Tommy Tuberville, Auburn's head coach from 1999–2008, will attend Saturday's Iron Bowl between the fourth-ranked Tigers and No. 1 Alabama, according to a report by AL.com. Tuberville's son, Tucker, is currently a walk-on quarterback at Auburn.
The visit will be Tuberville's first to Auburn since leaving the program in 2008. That he is returning for this particular game is apropos for at least a couple of reasons.
Firstly, Tuberville is well remembered by Auburn fans for having beaten Alabama in six consecutive seasons (2002-07). Tuberville's streak of consecutive wins against Alabama is the longest by any Auburn coach. In that regard, Tuberville bested even legendary Auburn coaches Ralph "Shug" Jordan and Pat Dye, whose longest streaks against Alabama were five games and four games, respectively.
Secondly, Tuberville's national recognition pertains mostly to his 2004 season at Auburn, when the Tigers went undefeated and won the SEC championship game, but were not selected to play for the BCS championship. Tuberville called for a four-team playoff in response to the BCS debacle of 2004. That idea will finally be implemented next season, 10 years later.
The eyes of the nation will be on Auburn Saturday regarding the 2013 BCS race. The Iron Bowl winner will advance to the SEC championship game and remain in contention for the BCS championship.
Tuberville, currently the head coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats, will not be looking to rehash any controversy or even celebrate his accomplishments at Auburn Saturday. Like everyone else, he's more interested in the 2013 renewal of the Iron Bowl rivalry. "I'm excited about coming back to Auburn and seeing a lot of friends and staying out of everybody's way and watching a great football game," he told Brandon Marcello of AL.com.
An additional point of interest regarding Tuberville's return for Saturday's game provides a little irony. Auburn fans generally wear orange to Jordan-Hare Stadium. They started this practice at Tuberville's request and have continued wearing orange long after his departure. Saturday's contest with Alabama, however, has been designated a "True Blue" game, and everyone is encouraged to wear navy blue.
It will be interesting to see what color Tuberville wears Saturday, whether orange, blue or maybe Bearcat red.
Josh Dowdy is a correspondent for Bleacher Report and the author of Orange Is Our Color: The Tuberville Years through Navy-tinted Glasses.
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