Where do you begin?
A state split in half? A fan base of fanatical desires that can only be quenched by the destruction, dissolution and death of the others program? Or, just the year in and year out bragging rights of one's superiority on the field?
To be honest, I really don't know how many on each side give this "Hatfield-McCoy" saga any relevance. But, what I do know is that I can run into an individual in the state of Alabama over the course of the day who will have an opinion on the subject. Actually, more like a disgust for the opposing program.
When Pat Dye took over (a period when most Auburn fans believe started the rivalry) and Bear retired the majority of the games in the 80's where won by Auburn (6-4). When Gene Stallings took over in the 90s, the Tide won the majority of the games (6-4). And then when Tuberville took over at the beginning of the 2000s the Tigers led the series (7-3). However, overall the Tide holds the series lead.
Here it comes!
"Yeah, but as referenced above Auburn has dominated Bama over the last thirty years."
"Did football begin for Auburn in 1981, ya cherry picker?"
"Auburn has won seven out of the last 10 games!"
"Alabama was on probation for a majority of those games!"
"The Criminal Tides are still on probation!"
"The HBO4 admitted to your impending probation!"
"Brent Calloway got paid!"
"And Cam Newton didn't know!"
"Can I get an Ipod?"
"Can I get an National Championship retroactive?!"
"At least we have 13 National Championships!"
"The NCAA only acknowledges eight!"
"Well, that is six more than you have. Seven if you exclude your first cheating one. Eight if you exclude Scams!"
"At least we don't glorify ourselves with statues!"
"We like to recognized our coaching champions."
"By sending them to strip clubs?"
"At least we are rolling with more wins."
"Well, we have more Heisman winners!"
"Oh, and now you like statues?"
"At least we don't kill trees!"
"Updyke didn't feel that your toilet paper pressure washing was doing it fast enough!"
"You all are a bunch of Mullets!"
"Coming from a Booger Eater I'll take that as a complement."
"You didn't even go to the University of Alabama, ya sidewalk fan!"
"Well, that is better than going to Michael Dyer's University of Auburn!"
"Go back to your trailer."
"I would if I could get back on Auburn's campus!"
"It is better than Tusca-looser!"
"Says the little brother."
And, it just keeps going on and on in a not so pretty fashion. I know I missed about 1000 different ways to cut down or disparage the opposing fan base so I assume you readers will post the better ones.
This rivalry has always been intense. More ugly insults and defamations have been hurled at one another than rocks from the Palestinians at the Israelis.
On the way to Alabama's 13th national championship Auburn fans were livid. One minute they were Florida fans, the next, Longhorns.
From the beginning of the '09 season with allegations of the Gadsden car scheme to the legendary fishing trip Tiger fans were hoping to see the downfall of the Tide. Same goes for Alabama fans when Auburn was vying for the prize, one minute Gamecock fans, the next Ducks while all the while talking about Cam-Gate.
The hatred for each team has never been more evident since Auburn's six in row to it's BCSNC run. From throwing fingers out there to 36-0 to taping an Auburn jersey on the Bear Bryant statue to the more fanatical poisoning of the trees the rivalry tension increases.
There is so much at stake, especially down on the plains with the home invasions and "HBO4", that an Auburn alumnus and writer for Auburn's rivals.com site hit the street a couple of weeks ago saying that an Alabama recruit was part of a pay for play scheme. Sometimes you gotta do whatever you can to deflect attention away from your problems. Or, to bring your mortal nemesis down.
Just recently we saw how despicable rivalry hatred can be with the beating of the San Francisco Giants fan from the two Dodgers fans. However, if you can't recall, the Iron Bowl rivalry has resulted in feuds leading to death. That is how deep seeded this rivalry gets.
Now that is ugly.
Well, news flash. This hatred is never going away. Whether it be lighthearted or destructive, that which I don't condone, there will always be ill-will towards the opposing team. So, settle down and get used to it. The universities are not going to stop playing football and they certainly aren't going to stop playing each other.
So, while you are alive, be it Bama or Auburn, throw some proverbial stones and enjoy the ride if you are so inclined, or just enjoy the fireworks display. I'm sure you will get a kick out of it either way.