It's safe to say we have reached the dead period of SEC football, if indeed one exists in this modern day internet environment that is saturated with year round coverage. Use to be that college football was a 3-4 month season. Then it expanded with countdown to signing day. Then came the increasing popularity of Spring practice and Spring games. After Spring ball we don't even wait until January to get interested in recruiting, but instead jump right back into it as evidenced by the recent Tiger Prowl and Big Cat Weekend (thank you Rivals). Now we are just a month away from SEC Media Days with the beginning of Fall practice following shortly thereafter. Welcome to the neverending circus of SEC football, where there are no goodbyes and everyone is trying not to go home. Certainly there are some lulls here and there throughout the year and the interest reaches its crescendo during the Fall, but college football in the South no longer goes into hibernation. The 365 days a year nature of Auburn-Alabama might suggest it has always been so, but never to this level.
If there is a dead period throughout all this, however, it is the idle days of June and July. Sure, we have summer football camps going on and recruiting never really ends, but isolated incidents like Bama's recent probation are the only pieces of news that grab our interest at this point in the year. We have reached the calm before the storm so to speak. Everything that has happened in the months of January to May is prologue. Now we begin to think about the upcoming season in earnest. Chizik and his staff have been laying a foundation for the future in recent months, but the first chapter of that future is about to be written, starting on September 5 when we line up to play Louisiana Tech. Tiger Prowl and Big Cat Weekend were great, but the significance of those events won't be felt until 2010 at the earliest. The business of 2009 will soon be at hand and no matter how tempered Auburn fans' expectations are about the upcoming season, the excitement of hope and possibility will inevitably begin to build in our minds with the first Saturday in September drawing ever closer.
As we tan ourselves by the pool or on the golf course, Summer offers plenty of distractions to keep one occupied, but all the while it is just part of the incessant build up to Fall weekends in the South. Ten years ago, I would have been scowering Lindy's and Athlon front to back to extrapolate what pieces of information I could to surmise in my own mind what might occur on the gridiron during the upcoming season. The depth of knowledge now available on the internet during and right after Spring practice has sort of made this practice obsolete, but the anticipation still has not receded. If I'm at the beach, I'll probably be diagramming X's and O's in the sand as I try to figure out just how Malzahn's offense is going to work in the Fall. A little sad? Sure, but that's SEC football for you. Even the dead period of the season brings with it a certain restlessness as we draw ever closer to that first gameday in Auburn. The wait is agonizing, but before you know it, Ric Smith will be announcing for the fans outside of Jordan-Hare that kick off to the first game of the 2009 season is only one hour away. It's pure nirvana for Auburn fans.