Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Iron Bowl

(I forewarn you. I got a little wordy with this post. Football gets me all fired up these days!)

Ahh....the Iron Bowl. I don't even know how to describe the rivalry between Auburn University and the University of Alabama to someone not from the South (or more specifically Alabama). It's practically a holiday. Everyone watches this game because everyone has their team. I would say about 99% of Alabamians are either Auburn or Bama fans (that other 1% are most likely transplants). It's a huge deal and is always at the end of the football season.

This year it was a super big deal because Bama was ranked #1 at the beginning of the season (coming off a national championship win last year) and Auburn had an undefeated season and was ranked #2 coming into the game. Since Bama's chances at a repeat championship were out of the question, I'm sure they would have liked nothing more than to knock us out of the running as well. Needless to say, there was a lot riding on the game, and it would be Auburn's last big hurdle before a chance to play in the championship game.

We decided to share this momentous occasion with other Tiger fans and watch the game at the Auburn bar. The game was at 2:30 the Friday after Thanksgiving, so we eagerly got there around 1 to get good seats. The bar wasn't even open yet! I'll admit, I've closed down a few bars in my day but opening one was a first! Within a few minutes they opened the doors and we (including other zealous fans) rushed in to claim our prime spots. The bar gradually filled up until it was time for kickoff.

Then the unthinkable happened...Auburn was terrible! Our defense was nonexistent and our supposedly amazing offense with Heisman hopeful Cam Newton couldn't even manage to get a first down. Alabama scored 21 unanswered points in the first quarter. It was disheartening. After such a strong season, I couldn't believe it would come down to this. Thankfully I don't live in Alabama anymore. Bama fans would be talking about this defeat for years. Somehow Auburn managed to score a touchdown and hold Bama to a field goal before heading to the locker room for halftime. I can't even imagine what kind of pep talk/irate screaming went on during those 20 minutes.

Whatever adjustments the coaches made down there must have worked. Auburn came out in the second half a different team! Auburn's defense was able to capitalize on some Alabama fumbles and slow their movement down the field. The Bama defense was still pretty tough, so Auburn had to switch to more of a passing game to make plays. Everyone in the bar was thrilled. It was great to see the Tigers do so well, but it was such a dismal first half I was prepared to accept defeat in the end. At least it wouldn't be a blow out and would quiet all those Bama fans a bit. But Auburn kept on scoring and kept on stopping Alabama. They only allowed them a single field goal in the second half. 

Never in a million years did I think it would be possible, but Auburn ended up winning! I couldn't believe it until the final seconds but we skirted by with the win of 28-27. Incredible. The bar was absolute mayhem. There was singing, cheering, chanting, high fives, hugs, and more War Eagles! than you could count.

The celebration continued outside to 3rd Avenue where a fan stole some toilet paper from the 515 bathroom to roll the little tree on the sidewalk in front of the bar. Our own little Toomer's Corner! (He even had to climb on the neighboring police truck to retrieve his roll a few times)

It wasn't quite like the scene in Auburn {image from Auburn's Toomer's Corner after the Iron Bowl via} but we did our best. The game definitely brought us through the whole range of emotions and I'm glad to see it ended positively. Maybe I won't stop talking about it for years :) The win against Alabama was enough to bump us up to #1 in the BCS rankings above Oregon. We take on South Carolina this Saturday for the SEC Championship. If all goes well, we'll be traveling to Arizona for the National Championship in January! Wish us luck!

War Eagle!!

1 comment:

  1. Other than the Miami (FL) game we attended in Columbus I think I this game was the most I cheered for anyone all season. It was pretty awesome to see them,come back in the second half.
    Yes, I think the Auburn-Alabama rivalry is something completely different. Ohio State-Michigan is intense, but it's like two different countries fighting, whereas Auburn-Bama is entirely contained within a single state. And yes, this year's game coming off Bama's title last year, and Auburn's surprising rise to the top this year really added to the tension.
    Gus Malzahn. Any Auburn fan who doesn't realize how integral he is to their success is blind!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...