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Out with the old, in with the new

June 4, 2009

One of the more surprising comments I overheard recently regarding Big Cat Weekend had nothing to do with secondary violations. It had nothing to do with arguably the largest gathering of top high school athletes to visit the Plains this decade ever. It really didn’t even have anything at all to do with recruiting or the new coaching staff.

The comment was, and I loosely quote, “I hate they rolled Toomer’s for something other than what it deserves.”

Twenty-four hours later I decided to dig into that statement and explore my own feelings. Some of the more astute Auburn fans know the history of gathering at Toomer’s Corner and of course the “rolling” that is now famous after any Auburn victory. For those of you who don’t, the Rocky Mountain Auburn Club site does a good job of explaining it as a way to let the town and student body know Auburn had just won an away football game. It makes sense to me, because without ESPN Ochoand bloggers tuned in world wide, getting news on a win or loss must have been mindnumbingly tough. Hence a stroll through downtown Auburn on an away game Saturday afternoon: Corner rolled? Top shelf……Corner not? Misery enjoyed with cheap booze.

I personally will never forget taking my son to roll Toomer’s Corner for the first time. Or, the look on my UF fan friend’s face when we took him there after the 2006 win. I love that my daily commute to work takes me through the intersection with Toomer’s live oaks majestically swaying at me, only me, and no one else every weekday. In short, and perhaps more realistically, Toomer’s is truly a special place for those of us versed in the Orange and Blue vernacular.

So why is this Job Auburn blog-worthy? Because for Joe Auburn, Big Cat Weekend suddenly became the realization that this coaching staff will not be here 10 years from now. They may not be here two years from now. This is a staff dedicated to winning and looking for the next big thing. These guys are the mercenaries of NCAA Football and if sweeping aside a Toomer’s Corner tradition is all it takes to land a top recruiting class, then so be it – roll away.

Be careful what you wish for Auburn – we may have our own Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer in the making.

In the grand scheme of things, I am not bothered Toomer’s was rolled for an unofficial recruiting event. I absolutely loved Tiger Prowl, and logically, Big Cat Weekend was the next step in Auburn’s new recruiting philosophy. I suppose my reaction lies somewhere between hearing about inter-league play in baseball to pay-per-view boxing. One I verbally opposed, the other barely registers. No, I don’t suppose I share the reaction of the folks I loosely quoted earlier, but I do now worry about what might be next to fall.

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