Auburn vs. Alabama: Power Ranking 10 Best Iron Bowl Matchups
The Iron Bowl has brought exciting football over the years with upset wins and last-second finishes coming within every decade of the rivalry. The past 50 years of the Iron Bowl have been especially riveting, with games like “Punt, Bama, Punt” and “the run in the mud” making headlines.
These two teams represent an entire state when they take the field, and they take on the weight of millions of fans across the country. The past four seasons have held title implications, and this year, the game will do the same.
The Iron Bowl is special for many reasons—as discussed here—but the most meaningful piece of the rivalry are the wins and losses. All too often, they have come in unbelievable fashion.
Here are the 10 best Iron Bowl matchups in the rivalry’s history.
No. 10: 1948—Rivalry Renewed
The 1948 game was not the most exciting win of this historic series, but it is a landmark game in the rivalry. This was the first season the Tigers and Tide had faced each other since ending the rivalry in 1907.
Alabama finished this game with over 400 yards of offense and a 55-0 win over its bitter rival Auburn.
The Tigers were unable to produce much yardage on offense, and their defensive effort was one of the worst in the 1948 season. While this loss was a major blemish for Auburn, it marked a monumental return of what has become a great college football rivalry.
Final Score: Alabama 55, Auburn 0
No. 9: 2005—Honk if you sacked Brodie
The Auburn Tigers had a record-setting performance against Alabama in the 2005 game. The Tigers hosted the Tide in Jordan-Hare Stadium and recorded 11 sacks as a team. The game finished with seven different players recording sacks.
The Tide entered the game No. 8 in the country, and the hosting Tigers were No. 11. The game finished with the Tigers winning 28-18 and Brodie Croyle having one of his worst outings of the season.
The loss also knocked the Tide from BCS bowl contention. After the game, “Honk if you sacked Brodie” bumper stickers and shirts began to surface. Auburn fans still take pride in the effort given by their defenders in the game.
Final Score: Auburn 28, Alabama 18
No. 8: 1964—Television Era Begins
The 1964 game was the first time in Iron Bowl history that the game was televised. It was an electric game, with Joe Namath leading the Crimson Tide to victory.
Ray Ogden also returned a kickoff for a touchdown early, helping separate the score by one touchdown and handing the victory to the Tide.
The Iron Bowl has its place in college football lore for a number of reasons, but becoming an early part of the television circuit is a big one. This game has been on national television for decades, and it all started in 1964 with a Bama win.
Final Score: Alabama 21, Auburn 14
No. 7: 1994—An Inch Can Sometimes Be a Mile
The Auburn Tigers were on an unbelievable 21-win streak when they headed into the Iron Bowl in 1994. This game landed on ABC only a year after it was banned from television thanks to sanctions levied against Auburn during the 1993 season.
The Crimson Tide were ranked No. 3, and the Tigers were No. 6 heading into the contest.
The game was close from start to finish, with Auburn driving for a game-tying score late in the contest.The Tigers needed a fourth-down conversion to keep the drive alive, but about an inch of space remained between the tip of the football and the chain marker when the measurement crew reached the field.
The Tide went on to play in the SEC Championship that year, marking their third consecutive appearance in the game. Alabama was facing No. 6 Florida in the SEC title game that year and were just one win away from the national title.
This was one of many Iron Bowls that held national title implications through the years.
Final Score: Alabama 21, Auburn 14
No. 6: 1985—Tiffin from 52 for the Win
The 1985 game was one of the wildest finishes in Iron Bowl history. After the game had four lead changes in the fourth quarter, Mike Shula led a Crimson Tide drive to the Auburn 36-yard line.
After previously missing a field goal from the same range, Alabama sent kicker Van Tiffin out to attempt the game winning field goal as the Tide trailed by two.
The kick was good with room to spare, and Tiffin was forever etched in Iron Bowl lore with his booming winning score. Mike Shula also solidified himself as one of the best quarterbacks to take the field in crimson and white.
Final Score: Alabama 25, Auburn 23
No. 5: 1996—Stallings Steps Away
With 1:50 left on the clock, the Crimson Tide trailed the Tigers 23-17. Freddie Kitchens had guided the Tide to 254 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he also had three interceptions by the fourth quarter.
It was time for Kitchens to guide the Tide from the depths of defeat.
With no timeouts remaining, Kitchens guided the Alabama offense down the field and tossed a dump off to Dennis Riddle for the winning score. The game sealed the Tide’s SEC title run and marked the end of the Gene Stallings era.
He finished 5-2 overall against Auburn.
Final Score: Alabama 24, Auburn 23
No. 4: 1967—The Original Tough Mudder
1967 marked the first night game in the Iron Bowl, but the torrential downpour that occurred at Legion Field is what made the game famous.
After the game had to be stopped on multiple occasions because of the rain, Kenny Stabler was able to mount an amazing quarterback scramble late in the game. He took the football 53 yards for the touchdown.
The score sealed the win for the Bear Bryant-led Crimson Tide.
Final Score: Alabama 7, Auburn 3
No. 3: 1982—Bo over the Top
The Auburn Tigers were facing a nine-game losing streak to Alabama when they took on the Crimson Tide in 1982. After taking the lead into the fourth quarter, Alabama had appeared to seal the victory.
Auburn took the football the length of the football field in less than two minutes and were able to earn a 4th-and-goal situation after tough runs from running back Bo Jackson.
With the game on the line and inches left to go before the end zone, the Tigers lined up in the Wishbone and handed off to Jackson, who famously took the ball over the top of the Alabama defensive line, handing the victory to the Tigers.
Final Score: Auburn 23, Alabama 22
No. 2: 1972—Punt, Bama, Punt
One of the most unlikely outcomes occurred during the 1972 Iron Bowl. With a 16-3 lead in the second half, the No. 2 Crimson Tide were forced to punt. Auburn’s Bill Newton charged into the backfield and blocked the Alabama punt.
David Langner picked up the blocked punt and ran the ball back for a touchdown. Just minutes later, the same block happened again by Newton, and Langner returned the second block for a touchdown.
This game is still remembered by Auburn fans as one of the greatest victories in school history over their bitter rival Alabama. College football has witnessed crazy finishes, but none compare to this crazy special teams blunder.
Final Score: Auburn 17, Alabama 16
No 1: 2010—The Comeback
The 2010 Iron Bowl seemed to be etched in destiny. The game saw the Crimson Tide take a 24-point lead, only to lose the ballgame by one point.
The win was the largest comeback in Auburn history and the largest comeback allowed in Alabama history. This game marked the end of a perfect season for Auburn and sealed its seat in the SEC title game.
Auburn went on to win the BCS national title to finish the year, and star quarterback Cam Newton finished with every major award in college football given to a quarterback, including the Heisman Trophy.
This game will be remembered as the greatest comeback and overall game in Iron Bowl history.
Final Score: Auburn 28, Alabama 27