I went to college at Southwest Missouri State (SMS) which changed it’s name to SMSU and then later changed it’s name to MSU. While my college was NUMBER ONE in changing school names, the same could not be said about it’s football program. I attended one football game in the four years I was at SMSU and left it in the third quarter to find something more interesting to do… AND I’M A FOOTBALL FAN. This could be the reason that I never really understood the passion that many people have for college football. I never really saw very much passion for football at SMS… SMSU… er, MSU… that school I went to.
Several years ago I sat in a hotel lobby in Michigan and listened to my nephew passionately tell me about his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks and how they were about to get some high school coach named Gus Malzahn as their new offensive coordinator and he was bringing a bunch of his really good high school players with him to the university and it was all going to be REALLY GREAT! Years have passed since that conversation and I have only barely followed college football during that time, but I never forgot the interesting story about that high school coach.
I was in Arkansas at the first of this summer, saw my nephew again and asked him how things turned out for that high school coach guy. He said Gus Malzahn had gone from Arkansas to Tulsa to Auburn as an offensive coordinator and then went to a little Arkansas college to be a first time head coach. He apparently experienced success every step of the way. It was all capped off with Auburn rehiring him as their new HEAD coach this season. The story just kept getting better and better, so this college football season I kept an eye on Malzahn and Auburn.
On Saturday I watched the Auburn-Missouri SEC Championship Game and couldn’t take my eyes off of it… any of it. It was one of the most compelling football games I’ve ever watched… well, except maybe for the Auburn-Alabama game I watched the week before when the Auburn kid ran a last second failed field goal attempt back for the win… or the week before when a last minute pass fluttered off a defenders hands and into an Auburn receivers hands for a win over Georgia. This year, Malzahn took an Auburn football team that won three games last season and turned it into a 12 and 1 winner that is going to play in the National Championship Game against Florida in a few weeks. What a story.
Over the past several years I have had a very casual dating relationship with college football, but I’m thinking it’s just about time for me to make a very serious, passionate commitment to it.