Auburn football: Why beating Alabama is so much fun
There’s a lot of things that can take my mood from being good to absolutely fantastic: The first bite of a nicely cooked steak, hitting the perfect golf shot, the movie Fletch, yet none come close to matching what it is like when the clock hits all zeros and Auburn has once again defeated that team from Tuscaloosa.
Oh, it is fun to beat other teams like Georgia and LSU as well, but getting the best of the Crimson Tide is at a whole other level due to a number of factors, none of which are because of the players on the field.
I’m talking about the people who drive around the Auburn area, 4 crimson car flags hoisted at all times and 10 bumper stickers proclaiming their allegiance yet, if you ask them, no, they can’t point out Tuscaloosa on a map and yes, Cam Newton cheated and therefore the national title in 2010 actually should still belong to them although they had 2 other losses. What, does that make 39 claimed “titles” now?
There’s the arrogance and the “how dare they leave us out of the College Football Playoff despite currently having zero wins over Top 25 teams this season” attitude that comes with the fan base. All of them should be (and, let’s face it, are already) worshiping at the small feet of Nick Saban because you know what the program was before he got to Tuscaloosa? Yeah, Alabama fans don’t remember those years either. “It was the NCAA’s fault!”
Oh, those lean years. Those teams coached by Dennis Franchione (remember him?), Mike Shula and someone named DuBose who almost was fired but somehow won the SEC title in 1999 so let’s keep him on until he starts losing again.
But the so-called “big brother” has been excellent under Saban’s watch, so since he arrived, the Tigers have won only 4 times in this rivalry. That makes those wins so more special, especially 2010.
We have known for a long time that the powers that be in Tuscaloosa think lightly of our university despite that we are have a much higher academic ranking and our recent graduates earn a higher salary and, you know, our fan base doesn’t go around poisoning things or yelling our battle cry after getting arrested for the 5th time, but it reached an apex when the Bryant-Denny Stadium sound system blared out “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Take the Money and Run” when Cam Newton took the field.
Funny prank? Yes. But when they fired a student assistant for allegedly pushing play on the music and, you know, not taking orders from his bosses, it was apparent that the silent Newton (28-27, by the way) had gotten under their skin and would never leave. Remember, these are people claiming Auburn cheated just a few years after getting hammered with probation by the NCAA.
Glass houses, people.
But that’s fine. In 2013, we ruined their chance at a dynasty with the most famous play in college football history and one that will be shown through eternity each year the game is played. We still see the sight of poor AJ McCarron, whose family was on the field thinking he had secured his Heisman Trophy that night, trotting over to them and Katherine Webb crying out tears of defeat.
We will know that, no matter the fact that it has been 30 years since the game moved away from Birmingham and the “neutral site” at Legion Field, that there are administrators in Tuscaloosa still angry that they have to travel to Auburn instead of us traveling to their backyard.
Yet, when we win Saturday and ruin their shot at the Playoff, they will be there, as always, approaching anyone wearing the Auburn logo with spouts of “y’all got lucky” and “we got 385 national titles still” and “do y’all know where I can buy some lethal pesticide” and we will ignore them.
That’s what you have to do with that one crazy neighbor, right?