SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In some of his most poignant comments of the week, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Sunday that the Tigers are playing for a lot more than themselves on Monday night in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game.
Auburn hasn’t won a national championship since 1957, and several times this week, the 2004 Auburn team has come up. That team went unbeaten and didn’t get a chance to play for the national title.
Chizik was the defensive coordinator on that club.
The 1983 and 1993 Auburn teams were also powerhouse clubs, but never got a chance to play for the national title.
“When I say ourselves, I’m talking about the Auburn family,” Chizik said. “I’m talking about those teams (1983, 1993 and 2004). I’m talking about the people that decided to travel and come out here and don’t have a ticket. I’m talking about the people that have followed Auburn football and they come up to you and say, ‘I haven’t missed a game in 55 years.’
“I’m talking about all the people that pour so much (into the Auburn program). Our place is full of love and passion and excitement for Auburn. And that’s the whole family. So when I say for us, … I mean the Auburn family and everybody that cares to carry the flag.”
Chizik said he’s made it clear to his players that this game isn’t about them.
“It will be about you 20 years from now,” said Chizik, recounting his speech to his players. “But today, tomorrow, this game is not about you. It’s about us, and it’s about a family, and you are playing for more people than yourselves.”