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

Where are your loyalties?


Many students are worried they will find a helping of bickering about the upcoming Iron Bowl along with their turkey and dressing this Thanksgiving.

The epic rivalry between the Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers seems to have increased in intensity this year, with many declaring loyalties for or against Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. With the battle lines clearly drawn, what happens to those left in the middle?

Alex Curento, a junior majoring in journalism, was raised in Auburn. He knows about this tug-of-war rivalry all too well.

“My dad went to Alabama, and his influence made me grow up loving this University and our football team,” Curento said. “My mom, sister and the majority of my family love Auburn, though. Most of my high school friends love Auburn, too, and called me crazy for coming to Alabama.”

Curento said the six straight years Alabama lost in the Iron Bowl were the worst six years of his life.

“It’s been hard, but it’s certainly paid off since we’ve only lost four games since I’ve been here,” he said.

Despite Auburn’s recent winning streak, Curento said he thinks Alabama will be victorious in the upcoming showdown on their own turf.

“Their season has been like watching a 95-yard kick return, only to have a flag on the 10-yard line,” Curento said, referring to the pending allegations against Newton.

“It’s been really exciting, but it’s not going to mean anything at the end of the day. They are too deeply rooted in the forest being the tree.”

Other students are certain that, even if Auburn doesn’t pull off the win, the team will definitely give Alabama a challenge.

Jennifer Ireland, a senior majoring in advertising, has already sold her Iron Bowl ticket. Ireland grew up in a divided household, and her history with the infamous football game is checkered.

“My dad graduated from Auburn and my mom graduated from Bama,” Ireland said. “They met after college and we had to stop watching the Iron Bowl, because they are such adamant fans. That game would always cause them to fight, so I was never allowed to watch it.”

She said remembers not being able to wear paraphernalia for either team until she decided which college she would attend.

“I was so excited as a senior in high school wearing my first Alabama shirt,” Ireland said. “My dad was actually pretty good about my decision. To be fair, my mom is more violent toward Auburn than my dad is toward Alabama.”

Ireland said her mother, who comes from a long line of Alabama graduates, would have hated her if she had gone to Auburn.

“I visited both, but I decided it was a lot prettier here and better for my major,” Ireland said. “It worked out well, except when I told my family about my choice: One side was really happy and the other side was disappointed.”

Students like Ireland have been caught in the orange-and-crimson crossfire at home for years.

“I come from an Auburn family where we bought season tickets and my grandfather was a scholarship donor, “ said Jennifer LaTorre, a junior majoring in biology and psychology. “My mom still says I bleed orange and blue.”

LaTorre’s mother, Kerri, wears a large Auburn sweatshirt on the rare times she visits her daughter in Tuscaloosa.

“I live in a house in the historic district, and my mom calls it the ‘slums of Bryant-Denny Stadium’,” LaTorre said. “I feel like my grandfather is rolling over in his grave because I’m here.”

LaTorre said she chose Alabama because it was closer to home, has a strong greek system and the added advantage of allowing her to be close to her boyfriend.

“My mom said Alabama fans think Nick Saban is God,” LaTorre said. “Last year at Christmas, she told me to buy her an Auburn Mom sticker for her car. She said she was depressed she can never have one.”

Other students have also experienced negative reactions from their families after choosing to attend the University.

“My whole family went to Auburn, and my sister graduated from there a year ago,” said Emily Ruzbacki, a sophomore majoring in elementary education.

“It really upset her when I didn’t go there, and my brother-in-law didn’t talk to me for three months.”

Ruzbacki said she still felt the desire to cheer for Auburn last year because of the way she was raised.

“I stopped wanting to cheer for Auburn this season because they’re cocky and only good because of Cam Newton,” Ruzbacki said. “I am a die-hard Alabama fan now.”

Ruzbacki said she believes she developed her love for Alabama football because all of her time and money goes into this school.

Jessica Belue, a sophomore majoring in industrial and systems engineering at Auburn University, feels the same way, but from the opposite perspective.

“I grew up an Alabama fan, and my dad was pretty upset when I chose to go to Auburn,” Belue said. “He told me it was only OK because my major is engineering. If I was going into business, he said I had better pick Alabama.”

Belue said it was hard not to cheer the Tide on last year. To this day, she only cheers against Alabama when the team is playing Auburn.

“I was sad when we lost the Iron Bowl, but at the same time, I wanted Alabama to make it to the National Championship, and I didn’t want us to stand in their way,” Belue said. “We’re in the same position right now, and I think since we kind of let them win last year, they should let us win this year.”

Her boyfriend, Auburn student Will Tilson, disagrees, saying football doesn’t work that way. Either way, Belue said, she is more of an Auburn fan this season than she was last season. She believes her loyalty to the Tigers will progressively increase in the future.

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