I trust all the Auburn fans are over their jetlag by now and being stuck in airports while trying to get back from Arizona. I was right there with you in Philadelphia this week.
We’ll wrap up the week by emptying out the mailbag:
Sean in Atlanta writes: Are you not going to comment on Cecil being at the game?
Chris Low: I was hoping nobody would ask. Obviously, you’re referring to Cecil Newton. He’s become such a part of SEC lore that we know him simply by his first name. You’ve got Herschel, Bo, Archie and now Cecil. My first thought is that I guess we’re left to decide for ourselves if he really did show up after the game as his lawyer suggests, or did he simply show up Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs and go to the game despite what Jacobs said was a mutual decision between the two for Cecil to stay away. If Cecil told Jacobs he would stay away and then attended the game anyway, I’d say that further underscores how difficult it is to give any credence to anything Cecil says. But as a father, there’s no way I would have ever agreed in the first place not to attend. How many times does your son play for the national championship? Granted, Auburn can’t give Cecil a ticket or sell him a ticket, but Auburn also can’t forbid him to buy a ticket elsewhere and attend the game on his own accord. This whole arrangement of Auburn distancing itself from Cecil had more to do with Cam than anything. Auburn wanted to go out of its way to protect Cam and not put him in an uncomfortable position where his father was always around. Either way, I’d say Jacobs and the Auburn administration aren’t shedding any tears that Cecil won’t be hanging around Jordan-Hare Stadium next season.
Stephen in Little Rock, Ark., writes: I appreciate your blog and usually agree with you. Maybe I'm just a homer, but how does LSU end up above Arkansas in all the power rankings just because they are separated by one loss? Arkansas lost to Ohio State, while LSU beat a Texas A&M team that Arkansas beat earlier in the season. Not to mention the fact that the Hogs beat the Tigers. I don't mind being ranked where we are except for that one fact.
Chris Low: Yeah, I went back and forth on the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 spots. I ended up going with LSU for a couple of different reasons – how impressive the Tigers were in the bowl game, their 11 wins were the second most in the SEC behind Auburn, their 5-2 record against nationally ranked opponents and the fact that both of their losses (Arkansas and Auburn) were close games that went down to the final minutes on the road. I can see how Alabama, Arkansas and LSU could all make claims for that No. 2 spot. After all, they beat up on each other. Arkansas beat LSU. Alabama beat Arkansas, and LSU beat Alabama.
Ron in Maysville, Ky., writes: Chris, great article on Randall Cobb and I agree with you. I think Cobb and Chris Lofton followed the same path. Chris was overlooked by his home state and so was Cobb.
Chris Low: Good comparison. Kentucky dropped the ball on Lofton, and Tennessee dropped the ball on Cobb. Both players are a reminder to us all that while coaches and analysts often times get caught up in measurables, it’s impossible to measure a player’s heart, his drive and his work ethic. Cobb was easily one of my favorite players in the SEC over the past decade. He could do just about anything on a football field and endeavored to do it well. He wasn’t the fastest guy, the biggest guy or the most talented guy out there. But more times than not, he was the best guy. In a lot of ways, he was a throwback.
Scott in Vermont writes: Chris, just for fun, let’s say the SEC had to draft an All-Star team from only the seniors. Who would be on it? And how would they do against other conference teams made up of the same idea?
Chris Low: The truth is that most of the premier talent in the SEC this season was concentrated among the underclassmen. But you’ve given me an idea for next week. I’ll come up with an All-SEC team for this season consisting only of seniors. Maybe I can get my colleagues at ESPN.com to do the same, and we can compare them. Thanks for the idea. I did do my Super Seniors feature back in December where I picked the top senior contributor from each SEC team in terms of production and leadership.
Mike in Birmingham, Ala., writes: Chris, enjoy your stuff. Auburn fan here and we probably would have been worse than 9-3 without Cam and Fairley. However, you could say that about almost every national championship team. Look at Alabama this year without Javier Arenas (arguably the biggest game changing defensive player the last 10 years) and Rolando McClain. Thanks
Chris Low: All fair points. It was just magnified so much with those two guys at Auburn this season because nobody had any idea they would be the kind of difference-makers they were. Usually, you groom a quarterback, and he develops over time. Even Greg McElroy had been in Alabama’s program for a few years, and Tim Tebow was in his third season at Florida when the Gators won the title. And then Fairley? I say this in all honesty and it probably makes me look like I don’t know my stuff, but I had to go find a roster early in the season to see who this No. 90 was for Auburn. I didn’t remember him at all from the year before, but then he shows up this season and is dominant. I guess what I was trying to drive home more than anything was that Auburn was able to plug these two guys into the mix, both coming over from the junior college ranks where it’s always a crapshoot, and went from being a contender in the West to the best team in the country. Quite a ride for the Tigers, indeed. But, hey, it all has to fall together just perfectly to win a national title, and Auburn brought it to the table every week this season. Congrats and War Eagle!