Iron Bowl rivalry: The mother of all rivalries?
Some fans think their rivalry is the most hate-fueled. Even those fans can agree that the Iron Bowl rivalry between Alabama and Auburn may take the cake.
Remember when Alabama fan Harvey Updyke, Jr. decided to poison the landmark oak trees at Toomer’s Corner? Updyke raised the level of disdain, which was already overflowing.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss have the Egg Bowl and it can get nasty. Multiply the nastiness when national championships tend to be involved.
That’s what winning does.
“Almost starting to hate warrior “fans” as much as I do bandwagon Alabama fans,” lamented @juscallmeAmmi about the NBA Finals’ Golden State Warriors.
Alabama won the national title in 2009, including a 5-point win over Auburn in a 14-0 season. Auburn went 14-0 the following season and won the national championship. The Tigers had to beat Alabama by a single point for that to happen.
The only time Auburn has won the Iron Bowl since its title season was the famous Kick-Six in 2013.
The rivalry lends itself to other arenas of hatred, like the NBA.
@CockyJoshyy cant compare a player to a team but lebron haters and auburn fans both hate greatness
— OG Red Beard (@WhiteMigoWes) June 11, 2016
Alabama – with the exception of losing two straight games to Ole Miss – has been on quite a tear under Nick Saban, whose shoulder-shrugging approach fuels the Auburn anger.
@atlsportscholar Bama should be ranked 666 because Saban is the devil.
— Adam Wiggins (@wigginsadam80) May 29, 2016
They take each other’s recruits. Four-star 2017 LB Markail Benton announced for Alabama this week. He was once committed to Auburn but has since said Alabama has better coaching.
Benton comes from an Alabama family. His family avoided the awkward split. That isn’t always the case.
Alabama gear is easy to spot in the Southeast. And yes, it crosses state lines. Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss. are less than 90 miles apart. In towns between the two like Columbus, Miss., in-state MSU has to share some of the spotlight with the Crimson Tide.
Does it go beyond football? Stephanie Anderson clearly doesn’t think much of Auburn fans’ character.
Auburn fans are terrible people.
— Stephanie Anderson (@smanderson) November 28, 2015
From Smithville, Miss., Doug Adams tweets 100 miles from Bryant-Denny: “Auburn fans are as bad as Ohio state fans when they win. Way to vocal and arrogant about beating low ranking teams. Roll Tide.”
Those familiar with the rivalry say the only way to truly convince outsiders that their rivalries hold no candles is to visit.
Alabama’s success has invaded neighboring Mississippi, with some residents not concerned about Mississippi State and Ole Miss’ non-title-deciding bantering.
“…it would blow your mind. I agree 100% with what (Mississippi State football analyst) Matt Wyatt said last week, “State & Ole Miss fans have no clue,” Facebooked Prattville, Ala.’s Jackie Caldwell, an Auburn fan.
“The dynamic in Alabama is more polarizing because there’s more people, more fans who didn’t attend the school, and a bigger gap between the two schools football accomplishments,” Wyatt said. “Everything is more amped up than it is in Mississippi. It’s hard to believe but it’s true.”
This from a player who grew up with Iron Bowl pressure, then wore Mississippi State gear for four Egg Bowls.
Wyatt is from Prattville and was Mississippi State’s quarterback from 1996-99. He left the state but while there, he said allegiances are pressed early on.
“I think the guys who play in that rivalry, the guys who actually wear the uniform, are the most sane of anyone involved in it,” he said. “There’s respect among the players. But yes, when you go to kindergarten the first day then other kids ask who you pull for.”
This from a pastor, Neil Murphy, in north Mississippi.
“…we appreciate Auburn because they are always overrated and over confident so when we beat them it helps us and hurts them even more. I have nothing positive to say about West Georgia U.”
And all the people said … Amen … or Roll Tide or War Eagle.