Atlanta—In the SEC, “close” doesn’t count.

In the SEC, ”close” breaks your heart, keeps you up at night and, in some cases, gets you fired.

In the SEC, you can never say “but we were close” because “close” just means you didn’t get it done.

Harsh? Probably.

But that’s the reality you live with when you step into the arena that is SEC football. And that’s the reality Auburn has had to live with after posting a 10-4 season in 2017 that could have been so much more.

“I thought we were close,” said head coach Gus Malzahn, knowing fully what the word means.

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