MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - SEC football is officially here and the Auburn Tigers will kick off the 2020 season at home against Kentucky Saturday morning. It will be the start to a season unlike any other in college football history.
For starters, this year, all 10 games are conference games.
“It just means more,” said Jeff Shearer, spokesperson for Auburn Athletics. “This season is going to be all meat."
Twenty percent of Jordan-Hare Stadium will be filled, and the nearly 17,000 fans allowed inside are primarily students.
“We wanted to prioritize the on-campus experience of our Auburn student body because students have already had to make so many sacrifices, and they’ve had to give up so much that we wanted to give them this normalcy of the college experience,” Shearer said.
“We hear from so many alums who look back fondly on the time that they were students and the memories that they made, and while they wanted to come too, they were in full support of the decision by Athletic Director Allen Greene and Auburn University leadership to prioritize students," Shearer went on to say.
With fewer fans in the stands, Auburn students say they are going to have to bring even more energy to the stadium.
“We need to be five times more electric than usual," said freshman James Mangano. "They’re coming to our house, it’s an empty house, but we’ll make it loud.”
Seats inside the stadium will be spaced out. Shearer says orange-backed seats are for students and blue-backed seats are for the guests supporting the student-athletes on the opposing team, as well as for Auburn players and coaches.
Masks are required to be worn before, during and after the game. Tickets are virtual this year, and concessions will be open but will be cashless to avoid close contact.
Hand hygiene is also being accounted for.
“Everywhere you look there are going to be hand sanitizers," Shearer said. “There are 180 of them placed throughout the stadium."
When you watch the Tigers play you’ll notice on their uniforms and equipment the Auburn Unity Symbol. At Saturday’s game, students will be given t-shirts with the same symbol.
Some of Auburn football’s most memorable traditions are also on hold this year.
“No tailgating, no Tiger Walk, (and) no eagle flight,” Shearer said. “That will be virtual, it’ll be on the video board. So it’s going to look different than it has in years past.”
But despite the changes, students are just glad they get to be apart of the action.
“I’m just thankful we get to go in the game at all and watch the Tigers play,” said freshman Ryan Johnston.
For more information on what to expect on game day, you can visit Auburn University’s website.
Those who cannot attend the game are asked to tailgate from home.