Alabama Voodoo (Syndicated Writer)
These should be exciting times in the Heart of Dixie. The state of Alabama is the undeniable king of college football and precedence has been set unlike never before.
I will start with simple facts like back to back National Championship teams. Still not convinced? Try on back to back Heisman Trophy winners in Mark Ingram and Cam Newton.
And with that the Iron Bowl has officially become college footballs’ greatest rivalry on January 10th, 2011 after Auburn won the Bowl Championship Series National Championship in Tempe, AZ.
Any challenge to "our" claim of footballs’ greatest rivalry whether it’s Michigan/Ohio State, Texas/Oklahoma, Florida/Florida State or Army/Navy consideration will remain on the shelf until a “double deuce” (BCS Champs and Heisman) is replicated.
Simply put—it will never happen again.
That is unless Alabama storms back in 2011 (my prediction) and Auburn counters in 2012 (my wild dream) which would become the “quad quad” but that’s me being silly. Not really though I actually believe it.
Anything can happen when one program claims 13 National Titles just as Running Back U launched “Superman’s” career into orbit.
Still having doubts?
The Rivalry is so powerful that a 17 year old phenom from Maryland was so torn about where he was going to sign he committed to Auburn on “National Television” and then a week later he chose to join his big brother in Tuscaloosa.
This rivalry is as balanced and nasty as any in all sports.
However, something is off, really off as many friendships, once bound by grit, dirt and the best of memories, are as shaky as a 24 point lead in Tuscaloosa. The current state of the rivalry and our fan base is at a tipping point.
The possibility of continued negative effects could be as disastrous as the 36 point beat down in Tuscaloosa back in 2008.
Right there, two defeats, each suffered by the fans, coaches and especially the “great” players of both programs were as bad as we made them. Basically it sucked.
Back in November 2008 Auburn limped into Tuscaloosa with a fired coaching staff, bruised and battered players and without a lick of a chance. Nick Saban and his emerging “Juggernaut” throttled the Tigers, like they should of, no questions asked. Winners win baby and the Crimson Tide are just that, winners.
The 36-0 final score was the worst beating in the history of the Iron Bowl.
The Tigers were torn with dissension amongst the ranks and the outlook, well was “not good” to say the least. But a recovery was set in place with hiring of the oft criticized Gene Chizik.
The following season the Crimson Tide blitzed and rushed their way to an undefeated season and a National Championship. Shockingly enough the one game that almost derailed their title run was none other than the Auburn Tigers who faded in the fourth quarter losing a heartbreaker at home 26-21.
An excruciating final drive by the Crimson Tide that was 27 minutes long, it seemed like 27 minutes ended with the Tide punching it into the end zone and sealing their destiny.
The day after Thanksgiving 2010, “Black Friday” which is named for those that brave the hundreds of thousands’ in their hometown searching for bargains at Best Buy and Wal Mart’s alike. A state of pandemonium is the best way to describe the opening of the stores at midnight.
However, in one college town, in one state about 103,000 fans weren't hunting bargains they were hoping to witness Auburn’s championship run stopped cold.
Speaking of cold, it was frigid the day the teams took the field, but the Crimson blood was running hot, hotter than ever as they had stopped the “unstoppable man” and his teammates…for a half.
It was pandemonium as the Alabama Nation sealed "the" victory with 24-0 lead. Everyone knew it was “Over.” I did. Everyone, except, the Auburn Tigers that is.
The game eventually ended with a “punch less” Crimson Tide succumbing to the Championship bound Tigers 28-27. The outcome resulted in countless broken hearts, hurt feelings, bruised Ego’s and a dreaded next day of work that would rather be forgotten.
Seriously, the call-in rate for workers that day was 19 percent.
Black Friday in 2010 was about an emotional gauntlet with so much on the line it has sparked bad blood and at what cost? It's very ugly right now between the fans on both sides of the fence. But I have a suggestion for everyone, GROW UP and let's face some FACTS.
FACT: Alabama is associated with Championships.
FACT: Auburn is Heisman University (3 Winners and HC John Heisman)
FACT: Paul “Bear” Bryant is the greatest coach ever.
FACT: Bo Jackson is the greatest running back to ever play College Football.
FACT: Alabama has won more National Championships than any other University.
FACT: Auburn and Alabama can claim the Linebacker and Defensive Lineman Factory of the South.
FACT: Cameron Newton is the most dominant College Football Player in the past 50 years.
FACT: Auburn versus Alabama is the greatest rivalry in College Football, so let’s start acting like it.
Mutual respect starts with me and then you. The Iron Bowl is a year long event that affects families, friendships, marriages and even work relationships. So let’s start acting like that, and do the right thing.
And to you, ESPN, you really dropped the ball with your “Roll Tide” commercial.
Although, the ‘virgin until he was 26’ toast was hilarious, the commercial should’ve gone something like my recent stop in Dallas, TX while changing planes at the airport.
Walking down the terminal in my 2010 Auburn SEC Champions hat a young man looked at me, twice and then said “ROLL TIDE” with a big smile, as we walked past another I looked over my shoulder and said “War Eagle” as he looked back at me waiting for it. Now, that is how the 2011 commercial will be right?
By the way, I am pretty sure I that the young man was Kansas City Chiefs defensive back, Javier Arenas, former Crimson Tide great, who knows I could be wrong, but probably not.
WAR EAGLE! ROLL TIDE!