Iron Bowl 2011: 20 Greatest Alabama vs. Auburn Games of All Time
Growing up in the state of Alabama, I am no stranger to the Iron Bowl. However, even if I had been born in Idaho I would likely have at least some understanding of this game.
No state loves their college football like the state of Alabama. As a result, this game almost always has national relevance. For the third straight season, the national championship participants will be decided by the outcome of this game.
If you ask 100 people to list their Top 20 Iron Bowl memories. Outside of a handful of games, you are liable to hear lists that very greatly.
This rivalry is about more than football. It brings back memories made with family, the jubilee of a win or the unbelievable heartache that came from a football game.
The Iron Bowl brings out both the best and the worst of who we are. But it always leaves a lasting memory.
No. 20: The 2005 Iron Bowl—Honk If You Sacked Brodie
This game might be ranked a little higher than most would rank it. However, this game is one this generation of Tiger fans and Tide fans will long remember.
Alabama came into the game with a 9-1 record and ranked No. 8 in the nation. Auburn came into the game with an 8-2 record and ranked No. 11.
Auburn would stifle the Tide offense and sack the quarterback 12 times, including 11 on Brodie Croyle. The Tigers would win the game 28-18.
I went to a high school that was cross-town rivals with Brodie Croyle's high school for many years. I remember clearly where I was when I had first seen the bumper sticker, “Honk if you sacked Brodie”.
No. 19: The 2003 Iron Bowl—Run Cadillac Run
Neither of these teams were very good, but this game finds its way on this list because it had one of those plays people rarely forget.
Auburn finished the season 8-5 and Alabama limped to a 4-9 season.
But it was the first play of the game that will be remembered more than the records of the participating teams. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams took the opening hand off 80 yards for the touchdown in front of the home crowd. The run was good, but it was the electricity of the game that stands out.
Williams would rush for over 200 yards on the night as he led Auburn to a 28-23 win.
No. 18: The 1893 Iron Bowl—You Never Forget Your First
Want to know how far the Iron Bowl has come since its beginnings? The first Iron Bowl was played on February 22, 1893 at Lakeview Park in Birmingham, AL.
There were an astounding 450 people in attendance. There will be over 87,000 fans in attendance this weekend and millions watching on TV.
Auburn would take the 1-0 lead in the series with a 32-22 victory. These two programs set the tone for the rest of the rivalry. They would debate and argue over how the game should be recorded. Alabama wanted to add the loss to the 1892 season.
Auburn, on the other hand, wanted to make it the first game of the 1893 season.
No. 17: The 1948 Iron Bowl—We're Back! Too Bad Auburn
No. 18 was the first game played and No. 17 is the renewal of the series. The two programs administrations could not come to an agreement on several key issues. The final game before the pause in the series was a 6-6 tie in 1907. The series would not be played again until 1948. During that time, there were efforts made from both colleges and outside sources, but no agreement could be reached.
They would play again in 1948, but Auburn wished they would have waited a year later—when they went on to defeat the Tide 14-13.
Unfortunately for Auburn, they did play the game and lost 55-0.
No. 16: The 1954 Iron Bowl—the National Championship Was the Icing on the Cake
Winning an Iron Bowl is great. Winning a national championship is historic. However, when you can do both in the same season it goes down as one of the top Iron Bowls of all time.
Auburn would defeat Alabama for their fourth straight season. However, this time it had greater significance. They would go on to be named the AP National Champions for the first time.
It was the 40-0 shellacking of Alabama that put the Tigers over the top in the mind of the voters. There would be many more games between these two programs that would have national championship implications.
But you never forget the first.
No. 15: The 2008 Iron Bowl—Money Well Spent
The 2008 season will go down as the year that the Crimson Tide returned to prominence. Alabama finished the season 12-2 and went undefeated in the regular season.
Yet there is one game that stands above all others. After six straight losses, the Tide finally defeated the Tigers under second year coach Nick Saban.
But they did not just beat them—they trampled them into submission. Alabama would win 36-0 and the tide turned.
No. 14: The 2009 Iron Bowl—the Championship Drive
Nick Saban was brought to Tuscaloosa for two reasons: to win national championships and beat Auburn. In 2009, he was able to do both.
The Tide came into the game expected to destroy Auburn like the previous season. However, Auburn used a little trickery and misdirection to jump out to a 14-0 lead. From that point on, the momentum would go back and forth until Greg McElroy and Julio Jones decided to take over the game on their final drive.
McElroy would complete a touchdown pass to Roy Upchurch with a 1:24 left to take a 26-21 lead. Auburn would charge down the field, but the Alabama defense would knock down Auburn's final pass attempt in the end zone as time expired.
No. 13: The 2002 Iron Bowl—You're My Boy Tre
Alabama entered the game ranked in the AP Top 10. Auburn was missing future NFL first rounders Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown to injuries.
Starting at halfback was a relatively unknown player by the name of Tre Smith. He would torch the Alabama defense for 126 yards.
The Tigers beat the Tide 17-7.
A game that was supposed to be close, never was in doubt as the Tigers shocked the world.
No. 12: The 1989 Iron Bowl—Welcome Home
It seemed 53 Iron Bowls had been played everywhere in the state of Alabama but Auburn.
However, that changed in 1989 and the Tigers made the most out of it. Alabama was ranked No. 2 in the nation and was undefeated. But that day they left the game with a 30-20 loss at the hands of Auburn.
This game might have been the beginning of the end for Alabama coach Bill Curry. Despite great success, he will be remembered for some of his questionable calls in this game.
It still remains one of the most memorable games in Auburn history.
No. 11: The 1963 Iron Bowl—The Backup Plan
Before Cam Newton ever stepped on the Planes, there was a quarterback named Jimmy Sidle who was a dangerous runner. He was expected to have a huge impact on this game. But he went out with injured ribs early.
He would come in and out during the game sharing duties with Mailon Kent. It was Kent, however, that led Auburn on both of their scoring drives, including the go-ahead touchdown to take a 10-8 lead.
That would be all the help the defense needed as Auburn won the game by the same score.
No. 10: The 1997 Iron Bowl—What Was He Thinking?
Alabama remembers this game as the play call they would like back. After a questionable play call, Auburn recovered a fumble on a screen pass by Alabama late in the game.
After that, Jaret Holmes attempted a field goal. With 21 seconds remaining, that would send Auburn to their first ever SEC Championship Game.
Despite the pressure, Holmes would make the field goal that would give Auburn a 18-17 victory on their home field.
No 9: The 2010 Iron Bowl—Cam Laughs Last
There are so many things that make this game great. First, it led to Auburn winning a national championship. Second, it ended the Tide's winning streak at home. Third, it was Cam Newton's Heisman game. Four, Auburn embarrassed the Alabama defense and beat Saban in a way that no one thought possible.
Alabama jumped up 24-0 and were absolutely dominating the Tigers. However, Auburn became the stingy defense, only allowing Alabama three more points. Cam became an icon.
The final result was Newton and the Tigers making the Tide quit, and Cam and company got the last laugh, 28-27.
No. 8: The 1964 Iron Bowl—Welcome to Prime Time
In 1964, the rest of the nation got to see what Alabama residents already knew—that the Iron Bowl is the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
Bama won behind Alabama quarterback Joe Namath, who led the Tide to a 21-14 victory over the Tigers. Alabama would go on to win the national championship. After that, the nation was hooked on those two schools from Alabama.
No. 7: The 1981 Iron Bowl—One for the Record Book
Alabama would rally to defeat Auburn 28-17 in the 1981 Iron Bowl. The win was Crimson Tide coach Paul "Bear" Bryant’s 315th career game. This win made him the all-time winningest coach in Division I history.
The win was great and the record was great. But combine the two against a hated rival made it one of the top Iron Bowl games of all time.
No. 6: The 1984 Iron Bowl—NO BO NO!
For all the great things that Bo Jackson did in his career while at Auburn, there was one bad memory that still sits with Tiger fans.
The play happened late in the fourth with Auburn trailing by two. Pat Dye called a Brent Fullwood run on 4th-and-1. If Auburn scored on the play, they would win their second straight SEC championship. Instead, Bo ran the wrong way to block and Fullwood was brought down short and Auburn lost the game.
Jackson's good moments far outweigh his bad. But that one was bad.
No. 5: The 1982 Iron Bowl—the Bear's Last Iron Bowl
For all the success that Coach Bear Bryant had against the team he referred to as the “Cow college from across the state,” it was Bo Jackson that stole the show in his final Iron Bowl as head coach.
Alabama had won nine straight Iron Bowls going into this game. With two minutes left in the game, Auburn running back Bo Jackson jumped over the pile and scored on a one-yard run to give the Tigers a 23-22 victory.
In many ways, this was the start of a reverse in this series since Bear’s retirement.
No. 4: The 1971 Iron Bowl—the Top 5 TKO
This game has had many memorable moments and teams. Many times, this game either stopped or led to one of the programs winning a national championship.
However, this was the only game that both teams entered the game without a tie or blemish.
The Tide were 10-0 and No. 2 in the nation. The Tigers were 9-0 and No. 5 in the nation. It was the classic game that never was. Instead of a well fought game, this was a TKO from the start.
Alabama won the game 31-7, and it was not as close as the score would indicate.
No. 3: the 1967 Iron Bowl—the Run
Before there was ever the 2011 LSU-Alabama “game of the century” that yielded zero touchdowns, there was the defensive battle in the 1967 Iron Bowl.
There was only one touchdown in the game, but it was one that Bama fans will never forget. Alabama QB Kenny Stabler ran for a 47-yard touchdown to lead Alabama over Auburn 7-3.
There was 11 minutes left in the game at the time of Stabler’s run, but it demoralized the Auburn team who could never recover.
No.2: The 1985 Iron Bowl—the Kick Heard Around the World
Field goal kickers are the least known player on the team until they are needed. Such was the case with Van Tiffin of the Crimson Tide.
He made several great plays in his career, but none were as memorable as his 52-yard kick to defeat the Tigers in the 1985 Iron Bowl 25-23.
Mike Shula had just mastered a terrific drive to set up the field goal opportunity with six seconds remaining. Tiffin and company ran on the field like the clock was moving and rushed a kick—one that he kicked perfectly.
No. 1: The 1972 Iron Bowl—Punt Bama Punt
Headed into the 1972 Iron Bowl, Alabama was 10-0 and had the inside track to the national championship. One of the few remaining hurdles was against an undermanned Auburn team who were major underdogs.
The script was going just as planned. At the end of three quarters, Alabama was leading the Tigers 16-0. At that time, not many were worried about a blocked extra point earlier in the game. However, that point would become the difference in the game.
With just over five minutes to go in the game, the Tigers were trailing 16-3 but blocked an Alabama punt and David Langner ran it back for a touchdown. With just over a minute left, Auburn would block another punt that was again returned for a touchdown.
The Tigers went on to win the game 17-16 without scoring an offensive touchdown.