If God Is An Auburn Tiger–I Quit

God is always on the side of the big battalions.


A friend reminded me of this quote recently as we “tweeted” about the idea that God might actually “take sides” in a football game. Or for that matter, any of the myriad of contests, skirmishes, wars, etc. which we deem so important.

I’ve written on the relationship between college football and religion many times before, most recently here. The key to understanding that last post is that it was intended as pure, 100%, unadulterated parody, designed to poke fun at the very idea that God is a Crimson Tide fan or that God and football mix together in any sort of significant way. If I, uh, I mean “we,” actually took that one seriously, Mike the Redneck would have one helluva personal faith crisis on his itty-bitty hands, poor lil’ feller.

But, as Flannery O’Connor once reminded us, this is the “Christ-Haunted South,” dadgummit, and nothin’, includin’ logic, has ever stopped us from manglin’ such distinctions. Why, we can mix God and mashed potatoes if we take a mind to it, and miscegenate till the cows come home. Back to the barn, so to speak. Which they always do…eventually.

This week has seen one NFL player follow through with the logical progression of the notion that “Jesus is both my BFF and my QB” and blame God for his game-losing dropped pass.

Closer to home, Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik, when asked to comment on his team’s stunning come-from-behind victory over the Crimson Tide in last week’s Iron Bowl, referred not to Xs and Os, but to YAWEH. “God is good,” he said, and that his team “has so much faith.” After his post-game sermonette, I turned to Eyegal and said, “Only in the South.”

Earlier this season after another close victory, Chizik, on his team’s success, called it “a God thing.”

Nothing wrong with that, per se. I’d like to think that “God is with me” each day in the eye exam lane, “blessing the work of my hands.”ย  However, my success there, I think, owes as much to my years of preparation and my ongoing efforts to maintain competency as it does to any sort of supernatural superintendence.

I really don’t know what Coach Chizik means by his “God Talk.” Evangelicals in the South, often at the prodding of their pastors, feel compelled to play the “God Card” in such euphoric moments. Most of the time I just let it roll off of me, like water off an Oregon Duck’s back, and move on.

But this time it got me to thinkin’ and mullin’ over whether or not God really is an Auburn Tiger after all. I mean, really, it’s going on a week and I’m still at a loss to explain that particular outcome.

If He is, then maybe this “pay for play” palooza really is “the devil be messin’,” as Cam Newton said, and not simply two secular institutions (the NCAA and FBI) investigating into whether or not current rules and laws were bent or broken during his recruitment.

But if, and I do mean if, those investigators eventually discover a money trail between Auburn and the Newton family (as apparently there was about to be between them and Mississippi State) will that be “a God thing” too? Hmmm?

I guess what I’m urging here is a little bit considerably more caution about what we attribute to God. I tend to think He’s a bit busy over larger injustices to worry about dropped passes and Iron Bowls, won or lost. Call me a Deist (and some of you will), but maybe we should return to the days when God was a bit more distant, and inscrutable, and not merely the 350 lb Big Ugly lined up next to me wearing the same uniform.

That said, congrats to the Auburn Nation for a spectacular year thus far and good luck the rest of the way.

But if God is an Auburn Tiger–I quit.

UPDATE: Despite Cecil Newton’s shopping his son to the highest bidder, Cam is still eligible to play–for now.

God, er, I mean the NCAA, has spoken.

  1. That Girl

    Of course, you know I have to comment on this… I’m just glad that Coach Chizik includes God in all aspects of his life. (After all, the sky is blue and the sun is orange…) My mother always said that I thought God wore blue jeans and a t-shirt and went everywhere I went… and I do.  I probably give God credit for things he’d rather not be associated with, too.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    I would have been disappointed if you hadn’t…

    BTW, don’t expect all those “Tiger fans” in Arkansas to show much loyalty past this weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Kristi

    We won’t. I’m not a Tiger fan, but if it’ll help them win so we can go to the Sugar Bowl, I’ll shout “War Eagle” at the TV on Saturday. Unless I’m doing something more fun. But basically, I need (err, want) them to win on Saturday. And, I’ll cheer for them in the BCS title game too, just like I cheered for Alabama last year.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    Well, if Paul Finebaum can be believed, it looks like the NCAA has cleared Cam.

    Now, Aubie, here’s your opportunity–go get it. And stick to Xs and Os.

  5. David U

    Great post…..and I couldn’t agree with you more.   ESPECIALLY the title of this post!  ๐Ÿ™‚    ROLL TIDE ROLL !!!!!!!!!!!  

  6. mmlace

    I tend to think He’s an AR fan…Auburn’s win was just necessary to help us along on our way to a BCS bid.Until this year, I never thought I’d find myself rooting for Auburn over Bama.Dr. Eyeguy’s right, Terri…we’re all Auburn fans in AR right now…painful as it may be…but don’t expect it to last too long.

  7. NASAgirl

    i’m not at all happy about Cam Newton being declared “eligible” after ONE freaking day of ineligibility.  And i’ll be cheering for the Gamecocks on Saturday, and then i’ll be a Duck if it goes that far.

  8. That Girl

    Ah yes, there’s the kind of Bama fan I’ve come to know.  ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Greg England

    After THE LOSS, I just gave up on football altogether. I really don’t care. But if I did care, I would want to see Auburn win the championship. Not because they are Auburn, but because they are a part of the great state of Alabama. To have two national championships in two consecutive years would be pretty impressive. But as it is, I just really don’t care. Not any longer. Not after THE LOSS. Does it sound like I care? Because if it does, I just want you to know I really don’t. Care. That is.

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