November 27, 2009

It's no contest
Andrea Adelson

Orlando Sentinel

There is no in-state rivalry that comes close to Alabama-Auburn, not when the hatred between these schools goes way beyond one game in November.

You can have Miami vs. Florida State and Texas vs. Texas A & M. But if you lose the Iron Bowl, your entire year is wrecked. You have to wait 365 days for a chance to take revenge, all while getting taunted and harassed at work or at school or standing in line at the grocery store.

That might go double for Auburn fans, who have taken a back seat to Alabama as the Tide built football dynasties under Bear Bryant and are doing it again under Nick Saban. The Tigers have had nice seasons, but nothing compared to their hated rivals.

To put it simply, this game is more than a rivalry. It is a way of life.


Where football is religion
Chris Dufresne

Los Angeles Times

UCLA-USC is closer in proximity, Arizona-Arizona State is more heated (literally) and Texas-Texas A & M has more cattle, but the best college football in-state rivalry is the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn.

Main reason? In a state that has no professional sports and where football is religion, Alabama-Auburn is the argument that keeps on giving. A dispute in 1908 over the use of illegal players - on both sides! - led to discontinuation of the series until 1948 on the insistence of the state legislature. Alabama got so mad over losing its fourth straight to Auburn in 1957 that Tuscaloosa sent a delegation to bone-dry Texas to hire, by whatever means necessary, Paul "Bear" Bryant, who won six national titles and beat Auburn 19 times in the next 25 years. Take that!


Iron Bowl tops 'em all
Nick Mathews

Newport News

Daily Press

The phrase "in-state" limits our options severely. The best rivalries in college football know no boundaries. Ohio State-Michigan, Army-Navy, Southern Cal-Notre Dame, Oklahoma-Texas - shoot, even Harvard-Yale. None an in-state clash.

However, there is one "in-state" clash always listed among the best college football rivalries. Auburn-Alabama. The Iron Bowl. It has everything. Excellence, tradition, and, most important in an intense rivalry, hatred. Auburn won 32-22 in the series' first game on Feb. 22, 1893. The odd date caused testiness immediately, as Alabama wanted to count the matchup as the final game of the 1892 season, while Auburn wanted to count it as the first in the 1893 season. They have been bitter rivals since.


Oldest series is best
Paul Reinhard

Morning Call

So, what's the measure of a great rivalry, anyway? Rabid fans who seem to genuinely hate one another? Lehigh-Lafayette has them. They sometimes refer to the enemy as Laughayette or Chicken Squawks. Players who could care less about sportsmanship? No postgame handshakes between Lafayette and Lehigh. In fact, the most recent game produced over-the-top vulgarity.

The crowds don't match up with some of the others, but the fact that the two Pennsylvania schools are less than 10 miles apart stokes the fires. The 145-game series - most in the nation - is packed with "remember when …?" moments. Old-timers will brag about seeing 50 or 60 of them.

You have the regular season, and you have Lehigh-Lafayette week. One counts for 10 weeks, the other is remembered forever.

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