When it comes to Alabama and Auburn football’s legendary Roll Tide-War Eagle rivalry, things are just different.
ESPN’s film on the Yellowhammer State’s unique and pivotal contribution to the sports sphere gives a great view into this one of a kind intercollegiate football feud. It showcased the disrespect Alabama fans displayed towards Cam Newton in a season that included plenty of allegations, but a paucity of proof of any wrongdoing. It also showed the scary lengths Tide fans will go to desecrate the name of their supposed “little brother” (hello, Harvey Updyke).
Either way, through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the special class of vile Updyke dwelled in to poison the trees at Toomer’s Corner, Alabama-Auburn football is the rivalry in college football.
No wonder, then, that Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter saw it as the most anticipated matchup of the regular season’s final weekend before the SEC Championship:
It’s hard to have a list of the most anticipated games of the season without including the Iron Bowl.
Can offensive-minded Bryan Harsin help get the most out of quarterback Bo Nix after a disappointing sophomore season from the 5-star recruit?
Auburn has played the role of spoiler twice in the past four years, winning as the lower-ranked team in 2017 and 2019, though they were blown out 42-13 this past season.
Another up-and-down season is likely forthcoming as the Tigers search for an identity under their new head coach, but an Alabama team in transition is not expected to be nearly as dominant as the one that steamrolled the competition in 2020.
The Crimson Tide will be favored, but that hasn’t stopped Auburn in years past.
This past year was a down year for the rivalry because of the discrepancy between Alabama’s two college football powerhouses. Alabama enjoyed one of the most dominant statistical seasons in the history of the sport, while Auburn barely held their head above water for much of the season against inferior competition…and also fell by double digits in each outing against the new elite class in the SEC West (Alabama, Texas A&M) and against Georgia in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.
While the 2021 recruiting class was arguably the greatest of all time this offseason for Nick Saban and the Tide, Auburn football will be entering a new era with a battle-tested coach who had conditioned his teams to be great during his time coaching Boise State in the Mountain West Conference.
If Harsin can follow in Gus Malzahn’s footsteps, there will be an Iron Bowl upset (or several) in the coming years.
Week 13 of the 2021 college football season could be the first such game.
Let’s hope. War Eagle!