AUBURN, Ala. — Normally this spot is reserved for previewing Auburn's opponent each week.
Unfortunately, "Open Date" hasn't had anything written about it over the past several days. (Pardon my attempt at humor there. I know it likely fell flat. As the popular Twitter hashtag says, "I'll see myself out.")
In lieu of this bye week for the Tigers, it seems to be a good time to catch up on some of the latest news and other things being written about the Tigers both locally and nationally since their stirring, 43-38 victory over Georgia last Saturday.
Let's light this candle.
1. The biggest news to come out of Wednesday had nothing to do with an Auburn player — not a current one, anyway. Nonetheless, Stephen Roberts of Opelika High School made waves by switching his commitment from Alabama to Auburn, becoming the Tigers' 17th pledge for their 2014 class. The four-star cornerback prospect originally committed to the Crimson Tide in April.
2. It was arguably Auburn's worst-kept secret, but Ellis Johnson finally put it to rest following Wednesday's practice: linebacker Justin Garrett will take a redshirt and sit out the rest of the season after having surgery on his right foot a few weeks ago. The Tucker native battled nagging foot injuries all season, appearing in only two games (Mississippi State and LSU) and collecting just four tackles.
3. The Iron Bowl is still nine days away. Everyone knows the magnitude of the rivalry, but where does NCAA.com rank it among the best in college football? (Without revealing too much, let's say I don't think it's ranked high enough.)
4. Saturday's game added yet another memorable chapter to the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. Michael Bird of SB Nation writes that's just one reason (among a few others he mentions) that the Georgia/Auburn rivalry needs to remain regardless of how much SEC expansion continues to shape future league schedules.
5. Not surprisingly, national media have started to descend on Auburn in the wake of the team's turnaround season. Dan Wolken of USA Today stopped by for last Saturday's game and penned an early primer on the massive implications (both in the conference and nationally) riding on the outcome of next week's Iron Bowl.
6. Speaking of the Tigers' turnaround season, that's the crux of the story Dennis Dodd wrote on Monday. CBS Sports' senior college football columnist made the rounds and talked to Dee Ford, Reese Dismukes and Tre Mason, among others, to try to put this season in the proper perspective, especially when juxtaposed against the wretched 2012 campaign.
7. Tommy Hicks of AL.com caught up with Joe Whitt Sr. on Monday, as the former Auburn assistant had a speaking engagement at Heron Lakes Country Club in Mobile, Ala. Whitt Sr. was the man responsible for Dameyune Craig becoming a Tiger. Whitt said he hasn't been surprised by anything Craig (now Auburn's wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator) has accomplished since joining the coaching ranks.