Alabama-Auburn Rivalry: ESPN Films Shed Light on Best Rivalry in CFB

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 8, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Head coach Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers is congratulated by head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide after the Tigers 28-27 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The historic rivalry between Alabama and Auburn has been described in many ways, but perhaps the the best way to describe it is "borderline insanity."

No other rivalry in college football has produced so many hyperboles, obsessive acts and pure hatred.

Even in the two programs' first meeting in 1893 there was drama. After Auburn won, 32-22, there was uproar over whether the game should be counted toward the 1892 season or 1893 season.

The insanity continued from there, getting so bad that the series was actually temporarily suspended in 1907. The irony in the 1907 game was that it ended in a 6-6 tie. Never again in the series' history would there be balance.

As ESPN Films' special Roll Tide/War Eagle premieres tonight on ESPN, it's going to be interesting how ESPN Films wraps so much together in such a short period of time. There have been so many storylines throughout the rivalry that it would take a TV series years to completely touch on everything.

The series has split the state of Alabama into two: Tigers fans and Crimson Tide fanatics. It's a good thing it isn't a West Coast/East Coast rivalry because it would turn two entire sides of the country against one another.

To think, it actually took the Alabama House of Representatives to bring the series back in 1947. A resolution from the state government was the only thing that could cut through the two sides' hatred.

But it didn't stop there. Auburn president Dr. Ralph B. Draughon and Alabama president Dr. John Gallalee agreed to spot each year's contests at Birmingham's Legion Field because it was the largest stadium in the state. Unfortunately, that area appeared to attract a lot more Alabama fans and it became a point of contention for years with Auburn fans claiming it gave Alabama unfair "home-field" advantage.

Legendary Alabama head coach Bear Bryant only added to the divide in the state while the Crimson Tide became a higher-profile team, calling Auburn at the time, "that cow college on the other side of the state."

When the rivalry was brought to Auburn's home stadium in 1989 after Auburn had gained greater recognition, it only put gasoline on the fire. When the Tigers won, 30-20, it sparked a wave of Tigers fans to point to the other side and laugh mockingly.

Most recently, we saw an Alabama fan by the name of Harvey Updyke allegedly poison the historic oak trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner.

This came after a man calling himself "Al" said he poisoned the trees with a deadly pesticide on a radio show the weekend following the 2010 Iron Bowl.

His last words on the call?

"Roll damn Tide!"

It doesn't get more insane than that, folks.

This series not only transcends the most combative rivalries out there, it transcends how human beings should act.

The teams face each other in the final game of the regular season on November 26.


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