K.J. Britt knows what his team’s going into.
The Tigers are going to be surrounded in The Swamp. They’ll be surrounded as soon as they travel across the Florida border, and land in Gator country.
Gainesville will be flooded next Saturday with Florida fans clamoring for a top-10 victory. Britt and his teammates will see them outside the bus window as they pull through the city.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be packed with fans for the hottest ticket in the country. As Britt prepares in the visitors’ locker room, he might just hear them all, yelling and stomping their feet on the bleachers above him.
But he’ll know, before he runs out the tunnel, that to him, none of them matter.
On gameday, nobody matters outside that bus, outside that locker room — outside his team.
No. 7 Auburn plays No. 10 Florida in The Swamp on Saturday with the world watching, but for Auburn and its leader at middle linebacker, all that’s important is how the Tigers take care of their business on the road.
“We’ve got to play to the Auburn standard,” Britt said Sunday, as his team turned the page to the biggest game so far this year.
“As long as we play to the Auburn standard, it doesn’t matter who we play.”
That’s how Auburn turned the page Sunday behind closed doors in the athletics complex, moving on from a 56-23 win over Mississippi State and getting right back to work before this Saturday’s spotlight showdown at Florida.
As good as Auburn looked and felt Saturday, blowing by Mississippi State and scoring on its offense’s first five drives in a rout, the Tigers are bent on keeping their focus.
“The challenge is, when things are going good, you can’t let up,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said, speaking for his 5-0 team. “You’ve got to put the hammer down even more. You’ve got to expect more out of yourself. You’ve got to try to be perfect on the practice field — don’t be satisfied with just ‘good.’
“Really, that’s the message, and our guys are buying into it and we need to have another really good week of practice. … We still have some work to do but the goal is to improve each day and each week.”
The Tigers, of course, figure they’ll have to do at least that much to go down to the famous Swamp and beat Florida.
“They’re a good team. … We’ve got to get ready, and go down there into a hostile environment,” Auburn tight end Spencer Nigh said. “Everybody’s going to be against us and it will be a big challenge — and I think we’re ready for it.”
Saturday’s game will be broadcast nationally on CBS. ESPN’s popular Saturday morning show College GameDay will be aired from there and will feature the game.
Still, despite all the circus around the game, the Tigers are bent on just doing what they do best.
“We just have to keep playing. It doesn’t matter who we play,” Britt said. “Coach Malzahn has said, we’ve just got to make sure we eliminate all self-inflicted wounds so we can play hard, play fast.
“The message is going to be the same: Just go out there and dominate. Have fun playing football. Have fun being fast, have fun being physical, have fun playing with effort. That’s going to be the same message. It ain’t going to change because of the opponent.”