Please put down your corndogs for a moment. Stop calling Trent Richardson’s cell phone long enough to read what we have to say.
First, congratulations for your win against us. No ifs, ands, or buts. It was a hard fought, evenly matched game that could have turned ten different ways on ten different plays down the stretch, but you pulled it out. We don’t have any complaints against you, aside from that one play where Honey Badger tried to maim Dre Kirkpatrick from behind. Bad form, little guy.
Pundits have already begun to pooh-pooh the game. A 9-6 tally is not everyone’s cup of tea. Our fleet-brained society has become spoilt, fattened by the sugary spectacle of shootout football. LSU-Alabama was a southern masterpiece, a game of inches played by grown men who did not like each other. It was beautiful, even if our team lost.
Some will invariably clamor for a rematch. This is not a perfect resolution, but in lieu of a playoff, there are no perfect resolutions. We fully believe that we are no worse than the second-best football team in the country. We hope for the chance to prove this claim, whether it be sneaking into the SEC Championship Game via a three-way tie, or backing into the BCS Championship Game in some other way. Both scenarios are possible, but not necessarily likely.
We will cling to our title hopes until the very end, until Stanford or Boise snuff out the last ember of our summer dreams. If this happens, if our fate comes back to us in the form of a non-title bowl bid, so be it. Some of us will complain loudly. Our grief will sound angry, like grief often does.
Pay it no mind. Leave us to our shouting, to the licking of our wounds.
Dear Tigers, we have but one thing to say to you:
Don’t screw this up.
In 2009, we had a certain mojo. We were unsinkable, buoyed by some cosmic force, whether it be God or destiny or Lane Kifffin’s karmic blowback. We escaped the Tennessee and Auburn games the way that champions sometimes do—improbably. In 2010, Auburn had that same mojo. Every break went the Tigers’ way. Every nuance in the schedule favored them. Mistakes and injuries beset their opponents like Exodus plagues. It was simply Auburn’s time to win.
You, too, have felt that mojo. You had it in spades in 2007, and it seems you have it this year as well.
Again, do not screw this up. When it comes to the title game, the south is running roughshod over the rest of the country in a way not seen since Manassas. Our unity goes beyond the iconic SEC chant that rings out in stadiums after interconference beatdowns. Inside the borders of our state, we gathered to cheer as Florida turned back the rusted plodders from the Big 10 in 2006. Then we cheered for you to do the same when the plodders returned in 2007. In 2008, after Tebow broke our crimson hearts, we rallied behind him and cheered as the Gators humbled the Big 12’s paper Sooners. Then we took matters into our own hands the next two years, keeping the championship inside the Heart of Dixie.
Now it appears likely to fall to you once again.
If, by chance, we meet you in a rematch, we will take you to the limit. We will hit you with a rage that will exceed what you felt in the previous contest, if that is possible. We will bring hell to the party, in such a quantity that they will cover the children’s eyes and vow to never again allow two SEC teams to play for the title.
If you are playing someone else, though, we will be behind you. We do not like you, but that is beside the point. When one SEC team steps into the final circle to face its last opponent, whether it be swarthy malcontents from the rust belt or preening frontrunners from the glamour conferences, that SEC team carries a piece of us with it.
Carry us far, Tigers.
(And stop calling Trent Richardson. It’s getting weird.)