PHOENIX -- An informal gathering of more than 2,000 Auburn fans Wednesday welcomed back the Tigers from Arizona, and school officials have more formal plans to celebrate the football program’s first national championship since 1953.
Auburn will conduct a one-hour BCS championship celebration Jan. 22 at Jordan-Hare Stadium, starting at 2 p.m. Admission will be free, with all seating general admission and available on a first-come basis.
Gates 2, 4, 5 and 7 on the east side and 12, 14, 15 and 17 on the west side will open two hours before the celebration is set to start.
Public parking will be available at the hay fields on South Donahue Drive. Shuttles will run from 11 a.m. until two hours after the event.
Stadium concessions on the lower level will be open.
Fans can see the title trophy at three Walmarts: the Chantilly Parkway store in Montgomery, Ala., on Friday (4-8 p.m), the Whittlesey Boulevard store in Columbus on Saturday (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) and the South College Street store in Auburn on Sunday (11 a.m.-3 p.m.).
Auburn is getting more national publicity this week, with quarterback Cam Newton among a group of players gracing the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated.
It’s Newton’s third SI cover this year. He was on the Nov. 15 cover with Oregon’s LaMichael James and TCU’s Andy Dalton. After Auburn won the SEC championship last month, he appeared on a regional cover by himself.