I get it. Rivalries don’t have an offseason.

There’s never a bad time of year to troll your rival, and if there is, well, it’s probably not the best rivalry.

Alabama-Auburn is 24/7, 365, and that goes double when one team is looking like it’s historically good, and the other is debating a $32 million buyout for a coach that has 3 losses in mid-October. Who cares if the teams don’t play each other for another month and a half?

Don’t worry, though. Nobody poisoned trees or anything like that.

Instead, Alabama fans — or so we expect — decided to give the Cam Newton statue outside of Jordan-Hare Stadium a new look.

In case you didn’t see it, here ya go:

As many people pointed out in response to this tweet, Newton led the “Cam-back” victory against Alabama in 2010 during his season as the greatest 1-year wonder in college football history. Newton is one of the rare quarterbacks in the 21st century with a perfect record against Nick Saban’s Alabama squad, so that’s why it was odd to see Crimson Tide fans unnecessarily put Newton in the news at a time when Auburn is getting nothing but negative headlines.

And I realize this was an extremely small group of people doing this. Shoot, maybe it was someone flying solo. It wouldn’t be the first time a lone Alabama fan vandal did something egregious to Auburn property.

OK, that was my last Harvey Updyke reference. I promise.

Vandalizing a statue is a relatively standard practice in college sports. On the bright side, at least Alabama fans didn’t spray paint an “A” on to Newton’s chest like Michigan fans did to the Magic Johnson statue at Michigan State in 2015:


I guess a couple of flags don’t look so bad in comparison.

But I will say this. The timing is impressive. The Magic Johnson statue vandalism was during rivalry week. Whoever added flags to the Newton statue did it in a random week in October. Perhaps that’s why they were able to get away with it. The old “sneak attack” never fails.

It’s amazing to think about how much things have changed between the two teams since they last met on the field. Auburn is 3-5 vs. FBS teams — including a loss to UCF — and there’s instant regret about the $49 million contract that was given to Gus Malzahn after he beat Alabama for the second time in 5 years (well, after he lost to Georgia in the SEC Championship). Since that Iron Bowl loss last year, Alabama is 9-0 with a national title, a No. 1 ranking, a quarterback taking over the sport a la Newton and perhaps its best team of the Saban era.

And oh, the Tide dunked on UCF at every chance it got, unlike Auburn.

I point that out not in an effort to simply praise Alabama. But considering those obvious facts, shouldn’t that just speak for itself?

Eh, who am I kidding. This is Alabama-Auburn. I’ll be worried when there isn’t year-round trolling.

Speaking of unnecessary trolling …

I’m not sure if Butch Jones will come face to face with any Tennessee fans this week in his return to Knoxville, but I can only imagine how badly he’ll get trolled if and when that happens.

“Brick by brick, Butch!”

“You’re the real Champion of Life!”

“How’s the internship going?”

Savage, I’m sure they’ll be.

So how savage are Tennessee fans? Well apparently one was within yelling distance of Jones on the Alabama sideline during a game this year. See for yourself how far this heckler went, and remember, this was a random game not involving Tennessee:


“Here we have one Butch Jones, a complete failure at the University of Tennessee. Somehow another Nick Saban hiring. Don’t know why. A complete failure. How to underachieve with primetime players. Jauan Jennings, Josh Malone, Josh Dobbs. (Jones) is so smart he benched Alvin Kamara. God, you’re smart. Way to go Lyle! Lyle!”

The best part is easily “way to go Lyle!” People forget that “Butch” is actually a nickname and that Lyle is the ex-Tennessee coach’s real name. Would things have worked out differently for Butch/Lyle at Tennessee if he had gone by his birth name? I don’t know, but probably.

It couldn’t have really ended worse for Jones. He’s still the most troll-able person in the SEC. I mean, a Tennessee politician made an actual campaign ad trolling Jones this offseason.

This is a real thing that happened, and not a “Saturday Night Live” spoof:

There’s no doubt that Saturday will be an awkward experience for Jones back in Knoxville. I’m pretty sure he won’t be shown on camera. The internet would have a field day with that.

What seems more likely is that an Alabama player tweets a photo of Jones smoking his first victory cigar after a win in the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry. Perhaps the internet will still have a field day if and when Jones poses for the shot.

Now that would be some next-level trolling.