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

Iron Bowl thrills through the years


Around the country, there are a lot of bitter rivalries in college football. When Michigan and Ohio State play, the Ohio-Michigan border never seems so great. When Oklahoma takes on Texas, the two teams even play at a neutral site to avoid conflict. However, there might not be a rivalry in America that can hold a flame to what the University of Alabama will face on Friday.

The Iron Bowl against Auburn proves to be one of the most intense rivalries in college sports and is one that has been held for generations.

“It is a great rivalry,” said former Alabama linebacker Mike Hall. “You want to do well because you have to live with it a full year before you get a chance to change it again.”

More than anything, state reputation might be the biggest thing on the line year in and year out for the two teams. There are still Alabama fans that feel like if the Crimson Tide wins every game and then loses to Auburn the season was a failure.

“It helps if you win them all, but it’s damn sure you better win that last one,” Hall said.

Last year the Tide came into Auburn undefeated and almost had its dream season erased if not for a late drive to win the game. This year the Tide and Tigers have switched roles with the Tigers coming into Tuscaloosa undefeated and on the cusp of a BCS title berth.

“In that game I really don’t look at anyone being the underdog,” said former Alabama linebacker Steve Webb. “No matter what either team’s record is, that game is a totally different game as far as who’s the better team and who’s not.”

The Iron Bowl was originally played in Birmingham, and it was not until 2000 that it switched regularly between the two teams’ home fields. This year the Tide hopes that home field advantage will play in their favor.

“When we played down in Auburn the first time [in 1989], that was the loudest and probably more intimidating games that we’ve had,” Webb said. “Playing at home, the advantage goes to the home team.”

Though the team finds itself out of the BCS title race, the meaning of this game is not lost to current Alabama players as well.

“This game means a lot to a lot of people,” junior running back Mark Ingram said. “It is an in-state rivalry, so it is very important to a lot of people.”

Many memorable moments have been made in Iron Bowl history. Friday looks to be no different, as junior receiver Julio Jones stands only two receptions away from tying the all-time Alabama record for catches in a season.

Perhaps no bigger storyline surrounds the game as much as Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who has been involved in recent scandals concerning accusations that Newton asked for money as part of his recruiting process.

While there is question of whether or not the Heisman candidate will play in the game, there is no question the Tide would prefer to beat the Auburn team at its best.

“I don’t want to play them when they’re not at their best,” junior safety Mark Barron said. “We want to play them at their best, and I want [Newton] to play.”

No matter what happens before the game, Friday’s Iron Bowl sets up to be another great piece to one of the most storied rivalries in college sports.

“You can throw everything out the window when you have this game,” Webb said. “It’s all about personal pride, dignity and who plays the best that day.”

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