Alabama vs. Auburn: Why the Iron Bowl Is College Football's Greatest Rivalry

Stephen UrbaniakCorrespondent INovember 25, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Neiko Thorpe #15 and Eltoro Freeman #21 of the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There are many rivalries in college football's history that have always had the hearts and minds of fans worldwide. Many rivalry games have decided divisional, conference and national championship games.

Michigan/Ohio State, Florida State/Miami, USC/UCLA and the less-fanfare matchup between Auburn and Alabama—known as the Iron Bowl—are all notable rivalries. Alabama has come out on top quite a few times in this matchup, posting an overall record of 40-34-1.

Last season, Auburn defeated Alabama 28-27 after Cam Newton engineered a comeback from a 24-0 deficit to enable the Tigers to win the game and go on to win the SEC conference championship, and eventually the BCS national championship.

Auburn and Alabama have been heated rivals since 1893. The Iron Bowl was coined back in the 1980's out of respect for the iron and steel industry in Birmingham, and it also reflects the iron wills of these teams that battle every second, every game to gain respect and the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Award.

There has been many games throughout the series that have been significant, from Brodie Croyle being sacked by Auburn 11 times, to Alabama's 36-0 beatdown in Tuscaloosa. These games are the most hard-fought in the country and there have not been any dull moments.

This rivalry is the best in college football, and has been for decades.

Two reasons stand out: first, these teams are usually ranked when they meet and the outcome of the game almost always has conference and national championship implications; secondly, these teams throw out the record books when they collide, as these games are almost always a street fight until the final whistle.