With Turkey Day (almost) behind us, it is time for us to look forward to the next holiday. In any other state, that would be Christmas, but in Alabama, it’s the Iron Bowl — the one day when your best friend, neighbor or even spouse can become your worst enemy, if he or she is wearing the wrong colors. For folks outside the state, it’s hard for them to understand why we are so passionate about a football game. But in ‘Bama, most of our parents start indoctrinating us right about the time our umbilical cords are cut. It can get ugly — really ugly — at times, but there is also something beautiful about this rivalry.
For Lagniappe’s inaugural “Iron Bowl Smackdown,” we asked local Alabama and Auburn alums to tell us why their university, football team and fan base is superior to their rival’s. The assertions and/or accusations in these essays are not necessarily factual and they should be taken for what they are…just some good old -fashioned Tide and Tiger trash talk.
Let the games begin…
I got 99 problems but Auburn ain’t one
By Tom Walsh
Being an Alabama fan means never having to apologize. On the other hand, being an Auburn fan means always having to admit you are sorry. Bama fans do not apologize for greatness. We embrace it. It’s not that we are snobs, we’re just better than you.
I was asked to write this essay for Lagniappe’s Iron Bowl edition explaining why Bama is superior. At first, I thought it might offend some Auburn people, but 87.3 percent of them cannot read. The other 12.7 percent can’t read “good.” That is a fact. It’s in the Bible. However, like Bama fans, they are God-fearing. In fact, Aubs fear two things: God and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Aubs are not that much different than Bama fans. They are born, I guess, maybe hatched. I’m not sure. While not as cute as Bama babies, they can be loveable…at least until they learn to speak. Once that happens, the constant barrage of obnoxious banter is enough to make someone drive off a bridge.
However, if you listen closely, you can hear the inferiority in their voices. They know they are second fiddle, but getting one to admit it is a difficult task. There’s probably an Aubs Anonymous 12-Step Program for it somewhere. Admittance is the first step in recovery. “Hello, my name is Billy Bob Bubba Zeke Cletus, Jr., III, and I’m an Auburn fan.” … “Hello, Billy Bob Bubba Zeke Cletus, Jr., III.”
The Alabama football program has been one of tradition. I mean real tradition; not one that includes dying shrubbery and toilet paper. Alabama has 15 National Championships. We have the most bowl wins in Division I college football. We have the most SEC championships.
We have such tradition that Coach Saban is not even considered our best coach, even with his three championships. If not for my wife continually taking down and hiding my framed portrait of Coach Bryant, The Bear would still be hanging over the fireplace in the living room. It apparently doesn’t match the décor.
Alabama is “The University” in the state. This drives Aubs crazy, but even ESPN gets it. They didn’t make a commercial wherein everyone says, “War Eagle” in everyday settings. They made the “Roll Tide” commercial instead because it’s actually believable.
“Roll Tide” works in almost any situation. Your first child is born…Roll Tide! The Weather Channel reports a great forecast…Roll Tide! Seeing your family in the morning before work…Roll Tide! Hearing the long version of “Free Bird” on the radio…Roll Tide! Followed by “Sweet Home Alabama”…Roll Tide Roll! Closing a business deal…Roll Tide! Eating a delicious lunch…Roll Tide! Receiving a telephone call from an old friend…Roll Tide! Seeing your kids smile at the end of the day…Roll Tide! Pouring a glass of Glenlivet…Roll Tide! Tucking your children in at night…Roll Tide! HBO playing the recent Joe Namath documentary…Roll Tide! Reflecting on Saban’s legacy…Roll Tide! Telling your wife, “I want to kiss you” while doing your best Joe Namath impression…Roll Tide? Well, maybe not that last one. You get my point though.
In this day of politically correct football where hard hits are considered in poor taste, the Tide makes no apologies for having a vicious defense. We hit, and we hit hard. From the days of Lee Roy Jordan to Cornelius Bennett to Derrick Thomas to Rolando McClain to Dont’e Hightower, we take pride in watching our defenses absolutely destroy opposing offenses.
Just ask Steve Beuerlein and Kirk Cousins what they think about playing the Tide. Not a year goes by that I don’t watch “The Sack” on YouTube. I can’t imagine too many Alabamians don’t know about “The Sack.” Even my 18-month-old boy has seen footage of Cornelius Bennett knocking out Steve Beuerlein. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I tear up just thinking about it.
Bama fans remember where they were on specific moments in Alabama football history. I know exactly where I was when I heard the news that Coach Bryant died; when Van Tiffin made The Kick; when Teague made The Strip; when Coach Saban was hired; when Bama won the 1992 title; when Bama won the 2009 BCS title; when Bama won the 2011 BCS title (though after the game in New Orleans it is a bit blurry); and when Bama won the 2012 BCS title.
The University is more than football. Alabama has top-notch education. Our law school is in the top tier. The business school is one of the finest in the country. Last time I checked, Auburn wasn’t even accredited. I recently saw a handwritten cardboard sign at I-65 and Dauphin that read, “Will Trade Auburn Diploma for Food.” I just gave the poor fellow some food. Seriously, who wants an Auburn diploma? Just touching that thing would probably give you Hoof-and-Mouth Disease.
I am glad Auburn is doing well this year. It’s cute. It gives them hope. Beating Auburn this year will be even sweeter than the last two years. In 2012, Aubs wandered my neighborhood like the Walking Dead in search of a win. Wow, have they turned the obnoxious dial up to 11 this year! Crushing all of their dreams of grandeur will be the highlight to the regular season. The Music City Bowl should be fun for them. The best part of Bama’s 2009 and 2011 National Championships was that they bookended Auburn’s title. The Crimson Tide is a dynasty while Auburn is simply a flash in the pan.
I will be dead before Auburn wins another championship. They may be talking a big game now because they’ve pulled a few wins out of air, but they know they cannot compete. This year will be at least a 17-point game. There, I said it. No jinx can change that fact. To paraphrase the great philosopher, Shawn Carter, “I got 99 problems, but Auburn ain’t one.”
Iron Bowl prediction — Alabama 35, Auburn 10
I’ve got your five minutes of AUsome right here!
By Dr. James Corte
When I was asked to join this Pre-Iron Bowl project, my first thoughts went to one of the biggest differences between the two fan bases — their senses of humor. Auburn fans are better natured and would not change lawyers because of his pro-Bama/anti -Auburn ramblings. However, many of my Alabama fan clientele may abandon their longtime, dedicated veterinarian because I dared to speak out against their beloved Tide.
But oh well, it’s Iron Bowl week. Let the fun begin.
First and foremost, I truly believe Auburn and Alabama are both very good schools. I know that in the past few years, Auburn has increased their admission standards so it is likely a person who was declined admission to Auburn may have been accepted at Alabama. If you can’t go to college, you can always go to ‘Bama.
I know…Auburn is a “cow college,” ha ha, but UA has a law school. Would you prefer more lawyers in the world or more burgers? If you chose lawyers that is just anti-American.
The Auburn faithful call ourselves “The Auburn Family” not “Nation.” We are a small, close group, that cares mostly about family matters, and has little concern for those outside the family, unless their successes or failures can help AU in some way.
Most in the AU family have supported Alabama in every game this year and have wished for their success until now. We want Alabama to lose this weekend only because that means Auburn will win (stay with me… Gumps). Beating a successful Tide team will propel Auburn high into the standings where they belong. The Bama Nation, however, typically wants Auburn to lose every week in every sport for no apparent reason.
I heard a self-proclaimed Bammer on the radio say, “If Auburn was playing Al Qaeda, then I’m pulling for Al Qaeda.” Wow! That about sums it up. Auburn fans care about what is best for Auburn and Bammers just want Auburn to fail. I think some Bammers hate Auburn more than they love Alabama. Saint Nick was even caught on national television proclaiming his hatred for Auburn. He is an angry little elf! Where is the love, folks? That is the real question this Thanksgiving. Where is the love?
Even after Auburn wins the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30, I’m sure Alabama will claim another National Championship. Yes, Alabama football teams have a lot of legitimate titles. Doesn’t it make it that much sillier that a former Sports Information Director added a half dozen or so just to pad their count?
The 1941 UA team finished the season 8-2, was ranked 20th in the final AP poll and finished third in the SEC but claims this as a Natty. Really??? Where’s that Tide integrity? The Auburn Creed teaches us to count only what we earn. Auburn claims two AP national Championships, 1957 and 2010. If the AU Sports Information Office wanted to get creative, they could add 1913, 1983, and 1993 easily. I’m sure a few more, not counting The Eufala Times.
Yes, Bammers, you have a lot of titles but you have a long way to go to catch Princeton at 28. Please convince Coach Saban to give us his #1 vote in the Coaches poll after we win on Saturday. Gus would do it for you. According to Ric Flair, when you beat the man, you are the man! Wooo!
I know the one thing we can all agree on is our universal respect and love for Cam Newton. How lucky we all were to be able enjoy his amazing skills on the gridiron just three short years ago. It seems like only yesterday we all joined in supporting Auburn and the Newton family in defense of those false, malicious claims against his good name in a concocted “pay-for-play” scheme. I recall Bammers and Aubs alike flocked to Tuscaloosa that chilly day to watch in awe as the best football player to ever play in Bryant-Denny stadium was kind enough to spot the home Tide 24 points before fighting back and leading his team to a hard fought victory. He swooped in and out of our lives so quickly, but I know we all have a special place in our hearts for Cammy Cam!
Now, apparently there are dozens of rumors, tweets, photos, receipts, and recordings of “pay-for-play” allegations against numerous former and current players on the Alabama football team. Rest assured, we AU fans will give you the same level of support that you gave us during those times when we were so falsely accused. We hope that after a thorough two-to-three-year investigation by the NCAA the complete truth will be revealed for all to know and appreciate. “Seek the truth and set you free it shall.” – Yoda
For many years Bama fans and others have asked me, “Are you the Tigers, the War Eagles or what?” That’s funny coming from some fans, but from Bammers, it’s like washing your hands and then taking a leak. It just doesn’t make sense. Is Alabama the Crimson Tide, the elephants or the tree terrorists? Speaking of tree terrorists, I’m sure many of you had a cousin or six in mind when you first heard a Bama fan had sneaked over to Auburn and poisoned the Toomer’s Corner Oaks. I can hear the phone calls now “Hey there cousin/brother-in-law Ray, you didn’t break out of your ankle monitor and head over to Auburn last week did you? No? Whew!”
Being a sidewalk Bammer fan is easy. Head down to the dollar store and grab yourself a Bama trucker cap, eight to nine Bama stickers and three to four giant magnets for your car and off you go. You can’t hide money. My personal favorite is the “RMFT” one. It’s a classy way to show your Tide some love. Also, fun to explain to kids.
Most folks can spot you a mile away. Walk into any area restaurant and if you see a man wearing his hat at the table, you can “Roll Tide” him from the doorway because that is a Bama fan. University of Alabama graduates don’t particularly care for their sidewalk fans and wish you wouldn’t embarrass them like that or call in to radio talk shows all day, every day. Don’t people work anymore? Yes, we Auburn fans have a few of these types too, but ya’ll have a LOT more because you are soooo popular. Lucky you.
Being an Auburn fan is harder. Typically it requires some tie to the University (sorry Gumps, university means school). You or a loved one actually graduated from Auburn. It’s not just who you cheer for, it’s who you are. You have to work very hard to join the Auburn Family. Sure, it would be easy to join Darth Saban on the dark side. But if you are a real Auburn fan, you understand how special that is, and you get it. It really is an Auburn thing, and you Bammers just wouldn’t understand.
As the Auburn Creed states, I believe in Auburn and love it. Well, I do and War Eagle!
Iron Bowl prediction — Auburn 45 Alabama 41.