Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

The Iron Bowl: It’s not just football anymore

CW Archive

The entire state of Alabama and quite possibly the football world watched “Gravedigger” unfold last November, when Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe connected with wide receiver Isaiah Bond on fourth and 31 to win the Iron Bowl. 

For just over 130 years, an Iron Bowl win has mattered nearly as much as a national championship, divided more families than politics at Thanksgiving dinner, and remained even more unpredictable than Alabama tornado season.  

This game between the Crimson Tide and Tigers was introduced the same season football came to the universities, but over the years it has spread beyond the gridiron. The intrastate rivalry has extended to every sport the schools compete in, organizations and activities the schools share, and even charities the schools donate to.  

Alabama won the latest installment of the Iron Bowl, football’s 27-24 victory in Jordan-Hare Stadium, but here are the next three matchups in the storied rivalry.  

Women’s basketball at Auburn, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. CT 

Basketball is quickly working its way into the Iron Bowl legacy, and women’s head coach Kristy Curry added her name to the legend with last year’s Crimson Tide victory — the ninth consecutive win. 

“To have nine in a row [against Auburn], which is a school record, just amazing,” Curry said. “Absolutely amazing and I’m so proud for our kids.”  

 Since joining the Alabama program in 2013, Curry has gone 12-10 against the Tigers, and aside from some early losses, has learned to dominate the rivalry in the past couple of years. She hasn’t given away an Iron Bowl title since a heartbreaking 1-point loss in 2019 during the SEC tournament. Since then, there have been some close calls at home and away, during the regular season and the postseason, but still Curry has figured out a way to be victorious.  

“You can throw everything out the window when you go down there and play those guys,” Curry said. “Those rivalry games, a lot can happen.”  

The sentiment carries over to her players as well. Guard Sarah Ashlee Barker, a Birmingham native and Georgia transfer, said the Iron Bowl has followed her all her life. 

“Of course it’s different, it’s my home state, I want to go and beat Auburn,” Barker said. “I’ve grown up just wanting to beat Auburn in every sport, watching on TV, in football, basketball, baseball, anything like that. I think even when I was at Georgia I thought of it as my own Iron Bowl, I just wanted to beat them.” 

Barker, Curry and the rest of the Crimson Tide will have their chance to break the school record again by extending the win streak to 10 games on Jan. 21.  

Men’s basketball vs. Auburn, Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. CT 

After losing both Iron Bowls in the 2021-22 season, the Crimson Tide men’s basketball team came back to win both last season. The second win saw not only a 17-point comeback at home but also secured the SEC regular season championship — it was a big night for the Crimson Tide, and the rivalry win made it even sweeter. 

Head coach Nate Oats knows the importance of the rivalry, and he makes sure his players do too, including former Crimson Tide star Brandon Miller. 

“Brandon came to a lot of Alabama football games. He understands the Iron Bowl rivalry in football,” Oats said after the 2023 game. “This is the equivalent to the Iron Bowl rivalry, it’s just in basketball. I think Brandon understood it. The guys hadn’t been involved in it yet, they should understand it after playing in the environment they played in today. It’s great. It’s what makes college basketball different than the NBA.”  

This year’s Iron Bowl will be a matchup between the unranked Crimson Tide and the No. 13 Tigers. It’s a stark difference from last season, when Alabama consistently ranked in the top five and Auburn was unranked.  

Despite an 8-5 record going into SEC play, Alabama had a strong SEC home opener that Oats can only hope will carry over to Jan. 24 when the Tigers visit Tuscaloosa.  

Swim and dive in Tuscaloosa, Jan. 19 

The men’s and women’s swim and dive teams host the Tigers for their last dual meet of the season. The Iron Bowl in the Pool often takes place at the end of the season and is usually only followed by another Tiger matchup at the Auburn Invite. 

Last year, the No. 6 women’s team defeated the No. 19 Tigers, but the No. 14 men’s team fell to its No. 9 counterparts. Both teams took home relay wins, and then-sophomore Charlie Hawke, who swam in the relay win, also brought back two individual wins.  

This season, Hawke returns with several more titles to his name. With the No. 22 men’s team, Hawke ended the first half of the season at the Tennessee Invite, where he earned a career best in the 100-yard freestyle and helped break a school record in the 400-yard freestyle relay. At the invite, both the men’s team and the No. 21 women’s team finished third in their respective competitions.   

The No. 18 women’s team went undefeated in dual meets at 6-0 and the No. 19 men’s team suffered one loss to bring the Crimson Tide to 4-1. Alabama hopes to build upon its dual meet record against the No. 10 men’s and No. 14 women’s Tigers in the classic Iron Bowl matchup before heading to the Auburn Invite in February and then the SEC championships. 

More to Discover