Archived Story

Amen Corner awaits the Tigers in home stretch

Published 6:26pm Tuesday, November 5, 2013

By Andy Graham

In 1958, a man by the name of Herbert Warren Wind wrote an article in Sports Illustrated about that year’s Masters golf tournament (won by Arnold Palmer), which is held at the picturesque Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
The 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta have always been a place for dramatic action throughout the tournament’s history.
Herbert wanted to come up with a catchy phrase to describe the famous stretch of holes, and so was born “Amen Corner.”
The phrase has become one of the most famous monikers in sports, and it denotes a place where exciting action takes place.
It also has the unmistakable connotation of making the final turn before heading home.
From 1964-1991, the Auburn Tigers finished every regular season by playing Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Mississippi State was usually inserted between Florida and Georgia. In the 1980s, an out of conference game became the filler between the Gators and the Dawgs.
Coach Pat Dye, hired in 1981, soon began to refer to this brutal stretch of games as “Amen Corner.” The name was wholly appropriate because these games were always the most intense of the season and usually carried the most weight.
During Dye’s tenure, Auburn played some of its most classic games against these three opponents during the home stretch of the schedule.
Florida moved out of its usual place on Auburn’s schedule in 1992 and ceased to be a permanent opponent in 2003.
Believe it or not (and I’m having trouble believing it even though I’m writing it), the 2013 Auburn Tigers have just hit “Amen Corner.”
The Tigers will finish the regular season with a road game against Tennessee and follow that by hosting Georgia and Alabama. UT has volunteered (ha ha) to play the role of Florida in Auburn’s metaphoric golf themed turn for home this year.
It’s already been a season full of exciting finishes and an incredible turnaround.
So why do I get the feeling the best is yet to come? The Tigers have already exceeded my expectations, but from the sound of things they haven’t yet exceeded their own.
I’m not going to throw out the same old tired clichés about playing one game at a time and not looking ahead (although I must admit that is sound advice).
I’m going to say what everyone already believes. Auburn should beat Tennessee. There’s no guarantee they will, but they should.
However, the last two games on the agenda are a different story. Georgia has beaten Auburn in six of its last seven meetings, and four have been by large margins.
Alabama has beaten the Tigers in four of its last five meetings, and three have been by large margins.
Gus Malzahn has already proven to be the right man for the job. If Auburn could go 2-1 in its final three, it would turn an incredible season into a phenomenal season.
If somehow the Tigers run the table, Malzahn should be named coach of the decade with seven years still remaining.
Here’s hoping “Amen Corner” leads Auburn on to its 11th, 12th and 13th win of the season.
Graham is a sports columnist for The Outlook.