Miracles on the Plains
On April 23, 2013, the oaks at Toomer's Corner had to be removed. More than two years earlier, those trees at Auburn University's historic landmark had been poisoned, casting a dark shadow over the school. Meanwhile, the Auburn football team went from national champions in 2010 to the bottom of the SEC by 2012. Head coach Gene Chizik was fired and replaced by Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator of that national title team. Expectations were bleak entering the 2013 season, as Malzahn inherited a team coming off its worst season in 60 years. What followed was one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in college football history — a year of implausible finishes, cinematic heroics, games for the ages...and, eventually, the symbolic return of those mighty oaks.