There are many great traditions and rivalries in college football. Those that have stood the test of time over the years include Michigan vs. Ohio St., USC vs. Notre Dame, and Florida St. vs. Miami. But there is one rivalry in college football that folks in the south say stands above them all: The Iron Bowl.
Alabama leads the Iron Bowl series 42-34-1. The game is traditionally set for Thanksgiving Day Weekend. The game is called the Iron Bowl due to Birmingham’s reputation for producing iron and steel. Auburn Coach Shug Jordan created the name of the game but Bama’s Coach Bear Bryant preferred the name Brag Bowl because the winner could brag about the victory the rest of the year.
The most meaningful games in the series include the first game in 1893 when Auburn beat Bama in Birmingham 32-22, the 1957 and 1964 games where the winner walked away with the national title, and the 1993 game where Auburn won to remain undefeated in a probation season to win another national title. What makes this year’s contest so weighty is the fact that national championship hopes are at stake for both teams for the first time since 1964.
There aren’t many surprises in this game. Neither team will throw the ball much. At the time of this writing, Alabama ranks 60th in throwing offense at 238 ypg and Auburn ranks even worse at #104 averaging 180 ypg. What we do know for certain is that both teams will pound it on the ground. Auburn ranks 3rd in rushing offense at 320 ypg compared to Alabama’s rank of #28 with 208 ypg. Both Auburn and Alabama average scoring 39 ppg. Alabama’s defense gives up 10 ppg to Auburn’s 22 ppg. Perhaps though, the difference in the game will come down who turns the ball over the most. Alabama’s turnover margin for the year is 4 whereas Auburn’s is 2.
Most insiders will agree Auburn’s defense just isn’t good enough for Auburn to pick up the upset. I would have to agree with that assessment. This year’s Bama team just beats their opponent into submission. Give Auburn and new Coach Gus Malzahn credit. The Tigers have done more than anyone could have imagined. However, the streak will come to a stop beginning Saturday, November 30 on a nationally televised broadcast by CBS that begins at 3:30 eastern time. Be sure to tune in. Who knows? Perhaps this will be the best Iron Bowl ever!
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