The Great Divide: What The Iron Bowl Is All About!

Derek SmithCorrespondent IMay 8, 2010

1892. The year doesn’t mean much to most people; in the state of Alabama however, it means everything. This was the year that the University of Alabama christened its first football team. William G. Little, a law student at UA, began to teach other students the sport that he had learned in Andover, Massachusetts; and later that year, formed a team of 19 players led by Coach E.B. Beaumont. 

180 miles to the southeast, as fate would have it, another team was beginning to take shape. The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, now Auburn University, was led by George Petrie.   The two schools met for the first time at Lakeview Park, in Birmingham on February 22, 1893 in front of 2,000 spectators. The outcome of this contest would forever change the face of southern football. Auburn defeated the "Crimson and White" 32-22, but the rivalry and disagreements didn’t begin until after the game. The University of Alabama recorded their loss as the last of the 1892 season, while The Tigers marked it as their first victory of the 1893 season, thus creating a lifelong dispute.

When it comes to the Iron Bowl , there will always be more on the line than just bragging rights. There are people who care only about this one game. I grew up with my grandfather reciting countless Tide stories to me, but his eyes lit up every time the Iron Bowl was mentioned. Some of our great grandparents were there when it started, and it is not likely that our grandchildren will see its end.

The University of Alabama is currently in control of the war by a small margin. The current record is 40-33-1. Each team has had their share of droughts and rainy seasons, in this series of hard fought battles. From 1973 -1981, Alabama dominated the Tigers with nine straight wins. More recently however, from 2002 -2007, Auburn University ran away with six straight victories over the Tide; and last season the Tigers proved that Nick Saban’s ability to create a national championship team mattered not to them.

This one game has determined the outcome of rankings, bowl game orders, the NFL draft, coaching careers, and has even split households right down the middle. So, is it Alabama or Auburn? On which side of the river do you stand? Do you bleed Crimson or dark blue?  The choice is yours but which ever you choose, choose with faith because in this Deep South rivalry there is neither room for flip-flopping nor fair weather fans.   

One team. One passion. One Crimson Tide!

Signing off and Roll Tide,

 Derek Smith