Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country
Auburn wil get to face Alabama in Jordan-Hare in 2017.

Auburn football: What the Auburn-Alabama rivalry needs, a Justin Fields update and Austin Wiley in Egypt

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily War Eagle Wakeup, a rundown of everything happening in Auburn football and Auburn Tigers athletics with Lauren Shute. Today, we discuss what ingredient the Iron Bowl needs in 2017 and more on Austin Wiley and Team USA. 

Bring back the ferocity  

At halftime of the 2016 Iron Bowl, Auburn and Alabama jogged toward their respective locker rooms with a much closer score than many anticipated on the scoreboard.

And then came the final two quarters.

By the end of the night, it seemed most fans dressed in crimson and white were paying more attention to the music blaring over stadium speakers (which wasn’t great) than the game itself. In the end, Nick Saban’s team handed Gus Malzahn’s squad a 30-12 loss. It was a fitting and rotten ending to what was a tough end-of-year stretch for the Tigers.

There’s no denying Auburn and Alabama have been responsible for some of the greatest games and moments in college football history. The Kick Six will likely be played before games at Auburn until the end of time. Still, Sporting News recently called on Auburn to bring a resounding response to Alabama’s dominance in 2017 — and that’s exactly what the Tigers need.

The hatred between the two football teams isn’t disappearing anytime soon. Yet, Auburn needs to defend Jordan-Hare Stadium this season and rejuvenate one of the best days of the year.

No matter what’s on the playlist in Jordan-Hare or Bryant-Denny, the game should always have everyone’s attention.

Where Auburn stands with Justin Fields 

Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Alabama and Auburn. Those are the five schools that top quarterback prospect Justin Fields has visited since de-committing from Penn State.

Depending on who is providing the information, some believe Fields’ mind is made up. Yet, SEC Country received some different information when Alabama recruiting reporter Chris Kirschner spoke with Fields at The Opening in Oregon.

And don’t anticipate a decision any time soon. But there is some good news for Tigers fans. Fields has lots of good things to say about Auburn.

“Coach Chip [Lindsey] is a big family guy, and I love the way he coaches,” Fields told SEC Country. “I just love how Auburn is really family oriented. I feel like I fit in good with them with what coach [Gus] Malzahn has done in the past with quarterbacks like me.”

There’s something else that could be helping Auburn’s standing: Cam Newton. That’s the quarterback Fields brings to mind for some in the college football world and one he happens to share a close relationship.

Austin Wiley helps Team USA pull off another international win 

France might have been considered “tough,” but with Austin Wiley on the floor for the U.S., the medal favorite didn’t stand much of a chance.

Wiley scored 9 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the team’s second international game on Thursday, contributing to the U.S.’s 82-60 win.

“We played a tough France team,” Wiley said. “They were pretty good. We just played hard and were more physical, and we came out with a good W.” 

Wiley continues to stand out and earn praise from USA and Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who said the rising sophomore is continuing to “play well.” The team will train Friday and begin preliminary play on Saturday.

ICYMI

Bump, set, spike 

Auburn volleyball didn’t dominate during 2016 as it would have liked. Fortunately, the Tigers will return five starters and get another shot this fall.

The team was picked to finish fifth in the SEC based on the 2017 Preseason Coaches’ Poll. It was the highest selection for the program under coach Rick Nold.

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