Ranking the SEC West


By Jacob Horton

Four weeks into the college football season, and we’ve got everything figured out, right? Or at least we like to think that we have. We already know what teams are bound for glory, and what teams are doomed for a subpar season. However, there is one particular division of one particular conference that we’re not really . We’re talking about, of course, the almighty western division of the Southeastern Conference.


The western division’s résumé really speaks for itself: five undefeated teams, four teams ranked nationally in the top ten, and six of the seven teams of the division ranked in the Top 18. Do I have also to mention that five of the last eight national championship winners belong to SEC West teams? No division of any other conference can even compete with the SEC West right now. With all of that being said, here are my week-Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.


  1. Arkansas

Probably the easiest choice in making this entire list was putting Arkansas last in the division.  Nothing against the Razorbacks, who appear to be better than last year’s team which was unable to record a single victory in SEC play. They’re just in way over their heads right now. While they may look better than last year’s team, their tough schedule featuring top-tier SEC West opponents probably will not allow them very many wins this season.


  1. Mississippi State

This team looked exceptionally well for most of Saturday’s upset victory over LSU in Death Valley. Dak Prescott possesses the potential to be a Heisman dark horse this season, and, defensively, Mississippi State is also a very gifted team. However, they did play a young LSU team very early in the season, so I say let’s wait a few more weeks before we all start drinking the Mississippi State Kool-Aid.


  1. LSU

This LSU team has the potential to be really special this year and in the near future. Saturday’s loss to division foe Mississippi State was without question a setback. There’s still a chance for the Bayou Bengals though. The best kind of loss in college football is an early season loss, just like LSU’s case. If they can steer a clear path from here on out, which will be no easy task, they could still pose a threat in this division. If there is one thing I’ve learned from watching college football over the years, it’s that you can never count the mad hatter (Les Miles) out.


  1. Ole Miss

Here’s another team that is right on the fence of greatness for this season. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to whether or not quarterback Bo Wallace can consistently play at an elite level. He’s got the weapons around him to lead this team to an SEC championship. With several key matchups at home this season (Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State), don’t be surprised if you find Ole Miss representing the SEC West during the championship game in December.


  1. Texas A&M

Ever since entering the SEC in 2012, Texas A&M has become one of the most exciting teams in the country to watch. They have arguably the best player in college football this season in Kenny Hill. Regardless of whom A&M plays this season, they are going to score points. If their defense can generate more stops this season, the Aggies will be making a trip to Atlanta come December, and possibly a trip to a first round playoff game in January. This is a very dangerous football team that will be taken seriously by every SEC opponent.


  1. Alabama

This Crimson Tide could be very well on its way to another national championship season. As with most teams in this conference, quarterback play will be the variable that’s going to determine to either the team’s success or demise. If the Blake Sims from this past Saturday can show up on a weekly basis, Alabama will not lose a game this season. Add that to a stable of skilled position players in TJ Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Biletnikoff award-hopeful Amari Cooper, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a very successful season.


  1. Auburn

This decision between Alabama and Auburn was almost a coin flip. But at the end of the day, the defending SEC West champions look a little bit better than their in-state rival. They successfully survived an ugly performance against Kansas State last Thursday, which very well may be their worst performance for the entire season. The consensus around the league is that this Auburn Tiger football team features a much better offensive unit than last season. With the addition of D’haquille Williams and a more experienced Sammie Coates, expect to see a better passing presence from the Tigers this season. If they can complement that with their explosive rushing attack, the Auburn Tigers have a considerable chance of fighting their way through their backbreaking SEC schedule.


Comments? Questions? Feel free to leave your input in the comment section below. Let us know what you think.


Falcons: Championship-Level Contenders?


By Jacob Horton

Could 2014 be a turnaround year for the Atlanta Falcons? As the NFL regular season kicked off last week, teams all over the league looked to start off their campaign towards the coveted Lombardi Trophy with a victory. Arguably no team in all of football was as ready to move on from last season as the Atlanta Falcons.

One could say that 2013 was a disappointing season coming off a year, in 2012, in which the team weas one game away from reaching the Super Bowl. After posting an abysmal regular season record of 4-12 in 2013, the Falcons arelooking to fulfill their championship potential in 2014.

It all started this offseason when the team brought in some big names via free agency and the NFL Draft. In the month of March,the Falcons made a big splash in the free agent market when they signed wide receiver Devin Hester.

Hester, a University of Miami alumnus, brings a new element of explosiveness to the Falcons roster. In his ninth NFL season, Hester is only one touchdown shy of breaking Deon Sanders record for most return touchdowns in NFL history with 19. During his tenure, Hester has returned 13 punts, five kickoffs, and one missed field goal for a touchdown. Look for the Falcons to utilize Hester’s abilities in a variety of ways this season.

 In April, the Falcons selected Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews with the sixth pick overall  in the draft. Matthews comes from a long bloodline of NFL talent, including his father, Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, and cousin, Clay Matthews III, who plays linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. While at Texas A&M, Matthews served as the driving force behind an offensive line that was given the task of protecting Johnny Manziel. Defending a less mobile Matt Ryan should be no problem for Matthews.

Whether or not the Falcons can win on the road will bea huge factor in this season’s success. In recent years, tough games away from the Georgia Dome have given the Falcons the majority of their losses. It is almost as if they are a completely different team at home versus on the road. They face a tough slate of road games in the upcoming weeks against the Baltimore Ravens, the Green Bay Packers, division rivals Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.

Ultimately, health will be the determining factor for the Falcons this season. Last season, the injury bug plagued the team like no other in the NFL. Steven Jackson, their starting running back and prized 2012 off season acquisition, saw limited action in six consecutive weeks in 2013 with a hamstring injury. Both Roddy White and Julio Jones, Atlanta’s top two receiving targets, missed significant amounts of playing time via the injury as well. With a restricted number of skill players, quarterback Matt Ryan couldn’t manage to lead his team to another postseason berth. If the Falcons can remain healthy this season, expect them to be right in the mix of things when the NFL regular season ends.

With a big win over the New Orleans Saints last week, the Falcons looked primed and ready for the 2014 NFL season. However, yesterday’s lackluster performance in Cincinnati against the Bengals showed that Atlanta is only going to be as good as its away-game performances this season. The Falcons have the fire power on offense to be a Super Bowl contender. If they can maximize their potential and put together a few key road victories, look for the Falcons to turn things around this season.

Fitness at its Finest

 By Nikki Headley

Exercising may seem like it’s just something to do in your spare time. Yet, being physically active is something that should be done every day. AUM Wellness Center has a lot to offer: a gym to lift weights, a pool and even a track. And fitness classes led by trained instructors with a passion for working out! I attended Vira Salzburn’s class, GRIND, and I saw just how on fire she is for exercising.

First, one reason why someone should attend GRIND is because it is a tough workout. After the warmup, your body is in a constant state of work. The class is one hour long, and you will do various cycles of exercise. Each class begins with a warmup to get your blood flowing and heart pumping. You will do each cycle twice, and normally there are about four in each round. GRIND then ends with a cool down. Salzburn will make sure that you work every muscle in your body. You will be drenched in sweat when you leave this class, but at least you will know that you got a good workout.

Ingrid Muniz on the left and Vira Salzburn on the right. This was taken right after GRIND.


Secondly, whenever you walk into Salzburn’s class, you automatically feel welcome. Salzbrun greets all of her clients with a warm smile and a peppy attitude. GRIND has many college age students that attend each week, so they can meet new people. When I asked Salzbrun about why she started teaching she said, “I like teaching because I know how it can change a person. I have changed, and I want to share that with others. It’s important that you’re healthy. It’s not about your looks, but how you feel. I feel like I’m giving back to the community. I was inspired by many of the AUM instructors, but one of the main ones was Ingrid Muniz.” Salzburn is a dedicated instructor, and she will help you get through the class with a smile.Salzburn is a great instructor with a love for exercise. If you want to attend a challenging class, go to GRIND. The class is offered on Mondays from 6:30 to 7:30.



U.S. Sports: Nothing Like the Fall




By Jacob Horton

For sports enthusiasts all over the country, no other time of the year can compete with the fall. To quote the late Andy Williams and his world-renown 1963 Christmas hit, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Regardless of your team or sport, the upcoming fall slate of action never fails to disappoint.

At the top of the list of fall sports stands football, in all of its glory.  Here in America, football serves as the driving force behind almost everything we do.  In the southeastern region of the United States, football is a way of life. Since there are not many professional football organizations in our region, college football tends to be the preferred choice among most fans. Weddings, birthdays and other social gatherings are all planned with extreme caution on Saturdays during the fall.

Let’s stop beating around the bush here; football is what makes the fall so great. Everything about it seems to bring out the best in everybody that chooses to partake in this revelry. The food, the atmosphere, the rivalries; one could make a list of all the positives that come included with this great sport.

Arguably the best thing about football is that in our country, we have a day (or night) of the weekend dedicated to each and every level of competition, with the occasional weeknight game thrown in. Friday nights belong to high school football, with the majority of teams across the nation kicking off on this day.  Then you have your college football on Saturdays, which in our part of the country can be the reason behind a good or bad proceeding week at work or school. We wrap up our weekend with a little bit of professional football on Sundays, which also may consist of an afternoon nap as we try to recover from yesterday’s college games. Three whole days of nonstop football watching action is how most sports fans in our country spend their weekends in the fall.

While football serves as the main attraction for fall entertainment, there are still other sporting events that take place during this time that can be as exciting. September and October provide us with enthusiastic, down-to-the-wire pennant races in Major League Baseball.  As the lengthy 162-game regular season comes to a close, teams all over the MLB look to punch their post season tickets in hopes of bringing home a World Series title.

Unlike football, where one may only get to watch it on certain nights, playoff baseball is on television every evening until a champion is crowned. These postseason games feature close-knit action, where one pitch could result in the difference between winning and losing a series. These games have the calmest of baseball fans on the edge of their seats, clinging nervously to every play.  When it comes to middle of the week prime time television entertainment, look for a  postseason baseball to be able to do the trick.

As the leaves begin to change colors and we approach the beloved season of fall, sports fans all over begin to rejoice over the great things that they know are to come. No matter what level of competition, the satisfaction we get from these sporting events cannot be rivaled. Some of our greatest memories in life can be associated with these events that take place every year. From a fan’s perspective, there really is no better time than fall.




























Big Fish Makes Big Splash on Campus



By Jessica Klinner

What brings people together in the name of academic learning and fun? A book club, of course! AUM’s Common Reading Program, AUM Connected, is cultivating the largest book club in the Montgomery area. Every school year a book is chosen to be read campus and community wide. The 2014-2015 selection, “Big Fish,” is already making a big splash on campus.

Dr. Lee Farrow, Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and co-chair of the Common Reading Committee, sits in her office decked out in zombie apparel. She has just returned from the SOLA’s Zombie Bash and energetically discusses the upcoming events planned in association with “Big Fish.”  The most anticipated of the events is the talk with author Daniel Wallace followed by a showing of the film adaptation of the novel and a book signing. Other events include several lectures by faculty members, a social media guided treasure hunt and a community wide book signing with Wallace.

When the program started three years ago, there was a very small number of participants. Over the years, Farrow and the rest of the committee have worked to make the program more appealing to students and their various interests. “It’s a way to try and get students involved in the university, allow students to meet one another and to interact with faculty in a non-threatening setting,” Farrow said.

With a variety of events prepared for the fall semester, the program will have no problem drawing in a diverse crowd of students. The best thing about the program is that the students, faculty and staff at AUM have a say in which book is chosen. Suggestions from the campus are submitted to a committee, who take the best suggestions and narrow them down to six books. Once the final books have been decided on, the students, faculty and staff of AUM vote on which one they want to be featured as the official book of the Common Reading Program for the next school year. This method allows students to be actively involved in the program. “We really want this to be a program that appeals to people all over campus regardless of their major or their specialty,” Farrow said.

Beyond campus, AUM Connected aims to get the community involved by offering a special book signing with Wallace at Capitol Books and News as well as a screening of “Big Fish”at the Capri in Old Cloverdale. “We are a resource here in Montgomery, and I’d like to see the community benefit from that,” Farrow said.

The Common Reading Program is also holding a contest called “Picture Me Reading.” This is the second installment in the contest, which asksthose wanting to be involved with the program to take a picture of themselves reading “Big Fish” and email it to Farrow. Submissions for the fall term are due by Jan. 15 and can be sent to lfarrow@aum.edu for consideration.  The year of Big Fish will culminate with an event in early March called “AUM Reads” that will feature speakers, events, and a movie, all tied to the theme of reading for fun and self-edification.


2014 SGA Retreat: Fresh Leadership

By Parker Judy


After the Student Government Association elections last spring semester, the Auburn University at Montgomery student body came under new leadership.  After Marie Reuter was elected as President and I was elected Vice President, we immediately began planning our course of action for the new administration. This course was founded on a vision for greater transparency with students and reorganization of our own internal operations to more adequately represent every student.  In order to accomplish this vision, we unveiled the specific plans to the entire Student Government during the retreat that took place weeks before the fall semester.  The Executive Council met on the first morning , and President Reuter discussed the agenda for the two-day retreat.  Once the new Senate and Cabinet were formally welcomed, and we were all introduced to one another, we all loaded up the bus and headed to our retreat destination: the Alabama 4-H Center, a camp located on the glittering Lay Lake in Columbiana. As we approached the remote location, there was excitement along with the awkwardness inevitable in an assembly of strangers. After settling into our rooms, Secretary Caleb Conner led us in an icebreaker that quickly dissolved all tension.  We clicked, and now that we all had been given the opportunity to know one another on a personal level and fill our stomachs in the mess hall, it was time to get to work.  Despite the fact that only a few of the members ran for their positions during campus-wide elections, all of them were  noticeably aware that they represented a specific population of AUM students and were expected to do a job. President Reuter began putting our duties into perspective by focusing us on the reasons why we belonged to the SGA. The consensus was that we were all participating to unify our diverse population of students by volunteering ourselves as visible, accessible and vocal problem solvers, advocating for a more enjoyable atmosphere of learning and extracurricular activities, and strengthening our campus spirit.

To accomplish those goals, we were aware that as AUM’s Student Government we must communicate with students in a more efficient manner. Therefore, we established Transparency, Sustainability, Traditions, and Homecoming Committees open to non-members with the intent on making sure we did just that. In addition, a master calendar of upcoming events was created to keep us organized and deliberate in our actions.  Now that a clear and unmistakable identity for the entire administration had been set, President Reuter split the Senate and Cabinet into separate groups in order to more precisely define the roles and expectations of each individual member. As Vice President, I focused the Senate on how to address policy issues governing campus life and the manner in which they would be supporting the students in each academic school. In conjunction, the Cabinet was guided by Chief of Staff Jonathan Segars in the elements governing event planning and representation of targeted student population.  Once these responsibilities were made clear, Parliamentary rules of order were established, and the methodology behind passing amendments, billsand resolutions was defined.

A significant portion of information had been consumed in a short amount of time, but the mannerisms and feedback of the assembly proved that there was a clear comprehension of our mission and responsibilities. Even though this was our first group meeting, there was official business that needed to be covered. Therefore, we conducted our first Senate meeting, and multiple members were sworn in by Chief Justice Chris Searcy.  One of these was Treasurer Blanca Olivarez, who encouraged the Senate with a bold statement about her plans for the Appropriations Committee and her ability to properly divert funds to student organizations.

The meeting was a success, and we rewarded ourselves with a rudely-built campfire, tasty s’mores and informal conversations.  After the campfire, we proceeded into a late night filled with storytelling, card games and the pelting of President Reuter with an inflatable beach ball.  The following morning we rose early, ate a hearty breakfast and carried out team building exercises in the woods.  Student Affairs Director and SGA Advisor Lakecia Harris brought the retreat to a close by reminding us of all we had learned over the two days.  She encouraged us to be consistent in our efforts during the busy year and unhesitant in our support of you, the Warhawk Nation.




Puckett’s Preseason Top 10

By Darrell Puckett


The anticipation of how the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide will finish is the talk of this summer’s sports radio stations.  The state of Alabama has always thought this discussion as essential. Many esteemed websites and columnists have given their top 10 pre-season rankings. Here are mine:

  1. Florida State
  2. Auburn
  3. Oregon
  4. Alabama
  5. Stanford
  6. Oklahoma
  7. UCLA
  8. Baylor
  9. South Carolina
  10. LSU

Let’s remember one key thing, it’s too early for anyone to successfully rank these teams.  Pre-season rankings are what true, impatient and excited fans look forward to.

Auburn:   The Tigers are prepared for another great season, but their schedule strength has been ranked third toughest in the country.  With trap games like Kansas State and Mississippi State early in the season, any team could slip up.  This doesn’t take away from the amount of talent coming back for Auburn.  Coach Malzahn, for the first time in his college coaching career, will return Nick Marshall as starting quarterback.  Also, the Tigers return Sammie Coates who led a young receiving group last season.  With the signing of five-star wide-receiver Duke Williams, Auburn could potentially have the two most dynamic receivers in college football this season.   Unfortunately, reports have indicated that sophomore defensive end Carl Lawson might undergo season ending ACL surgery.

If Auburn can get through the LSU game undefeated, then another appearance in post-season play should be expected.  The four team playoff has left a lot fans questioning how teams will be selected.   Winning your league will be very valuable.

Alabama:  The addition of junior quarterback Jacob Coker, a Florida State transfer, has made many Alabama fans excited.  Losing a two-time BCS National Championship quarterback like AJ McCarron should be tough, but the Crimson Tide feel confident in Coker’s talent.  Coach Jimbo Fisher commented on Coker’s talent level and said that he should be the best quarterback Nick Saban has had at Alabama.     The Tide has loaded up again with prestigious young players.  Look for the Tide to have an outstanding chance to finish undefeated because of a less intensive schedule.

Contact the writer: dpucket1@aum.edu

Puckett’s Flaming Hot Preseason SEC Rankings


By Darrell Puckett

When discussing sports talk in the South, there’s always one constant: college football. Last season I gave my preseason list of where teams will finish regarding the SEC Eastern and Western divisions.  This season I will be swift and direct but informative.  With no further ado, here’s a look into my projected SEC rankings for 2014.


  1. Auburn (13-1, 7-1)
  2. LSU (11-2, 6-2)
  3. Alabama (11-2, 6-2)
  4. Ole Miss (9-4, 4-4)
  5. Texas A&M (8-5, 3-5)
  6. Mississippi State (7-6, 3-5)
  7. Arkansas (4-8, 1-7)


  1. Georgia (11-2, 6-2)
  2. Florida (11-2, 6-2)
  3. South Carolina (10-3, 5-3)
  4. Missouri (9-4, 4-4)
  5. Kentucky (7-6, 3-5)
  6. Tennessee (6-7, 2-6)
  7. Vanderbilt (4-8, 1-7)

AUBURN: Of course, the Auburn Tigers led by Nick Marshall are my number one team in this West division.  Turning from 3-9 (0-8) to 12-2 (7-1) in one year says a lot about Coach Gus Malzahn and his staff.  Yes, Tre Mason is gone, but there’s more to this offense than an NFL running back.  Newly acquired junior college receiver Duke Williams, along with Sammie Coates, will provide Marshall the needed weapons out deep.  The key will be on defense by improving their secondary and star-linebacker positions.  This might be the deepest depth perception wise at each position in AU history.  The Tiger’s do have the 16th toughest schedule according to Bleacher Report, so that should be their biggest hurdle.  Auburn’s road games are at Kansas State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama.  This difficult schedule could both hurt and help AU’s chances of reaching the four team National Championship playoff.

GEORGIA: Mark Richt has been on the hot seat for many years now, but I believe that this will be his season.  Georgia returns with the most dynamic running back duo since Auburn’s Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.  If Gurley and Marshall weren’t injured last season, the Dawgs would’ve produced a better record.  Watch out for Georgia if they start the season off 2-0 after victories over Clemson and South Carolina.  Historically speaking, the team that wins between South Carolina and Georgia usually has a slight edge within this Eastern division.  The Dawgs must find a way to slow down USC running back Mike Davis to win that game.  Look for Georgia to make a huge impact among the East teams, while Florida and South Carolina sit outside the top spot.

Contact the writer: dpucket1@aum.edu

Teams Look to Change their Luck in the NFL Draft


By Chad Underwood

As the National Football League and its fans wait through another offseason, one of the league’s premier events is only a couple weeks away: The NFL Draft. It is a spectacle in every way, from the non-stop coverage provided by ESPN and the NFL Network to the fans who pay to watch it all unfold from their seats in Radio City Music Hall. The draft can be a blessing or a curse for the bottom feeders of the league. In 2012, the Indianapolis Colts drafted Andrew Luck, who went on to have a remarkable first two seasons in the NFL. That pick set up the Colts to be successful for the foreseeable future. Much harsher realities face teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cleveland Browns, who cannot find the right formula when it comes to the draft. Both teams will once again pick in the top ten in this year.

In this preview, I would like to look at some of the teams with top picks, and how they could improve their chances of winning dramatically this offseason.


The Texans are coming off a 2-14 record last year and have a huge decision ahead of them regarding the number one overall pick. The team desperately needs a quarterback, but that would mean passing on South Carolina’s stud defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans were a playoff team two seasons ago and lost six games last year by five points or less. The case could be made that Houston is not as bad as last year’s record indicates. If the Texans go with a quarterback like Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, it puts them in a high-risk, high reward scenario. Drafting Clowney would be a much safer pick, and with the combination of him and current Texans defensive end J.J. Watt would certainly give Houston one of the most feared pass rushes in the entire league.

FINAL VERDICT: Take Clowney and find a quarterback in another round of the draft. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was a third round draft pick in 2012 and won the Super Bowl last year. It can be done.


The St. Louis Rams had a 7-9 record last season, and they have this pick because of a trade that occurred with Washington in 2012. The Rams found a possession receiver in Tavon Austin in the first round of last year’s draft and could be looking at that same position this year. Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins could make an immediate impact on a young corps who needs another playmaker desperately. Of course, if Jadeveon Clowney is available, this would make perfect sense for the Rams, adding to an already strong pass rush that ranked third in sacks last season. If Clowney is not available, other viable options include trading the pick for a veteran wide receiver or taking Buffalo DE Khalil Mack, who is widely considered the second best DE in the draft.

FINAL VERDICT: I love the idea of trading the pick for a veteran receiver if that option is available. Lots of teams will be chasing Clowney, so if he slips to that second pick it will take on a whole new level of value. If the Rams can get a team to overpay for the second overall pick in the form of a wide receiver with professional experience, I would trade the pick.


The Jaguars obtained a 4-12 record last season and maintained their reputation as the laughing stock of the league. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon is suspended indefinitely and requesting reinstatement in 2014 after some trouble with the law and a trip to rehab. So it might make the most sense for the Jags to cut ties with Blackmon and draft an available receiver like Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans from Texas A&M. Jacksonville also needs help at quarterback and another Texas A&M player could help there: Johnny Manziel. Manziel is by far the most exciting player in the draft, and one the Jags could benefit from by drafting. The franchise has been rumored to be moving to Los Angeles and has the worst attendance in the league. If Manziel was selected, that could quickly change.

FINAL VERDICT: This franchise needs a “shot in the arm” more than anyone, and the current front office might only have one more chance to make it work. Manziel is a dynamic player who will immediately sell jerseys and get people in the stadium for games. That, above all, is what the Jaguars need right now: a game-changer.

The NFL Draft is full of twists and turns, and nothing is guaranteed. Just because I think this would be a smart way for the first three picks to be used does not mean there are not bigger and better ways for these teams to use their assets. No matter what, the event will be entertaining and stressful for anyone who has a rooting interest in any club.

The Lifestyle of An Alabamian

By Darrell Puckett


The assumed expectations of some fans towards a certain college program or professional team sometimes seem too much.  Growing up both an Auburn and Louisville fan, there were instances where I observed obsessive behavior from other fans at games.  These fans were at times misguided it appeared.  They seemed consumed with something other than enjoying watching their team play.  They seemed consumed with winning.

I often find myself asking one question consistently.  Is winning the only thing that matters?  Of course, being young and ignorant I didn’t understand the winning tradition for athletics.  Becoming a fan was more than giving my allegiance for this or that particular team.  It was a lifestyle.

The state of Alabama takes college football seriously.  Well, it takes any athletic competition between Auburn and Alabama seriously.  The athletic culture down South differs from any other in our country.  The culture resembles a consistent life style that’s passed on from each generation.  One question is assembled and asked to every child when they’re capable of comprehension.  Roll Tide or War Eagle?  The answer to this question will instantly impact that person’s life until death.  It’s a life style.

Making the decision to become an Auburn fan dictated my relationship with family, friends, classmates, and acquaintances instantly.  The first question asked by people in Alabama is who do you root for?  How crazy is that?  I’ve always heard that if you’re not from here, then it’s impossible to understand.  There’s truth to that statement, just watch an Auburn and Alabama game.

Individuals who refuse to chose a side are instantly considered an outcast and not from Alabama.  To be honest, I wouldn’t trade growing up in this state for anything.  It taught me how to deal with both sides of fans, the overly excessive and plausible types.  First off, both sides have these two types.  The amount of times a day I hear each fan base make claims arguing who’s classier or are better educated is uncountable.  Having thick skin is essential, and how you deal with an insult exemplifies your character around here.

Outsiders are easily seen by their jealous remarks when talking about the SEC dominance in recent years. If you can’t name how many National Championships the University of Alabama have or the amount Auburn claims, then don’t open your mouth.  Fans around here only acknowledge statistics, Heisman Trophies, and National Championships.  People who criticize this mind set are considered ignorant and incompetent among locals.

I’m proud to be a part of something so chaotic, absurd, compulsive, and ridiculed called Alabama sports.  Yes, we love our athletics, but remember it’s a lifestyle.

Contact the writer: dpucket1@aum.edu