Auburn Football: Have the Tigers Become the New Big Brother?

Dr. SECAnalyst IISeptember 7, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Auburn Tigers fans attend their Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I have a brother that is eight years older than me. When my brother turned 18 he left home for college.  However, every summer, when he came home, he would hide somewhere in the house waiting for me to arrive. Each time, much to my surprise, he would jump out of hiding and wrestle me to the ground. It was his way of saying, I might be gone from the house but I am still the big brother.

This went on for years. The final time that he would attempt to do this was my senior year of high school. It had been three years since he had been able to come home because he was working in Australia. However, this time when he jumped out, expecting to find a little child, he found out his brother was now a division I recruit at 6’3" and 215-lbs.  I slammed him to the ground and the balance of power changed forever.

It is quite possible that this is what happened between Alabama and Auburn during the 2010 Iron Bowl, when Auburn went into Bryant Denny Stadium and humiliated the Crimson Tide. As you might remember, Alabama started the game in dominant form when they blazed out to a 24-0 lead. However, the unimaginable happened. For the rest of the game, Auburn dismantled Nick Saban’s defense and the legendary coach had zero answers to stop the Auburn offense.

Alabama fans argue that this game was only won because of the play of Cam Newton. Moreover, Auburn paid his father at least $180,000 for his services. As a result, this win will one day be vacated and mean nothing. However, there are two major flaws in this argument. First, there has been no evidence that Auburn gave Cam Newton any benefits.

I am not saying that it did not happen because I do not know. However, I do know that the NCAA has investigated this case and has not found any evidence that Newton received any benefits. Plus, every wannabe reporter has been unable to prove any sort of paper trail.  It is time for college football fans to stop beating this dead horse, the Cam Newton story is over.

The second flaw in the above argument is that it is not just the result of one game. It is a clear pattern since Paul “Bear” Bryant retired in 1982. Since that time, Auburn has won six SEC championships and Alabama has only won four. They have also won the battle of the Iron Bowl with 16 wins to only 12 wins for Alabama. During this time, Auburn has posted more SEC wins and more overall wins as well.

Is it possible that Alabama’s rise to big brother status was on the back of Coach Bryant and without him they can no longer hold that title? I think it is fair to say that with the advantage Auburn has had, since the retirement of Coach Bear Bryant, that they are no less than equals with Alabama. Moreover, if Alabama does not turn the direction of this series soon, it might be another decade or two before they are even considered as equals with the Tigers.

Auburn has been the better team in this series since 1982 and the gap is growing larger each season. Auburn has had two undefeated teams in the last seven seasons. Each one of their last three head coaches have led the Tigers to an undefeated season. They have won eight of the last 11 Iron Bowl games.

During those 11 seasons, Auburn has either won or shared a piece of the Western Division crown six times. Alabama, on the other hand, has only won or shared the Western Division title twice during that same stretch.

This season is crucial for Alabama. If they cannot win the Iron Bowl and the SEC championship they risk falling even further behind in this series. The pressure is clearly on the shoulders of the Crimson Tide, not the Auburn Tigers. A loss in the Iron Bowl would be devastating to the Tide.

Moreover, for all the talk of dynasty that the Crimson Tide were supposed to have under Saban, they only have one SEC championship to show for it. If they do not get one this season, the Tide might not be back in contention until his seventh or eighth season. Not exactly a dynasty. Not exactly the work of a big brother.