map goes blank. ‘Here Be Dragons.’

“I’m pretty sure Jordan-Hare stacks up with the best in the country as far as noise,” tight end John Samuel Shenker said this week, after hearing all about Happy Valley and Death Valley all season.

Bo Nix heard about it more than anybody.

“I think that Auburn definitely compares and faces, goes up against those other teams — the kind of the traditional, historical ones that are known for being loud. I think Auburn’s right there with them,” he said. “And I think it’ll be interesting to see how Auburn shows up for this one.”

He added: “When a team like Georgia who’s had great success and who’s really good, and they’re going to come in very well prepared, very well coached, I think a home-field advantage like Auburn would mean a lot for us players. I just think it could have a huge impact on our team — and maybe the outcome of the game.”

Here it is again. It’s time for the fans to go to arms again in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

It’s big for the players. It’s big for Auburn.

Roger McCreary, Auburn’s best NFL prospect, said he was in the stands on an official visit for the Auburn-Georgia game in 2017 when he was being recruited out of high school.

“When I saw that crowd, that game is what really made me want to come to Auburn,” McCreary said. “It was just the fans, the atmosphere and all that stuff. Now I finally get to play in the game. That just makes me more excited to play this Saturday.”

The Bulldogs are who they say they are. They have a complete team bent on winning the program’s first national championship since 1980, and they have every ability to do just that.

But here? Sometimes, for 60 minutes, none of that matters.

I remember the loudest I’ve ever heard Jordan-Hare Stadium was when Auburn was its most angry.

It was the Florida game in 2006. Chris Leak and Tim Tebow led the Gators here on their way to the national championship. College GameDay came, and the whole event was showcased on ESPN Full Circle, which was a big deal at the time.

Florida was the better team. But Auburn had just laid an egg against Arkansas, and lost to Darren McFadden and Gus Malzahn and the Springdale Five, and everyone came to the stadium gates angry.

I remember the noise. I remember the blocked punt, of course, and the flip. I remember fireworks shooting over the stadium after the exclamation-point touchdown on defense.

But most vividly I remember Tiger Walk, and the band playing after Tiger Walk, and I remember looking up at the drum major on his ladder leading those same songs of battle, and I remember there being no doubt in that moment who was about to win that football game.

You should be angry.

Remember who you are.

And remind them.


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