Auburn vs. LSU: A War Between Tigers or a Fight Amongst Kittens?

Jonathan KelleyCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2009

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 22:  Kenny Irons #23 of Auburn University avoids a tackle by Ali Highsmith #7 of Louisiana State University on October 22, 2005 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LSU defeated Auburn 20-17 in overtime.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Let's take a stroll back in time, to a time when Tigers ruled the wild landscape of the SEC west. Hogs, dogs, rebels, and even elephant's were no match for the mighty twin tigers who ruled the West.

Every year these two beasts would meet for a fight to the death to claim ultimate supremacy of their division. This was a time when the western banner was planted in either the plains or the valley. It was a time when the only red around was the blood of the fallen who dared to mess with the two Tigers.

Can you remember that time? Amazing to think it was last year isn't. How quickly has the empire of LSU and Auburn fallen?

Today there is a new king ruling the SEC west with an Iron fist. Last year Auburn and LSU both had something in common, aside from being the only west team to win the SEC, they both had 5 game or better winning streaks against Alabama. Both also saw those streaks come to a crashing halt as each had their worst seasons since 1999. 1999 was oddly enough the last time Alabama won the west and SEC.

The Auburn and LSU rule of the west was dominate from 2000-07 with one of the teams winning the west six out of eight times. Auburn and LSU are also the only teams from the west to win the SEC crown other than Alabama since the league split in 1992. It seems there may not be a more prosperous time for either school in their entire history than this brief eight year period.

Enough with the stroll down memory lane; let’s look at what each team is doing this year.

LSU and Auburn both got off to a 5-0 start before Florida ruined LSU's bid to be the best team in the land, and Arkansas shattered Auburn's dreams of a title hope on the same day. Auburn now sits at 5-2 needing a miracle to win the division, but LSU still controls its own destiny.

A win Saturday is crucial for both teams. If LSU wins it can still make it to Atlanta, the same can be said for Auburn, only they would be fighting for a spot in the Chik-a-fil-a bowl.

Last year’s game appeared to be a clash of the titans and came down to the final minutes. LSU won what appeared to be the express ticket to Atlanta, but sadly both teams faltered down the stretch combining for only five conference wins.

Auburn stayed at home and shopped for a new coach during the bowl season, while LSU fought for national attention destroying Ga. Tech in the Chik-fil-a bowl. A hot start again this year had both fan bases hoping last year was a fluke. The question is was it?

The loser of this game has no shot at reclaiming lost glory, and the winner only has hope that Alabama will stumble along the way. Will these two programs war with each other to retake the SEC west or will it simply be a fight for second best?

We will not find out Saturday, but if LSU loses to Auburn; Alabama may have no shot at losing the west. That is a fact that will not sit well with any Tiger, whether the stripes are Purple or Orange. These two fan bases do not have a common love, but they do share a common enemy in Nick Saban, and neither team can afford to lose if they want to spite their enemy.