Football Rivlaries: Alabama vs. Auburn

The Iron Bowl Logo

The rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University, better known as the Iron Bowl, is one of the oldest and most tension-filled rivalries in college football history. Beginning over a century ago, in 1893, Alabama and Auburn first met (and clashed) on February 22 in Birmingham on Legion Field. Not only did Auburn win 32-22, but the schools disagreed on whether the game would count towards the 1892 or 1893 season. The nastiness continued and eventually led to a temporary suspension in the series after the 1907 game ended in a 6-6 tie and there were several logistic and financial disputes.

In 1948, the series was revived, essentially by the state government who threatened to take away funding from both schools if the rivalry was not resumed. And so, the school’s presidents decided to set aside their differences and renew the series; Alabama went on to win the game in the most lopsided victory of their meetings: 55-0.

Other memorable games:

  • 1981 – Alabama Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant earns his 315th career win, becoming the all-time winningest Division I-A coach.
  • 1989 – The Iron Bowl is played at Auburn’s Jordan–Hare Stadium for the first time (Auburn won).
  • 1994 – Both teams enter undefeated, the Tigers come out with one loss.
  • 2010 – Auburn is down by 24, but rallies to win by just one point, 28-27.
  • 2011 – The Crimson tide come in seeking redemption and revenge for the previous year’s one point loss and dominate the Tigers 42-14. (Below is a video from this year’s game.)

The Iron Bowl is typically played on Thanksgiving weekend, and as of 1987, is a “home-and-home” series (odd year games are played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, even year games are played at Bryant-Denny Stadium). The current series record is 41-34-1, Alabama. Alabama also holds the longest streak in the series with 9 years.

Games like this go deeper than just a W on the schedule; they are about school spirit and more importantly, pride. It doesn’t matter whether you are a freshman, senior, or alumni you feel that strong sense of pride in your team and school, you understand (and feel) the bitterness of a rivalry that has been built up over the last century. If your team loses, the world might as well be ending. Games like these seem to mean more than the conference or even the national championship.

This video is from this year’s game at Auburn. Some Bama players hold up the number one, as if they had just one the SEC championship. The Bama fans scream the famous-and somewhat demoralizing-“Rammer Jammer” cheer, which as my sister, an Alabama freshman who attended the game, says was that much better “especially when you’re singing it in the Auburn student section.”


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