By midseason, the comparisons were no longer sacrilege. Once he had vanquished LSU, "Is Cam the new Bo?" had become a legitimate topic of conversation, with the lean firmly towards "Yes." And after he led the comeback at Tuscaloosa in the Iron Bowl, a victory so cerebellum-meltingly improbable we know it could only happen with the aid of one of the football immortals, it was official: he had ascended to the highest pinnacle of Auburn's Mount Olympus. There's a small temple up there, orange and blue columns out front, and it's just Bo and Cam, hangin' out. Pat Sullivan gets to stop by occasionally.
This is why it's difficult to watch Cam. When you realize this is the kind of player you're dealing with, when you know you're witnessing not just sports history but - this being college football in Alabama - actual cultural mythmaking, you process things a little differently. You stay on a mental edge for every offensive down, wondering if this is the play when Newton does something you really might tell your grandchildren about. You evaluate each snap against the impossible standard of your wildest expectations: was that play truly worthy of a Heisman-winning legend? How 'bout that one? You try and file away every detail of the viewing experience for future use, since this is Cam Newton we're talking about. You don't want to only remember where you were and who you were with when he, say, catches a pass against Ole Miss deep in the back of the end zone with the kind of ease that makes you believe he's A.J. Green in the next dimension over; you want to remember what color plastic cup you had in hand, at what angle the sun was coming through the window or over the tip of the stadium, the precise words you swore in your amazement.
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