Yes, the Alabama Crimson Tide is responsible for Auburn having to deal with the controversy surrounding Cam Newton's eligibility. This isn't coming from some conspiracy theorist from Auburn. I'm a life-long Tide fan, but I do feel as though we're the ones that are responsible for causing Auburn the headache they're dealing with now. Let me explain in detail.
January 3, 2007, a day that every true Tide fan will remember. The day Nick Saban officially announced that he accepted an offer to become Alabama's head coach. Up to this point, Auburn had beaten the Tide five times in a row, and the whole "Fear the Thumb" taunt had come to pass. Auburn was on top in the Yellowhammer state in regards to college football.
But then in comes Nick Saban, and Crimson once again started to wash over the state, and indeed, the entire Southeast. His reception when he arrived in Tuscaloosa was one of jubilation, with throngs of supporters (including some seemingly inebriated females). His very first A-Day Game, before he had even officially coached a game at the University of Alabama, was sold out with 92,138 people attending and many more being turned away at the gate, an A-Day Game record. This was just a spring scrimmage.
The first year saw much promise in Tuscaloosa at the beginning of the season, but tapered off near the end of the season with four straight losses, including the infamous UL-Monroe loss, followed by losing to Auburn on the Plains, the sixth in a row. Auburn rejoiced, for they still owned Alabama, even with their new "savior". However, the foundation was set for the following season with a bowl win and upon reflection, realizing that all 6 losses that season came within one touchdown. A 7-6 season could have easily been much better with just a different bounce or two here and there.
Then the unthinkable happened. A 7-6 year, a loss to UL-Monroe, a 4-game regular season losing streak, and the sixth loss in a row to Alabama's most hated rival, Nick Saban did the unthinkable. He brought in the number 1 recruiting class in the country. How could this happen? It made no sense.
Then the 2008 season came. It began looking promising with a route of Clemson in the premier game of the opening day of the season. It continued with an impressive thumping of Arkansas on the road, typically a tougher contest for the Tide in recent years. Then came the Georgia game, at Georgia. Undefeated and ranked #3 in the country (previously ranked #1) and full deployment of the black jersey in a blackout night game. And while Georgia came very close to coming back, the entire SEC, and indeed, the entire nation, was put on notice by halftime, and the black jerseys looked more fit for a funeral. And by the time Nick Saban went to his old home against LSU, with a win in overtime, the Tide had clinched the SEC West and a #1 BCS ranking.
Meanwhile, on the Plains, things were not going well. Heading into the Iron Bowl, Auburn needed a win just to get bowl eligible. At 5-6, the number 7 was going to come into play for Auburn this night, with either Auburn having 7 losses for the season or 7 wins in a row over their greatest rival in Tuscaloosa.
When the clock read 0:00 after the Iron Bowl, Auburn had been put on notice with a 36-0 shutout, with Alabama holding the #1 ranking in the country and with a shot at the SEC and potentially, the BCS national championship title, and with an Auburn team in complete disarray after their trial and major error with trying to revamp their offense. That notice lifted into the sweet and cool Alabama night air with not just the customary two, but five chants of Rammer Jammer. Auburn had been humbled, no, more than that, they had been humiliated. During the final drive of the game, they couldn't even get past the line of scrimmage once. Yes, Auburn had once again been relegated to the role of the little step-brother in the shadow of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
And that was the night that began putting the wheels in motion for what Auburn is experiencing at this time. Now, this is highly speculative, with no proof (yet), but it's at the very least plausible, considering the stories that are still developing.
Tommy Tuberville appeared to run a fairly clean program. This might not have impressed some certain Auburn boosters, such as Bobby Lowder, whose name has been linked during this investigation and was a key player in JetGate, and other boosters who appear to wield way too much power on Auburn's purse strings. He resigned from Auburn after the 36-0 blistering at the hands of the Tide.
So they go out and find the best 5-19 coach they could find. The new coach's reception was slightly less spectacular than Nick Saban's on the other side of the state just two years prior. And I'll be damned if that Nick Saban guy brought in yet another number 1 recruiting class after an undefeated regular season.
Fast forward one year. After a 7-5 season, Auburn raked in a top-5 recruiting class, largely on the back of Cam Newton. Oh, I almost forgot, the guys on the West side of the state just went 14-0 and won....let's see....ah, yes....the SEC championship, the BCS national championship, their first ever Heisman, a Butkus award, etc etc.
Are there possibilities? Perhaps, let's see.....
Was there potentially pressure from the boosters who control the actual purse strings of Auburn to once again compete for recruits with the hated Tide, who had pretty much locked down the state of Alabama under Nick Saban? Was a 5-19 coach more willing to look the other way to allow what needed to be done to get the talent on the Plains when the prior two coaches weren't so willing? Does the national championship for Alabama bother these Auburn boosters even more when taking into account the 2004 season when they were left out of their shot at the title? Was pride for the War Eagle too much for their boosters (in case I didn't mention it, who control Auburn's purse strings) to handle to be considered an afterthought in the state of Alabama, and indeed, the SEC and even the entire nation?
If this story turns out the way it appears to possibly be heading, considering the Auburn boosters now being questioned by the FBI (possibly unrelated), then you can point to one red-letter date that led to all of this.
January 3, 2007.
Yes, if this story develops into a pay-for-play scheme involving Auburn itself, that is the date which started the snowball that grew into what it is today for them. I mean, who could blame them? They had no other choice if they wanted to be relevant again. It's really not their fault. It's our fault.
The Crimson Tide are truly guilty of causing these issues for Auburn. There can be no doubt about it.