This season there won’t be any worrying about BCS computer scores or pollsters’ votes. The two teams reaching football’s national championship game will have played their way into the ultimate game by way of a new four-team playoff whose field will be set by a panel of — and this is still up for debate — gridiron experts.
For Auburn, the journey to the first College Football Playoff has already kicked off down on the Plains. Gus Malzahn has admitted that he’s had a hard time getting over his squad’s last-minute loss to Florida State in this year’s title showdown. His boss — Auburn AD Jay Jacobs — sees his coach’s frustration… as well as his determination to be one-minute better in the upcoming season:
“He’s having a hard time putting it behind him. It’s hard to say he’s more resilient now, because of how he was, but he’s got the throttle pressed all the way to the floor, trying to push it through the floor. He can’t get back there quick enough.”
Malzahn won numerous Coach of the Year honors in guiding Auburn to a 12-2 record just one year removed from Gene Chizik’s 3-9 mark. This year the Tigers will go from being the hunter to the hunted. And as we point out so often, there’s not been a repeat SEC champion since 1997-98. To work his way back into the playoff and then the title game this fall, Malzahn had better have the pedal to the metal.