Editor’s Note: Every year, Lagniappe asks an Alabama and Auburn fan to pen why their team is superior in our annual “Iron Bowl Smackdown.” This year we did not have to look very far, as our own reporters Dale Liesch and Jason Johnson volunteered to write down the smack they already talk around the office to each other.
My grandfather graduated from Auburn in 1957 with a civil engineering degree — a year the Tigers went undefeated, and Auburn became part of my family.
Alabama is a weird place. You don’t really choose a team here, unless you’re from one of those “House Divided” families — you’re born into one. My mom still has an “I’m a little Tiger” onesie that I somehow used to fit into. There was never any question about who I’d pull for.
There still isn’t.
My mom tells a story of talking to her father when she was little: “Do we have to be for Auburn? Because they always lose.”
“You don’t Juli,” he replied. “You can cheer for whoever you’d like, but I will always ‘be’ for Auburn.”
The same man, Col. Julian Botts, once called long distance from Iran to talk about the 1972 Iron Bowl. It was broadcast there on Armed Services Radio, with Auburn beating Alabama for the 17th time.
The following year, Auburn suffered the first of nine straight losses to their state rival. It pains me to say it, but that’s a good summation of what it’s like to be an Auburn fan. There’s more than a few ups and downs.
Some days you wish it were easier to yell “War Eagle,” but there’s never a day you’d rather yell anything else.
I don’t know what it’s like to have my team dominate 13 teams in a season and win its second-straight national title. I can however, tell you what it’s like to win the final seconds of game you don’t have any business winning — and it can’t truly be quantified.
After the “Kick Six” last year, I may or may not have kissed a grown man on the face (there was Crown Royal involved). After watching Johnny Manziel get sacked in last seconds of the game in College Station, I got a pretty large hug from the aforementioned mother.
And that’s just last year. There’s also the 1999 Damon Duval fake field goal at LSU, the 2007 win over the same team that almost wasn’t, the “Camback,” “Punt Bama, Punt.” I could go on.
I’m not sure how this will be laid out yet, but if it’s on the left side of the fold, I’ll go ahead and beat my colleague Dale Liesch to saying Auburn hasn’t played that well the past three weeks and Alabama is the No. 1 team in the country.
In any other rivalry, that would’ve made this article difficult to write — not here though.
No matter how well Alabama does or how poorly Auburn performs it’s never difficult to find the motivation needed to stay among the Tigers. That’s because it surely beats the alternative.
So, why don’t I like the Alabama Crimson Tide?
Get up and go find the closest Alabama fan to you. That guy is why.
I’m not one to call anyone entitled, but Alabama fans are … ridiculously entitled. After the Mississippi State win Nov. 15 they immediately began saying “order has been restored” or “the football Gods have spoken.”
That’s why it’s all the more better to beat them. Every fan base thinks winning is good, but there are very few who view losing as unimaginable.
However, one good thing about Bammers is they’ve got so much experience winning (and losing) that they always have a bit of advice to give us “lesser teams.”
If they win: “That’s good old fashion shutdown defense. That’s how you play grown-man football. #RTR”
If they lose: “Way to storm the field and tear down the goal posts. Classy. Act like you’ve been here before.”
It’s funny to hear that come from a fan base that includes nearly 100 percent of all the recent college football fans convicted of crimes directly related to the outcomes of football games. There was the chick that shot somebody last year after the Kick Six (I’m not looking her up), Harvey Updyke and the Krystal’s tea-bagging guy.
Though, I’m not one to judge. Some people tear down goal posts and roll trees, some people sexually assault guys who are just trying to get some tiny hamburgers. Everybody needs a tradition.
I, like the rest of planet, am also not a fan of Houndstooth.
To all you “Roll Tide” girls getting ready to say, “What does he know? There are certain ways you can make it cute” — you are lying to yourself.
Because of Houndstooth, you’ve got about as good a chance of looking fashionable on game day as any member of the Volunteers fan base.
But remember, it’s not about looks, “IT’S ABOUT CHAMPIONSHIPS,” which Bama has 10 of at most.
More than Auburn, less than 15 — but we weren’t betting the “barn” on the Tide faithful excelling in basic mathematics.
In 1941, the two-loss Tide finished 20th in the AP poll.
His majesty Bear Bryant reared teams that lost both of their final bowl games in 1964 and in 1973. Yet, one would assume all three of those years are tattooed on a gentlemen somewhere in this state.
“We don’t always go to the National Championship, but when we do, we win. Unless we don’t. Then we still win. Roll Tide!”
I don’t want to seem petty though, because trust me, I hate the Tide whether they are No. 1 or we are.
That being said, any reasonable person would tell you Auburn is headed for a decisive loss in the impending Iron Bowl, but truly, you never know.
It wouldn’t be the first time a heavily-favored Bama team met the end of its season at the hands of a rag-tag band of boys from Lee County.
We’re required to pick a score. So, I’ll say 21-28 Auburn and finish with one of my favorite quotes from Pat Dye to cover all bases.
“There’s going to be a lot of days where you lay your guts on the line and you come away empty-handed. Ain’t a damn thing you can do about it but go out there and lay them on the line again.”
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