One of the truly nice things in regards to the Iron Bowl is that the rivalry matchup is the most intense, compelling rivalry in college football. The best team arguably in the nation is the Auburn Tigers, amidst the latest controversy surrounding Cam Newton.
Allow us to present to you the Tigers. In one season, Auburn renewed its prominence and raised the level of invincibility with national ramifications at stake, on pace to contend on the national stage for justifications of affirming validity.
Maybe all the Tigers needed was a convincing win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in an interstate match within a hostile boundary for national attention.
Hours after everyone consumed a heavenly meal at Thanksgiving feasts, a bout across state lines became the most ravishing event of the weekend. As expected, it was the SEC showdown Auburn fans waited for anxiously. They had been ready to witness the Tigers conclude an unimaginable mission in the SEC Championship Game come next week.
Early on, at Bryant-Denny Stadium, a scary late afternoon began once Auburn allowed the Tide to extend a demoralizing 24-0 lead.
From there, the Tigers were fortunate to still be alive by halftime, handling the adversity and early letdowns with their resiliency and intrepidity. At first glance, Newton enthusiastically darted from the visitor's tunnel for pregame warmups, all while two songs blasted loudly.
He couldn't remember the last time he celebrated so wildly, thrilled with another signature performance in a season when a scandal has stained his image, but amazingly hasn't affected his indomitable effort on turf this season.
For what he's worth, Newton wasn't anywhere near flawless a few weeks ago, accused of his infamous scandal involving his father, Cecil, a preacher, who allegedly sought money and violated NCAA rules.
At the end of the most important game of his life, he took a jubilant victory lap and celebrated his most miraculous performance this season, erasing much of his burdens and adversity—as winning cures gloom within an unbeaten program. What's more, in a critical game, he's a pioneer motivated by all the eternal triumph and disappointment.
And he truly rallied the Tigers from a 24-0 deficit to stun the crowd of over 101,000, as he pulled off a staggering 28-27 win over No. 9 Alabama. All season long, Auburn has been successful in the fourth quarter and has mustered plenty of memorable comebacks to salvage a promising season.
In each game, particularly this one, the Tigers made adjustments to reduce flaws and fundamentally manhandled their opponent in the second half, rebounding with perseverance and heart. This season, the Tigers have rallied in eight of 12 games, including four double-digit deficits.
It's fittingly a respectable trend when an ebullient, sturdy quarterback like Newton can maneuver a dynamic offense by his sturdy rush attack and throwing motion. As allegations swirl around Newton and Auburn University, the real explanation is that he has created a wonderful tale in the sport.
The notion of Auburn is the aura of their adjustments, execution and faith, components for such a beautiful season as a nation is drawn to the theory of Auburn's unexpected pursuit to BCS greatness.
On this day, like many other days, Newton was sensational and led the Tigers over the defending champs and archrivals, greatly protecting a wonderful season from ending wastefully. Every time he meets his opponent, he dominates on the turf by using his speed and agility. And yet a large crowd saw a confident and fierce Alabama suddenly crumble in a hurry and fall at home to the Tigers.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of this football team," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "This is a tough place to play and a tough place to win. But our guys just did what they've been doing all season. They just kept playing."
They indeed continued to thrive, snapping Alabama's 20-game home winning streak. Best of all, the Tigers are en route to winning their first national championship in college football since 1957. But apart from the historical feats, the Tigers are now one win away from immortality and earning a trip to the national title for a shot at the crystal football.
At 12-0, the team will earn praise nationally with a victory against South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 4 in Atlanta.
You've forgotten that Newton has played 11 spectacular games despite the scandal. You saw him keep his composure and endure the displeasure.
The other issue, in this particular game, is that Alabama's Greg McElroy's career-high 377 yards turned into a waste and he couldn't finish, getting sacked in the final minutes. It was also a solid performance by receiver Julio Jones, able to dust by the Tiger's secondary and account for 10 catches for 199 yards.
What's amazing is that Alabama's defense held Auburn to season lows in total yards and rushing yards, and still suffered in the end. By the end of the first quarter, the Tide had accounted for 187 yards of total offense.
There were times, of course, when the Tigers were sluggish and vulnerable and were held to 87 yards, minus-10 rushing in the first half. There was Saban apologizing for his team's poor effort and inability to finish the game strongly. As usual, he alluded to his team's mistakes and second-half meltdowns.
For now, it's good to know that Newton never took money in the Iron Bowl, but instead took over the Iron Bowl. How is that? He took over the Tide. How is that?