The LSU-Auburn rivalry flowered into full bloom, stinking of rotting flesh like the corpse flower, back in the early 00s before the Return of the Bama Dynasty. That was because the game was usually played early in the season between two teams in the top 25 and a loss would serve as a de facto elimination from the SEC race.
You beat Auburn, you didn’t just win one game in the SEC standings on a rival, you essentially gained two games on them because now you held the head-to-head tiebreaker. And good luck on that. If you were good enough to beat Auburn, you were good enough to not lose twice more in SEC play.
This isn’t a rivalry build on mutual respect, it is a rivalry built on the cold-blooded calculus of winning the conference. Auburn is nothing but one of the biggest traffic cones blocking the highway to Atlanta. Bama returning to prominence is certainly obnoxious, but it also robbed the LSU-Auburn rivalry of a certain pizzazz. I mean, we still hate the False Tigers on general principle, but they are no longer the biggest bully on the block.
Once again, Auburn is the little brother. Hey, they won the SEC last year. Know who cares? Nobody. Hell, not even Auburn fans care. Bama still made the playoffs and won the national title and Georgia enacted brutal revenge in the SEC Championship Game. Auburn then couldn’t even perform the simple task of shutting UCF up about their national title claims. You can’t count on Auburn for anything.
For years, we have focused on why we hate Auburn. Their stupid mascots, their passing familiarity with the NCAA rulebook, their inability to maintain any consistent success and have two consecutive quality seasons… come to think of it, that’s what I like about Auburn. Just like the way their kicker got beat up by our band. Or how their ineffective tackling is the Leonard Fournette mixtape.
But it’s not just LSU that hates Auburn. Everybody hates Auburn. It’s the one thing Florida and Georgia fans agree on. It’s the one thing we agree with Alabama fans about. Auburn is so loathsome that Reuben Foster has an Auburn tattoo and when given the choice, he went to Bama.
I mean, usually when a team is this despised across the board it is because of their enviable success. What makes us hate Bama other than their near obsessive dedication to humorlessness, is their depressing domination of college football. They are the Evil Empire, worth hating with every fiber of your being so that you can topple their repressive regime.
Auburn doesn’t even have that going for them. They are the quintessential Little Brother program, defined solely by how they reflect their more accomplished Big Brother, Bama. Even Texas A&M had the self-respect to break out of Texas’ shadow and define themselves on their own terms. But not Auburn. They continue in their steadfast tradition of being Diet Bama.
I hate that we have to beat up the minions before we get to the Boss Level, but that’s the way any game is designed. And that doesn’t mean that a trip to Jordan-Hare isn’t dangerous. I don’t know about y’all, but I died plenty of times against the Fake Bowser before I finally defeated the real Bowser in World 8. A mimeograph copy of Bama might not be the real thing, but it is still plenty dangerous.
Luckily, Auburn is coached by Gus Malzahn, the mastermind behind Auburn blowing a 20-point lead to LSU last season. It takes a special kind of genius to protect a 20-point second half lead by giving the SEC’s leading rusher ten second half carries, five of them when LSU has already cut the lead to two.
But when your starting quarterback is in the process of a 9-for-26 day, you have to keep throwing the ball to protect a huge lead. I mean, that’s simple common sense. LSU doesn’t come back and salvage its season without Gus’ assistance and I, for one, am very, very grateful. Unfortunately, Gus won’t have the option to ignore the league’s best running game this year.
I know we’re supposed to be afraid of Auburn’s defense, but it’s still coached by Kevin Steele, and I get hives at the mere mention of his name. I’m too familiar with his work to fear a defense that he’s coaching. It’s like being afraid of a special teams unit coached by Bradley Dale Peveto. We’ve seen too much.
I want to say this is the biggest game of the season which will define the rest of the year. But let’s not give Auburn that much credit. This is just another tough game LSU will play in a schedule full of tough games. Auburn wishes it were special, it wants to be our biggest game of the year, but the sad truth is… it’s not. They are just one more Fake Bowser we have to knock down before we get to the real one and save the princess.
Auburn can’t even be a villain right. I will save my bile for someone worth the time. Auburn is not worth yours.