It all comes to a head today in Jordan-Hare Stadium; Auburn and Alabama will finally meet in the 2011 edition of college football’s greatest rivalry, The Iron Bowl. Each week we’ve taken a look at the movies fans in Auburn and Tuscaloosa were watching to gauge their emotions before and after each win or loss. If “Zookeeper’s” inclusion on both towns’ list of Local Favorites is any indication, fans across the state are ready for a fun game and crazy atmosphere. Both sides are obviously ready to settle their differences on the field, but how is each planning on winning the game?
Fans in Auburn seem to know one simple fact: their team is facing one of the best teams in the nation. While other fanbases might be pessimistic about their team’s chances against the second ranked team in the nation after witnessing their own team’s up and down season, the Auburn Family still believes in their young men. One of the top Local Favorites is “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Auburn men and women have no doubt seen a little bit of Clark W. Griswold in their young team. At times he can appear to be a bumbling idiot, but you can never doubt his sincerity and determination to succeed. In the end, Clark W. Griswold provides his family with a Christmas they’ll never forget, as ugly as it is to watch at times. Auburn fans have to be hoping to see their team overcome any mistakes they’ve made and put it all together when it counts to deliver the Auburn Family an early Christmas present: an Iron Bowl victory.
Clearly Auburn faithful aren’t lacking in belief, but what about a plan to actually succeed against Bama and their tough D? It seems Auburn is confident that their team has a plan in place as well as belief in the team to get the job done. “Horrible Bosses” inclusion as a local favorite indicates that Auburn knows their coaching staff will have their team prepared with a plan to succeed. This movie also shows confidence in Auburn’s preparedness to adapt their plan throughout the game in order to obtain a victory (just as the men dealt with changes in their plan to kill their bosses).
So Auburn fans still believe that their team can pull off the upset and has a plan in place to do just that, but how will they defeat their rival? I think two movies on the Local Favorites list indicate Auburn’s plan of action. “Just Go with It” seems to be an indication of the attitude Auburn’s struggling offense will employ. In the movie, a man uses a fake wedding ring and a sob story about a fake wife that hates him to pick up women. It’s not exactly the most upfront way to meet women, but it works. I believe Auburn’s offense will need to rely on deception and a few new wrinkles in order to get a leg up on the Crimson Tide’s strong defense. Two years ago Auburn struck quickly to take a 14-0 lead, only to see their lead diminish and the game end with a heartbreaking defeat 26-21. This year I look for Auburn to do all they can to get a lead, but instead of slowing things down too much and killing any momentum they generate, they’ll continue to force the Alabama defense to deal with new formations and plays all game long.
Look for Auburn’s offense to have an innovative gameplan in place. I look for the defense’s gameplan to be much more simple: stop the run. Of course, this is much easier said than done. The Crimson Tide’s rushing attack is led by a freakish specimen and Heisman candidate named Trent Richardson. If Auburn’s defense can contain the run, they’ll force Alabama to try to move the ball through the air, taking away one of the Tide’s keys to victory, clock management. If Alabama can’t dictate the pace of the game through their running game Auburn can not only put pressure on the Alabama offense, but also the Tide’s defense to ensure Auburn doesn’t keep them on the field all day long, tiring them out. In the simplest of terms, Auburn needs their defense to be “Beastly” Saturday to help secure a victory.
As good as any gameplan the Auburn coaching staff can come up with, none of it will matter if the team doesn’t execute and if it doesn’t believe that it can pull off the upset. This is why I believe “Fireproof” has been the top choice of Auburn residents this past week. Targeted to a Christian audience, the film focuses on fireman Caleb Holt who lives by the motto, “Never leave your partner behind”. The only problem is he has only been applying that to his job and not his marriage, which is deteriorating. The man’s father challenges him to a “Love Dare” in an attempt to save his marriage from ending in divorce. Throughout the film the fireman works to fix his marriage through a series of tasks outlined in the “Love Dare”. Of course, Auburn’s football team isn’t going through a divorce, but they can learn a lot about faith and belief from the Kirk Cameron film.
The team has been through a lot of ups and downs this season, but they still must have faith in one another and believe that they can defeat the second-ranked Crimson Tide. In the film, Caleb lives by the motto, “Never leave your partner behind”. This motto recalls this speech by Coach Gaines in previous local favorite “Friday Night Lights.” Gene Chizik always tells his young men to “plan your work and work your plan”. If his young men can do so Saturday, with each man doing his part, they will have the chance to pull off one of the biggest upsets in Iron Bowl history.
To say that Auburn’s season hinges on the Iron Bowl wouldn’t be a stretch. The same can also be said for the Crimson Tide who’s playing for much more than bragging rights. Alabama needs to win this game in order to keep their hopes for a shot at the BCS Championship in tact. Sure, there’s no guarantee that the Crimson Tide will play in the title game, but all indications are that they’ll have a good shot at it if they can avoid a slip up against their in-state rivals.
While the game might appear to be a mismatch on paper, fans in Tuscaloosa seem to be preparing for Auburn to pull out all of the stops against their team Saturday. “The Lincoln Lawyer” is one of Tuscaloosa’s Local Favorites. The movie, centered around a smooth talking defense attorney, is filled with several plot twists and turns. The Tide have to be prepared for Auburn to try and throw as many wrenches at them as possible. I mentioned above that Auburn will more than likely use some deception to get Nick Saban’s defense off balance. I look for the Tide to be expecting the unexpected…
Whether Auburn runs new plays and utilizes new formations remains to be seen. One way to offset any potential advantage the Tigers could gain from the element of surprise is to control the line of scrimmage. Auburn lost four seniors from their offensive line last year, with many of them having played together for a few years. The Tigers revamped offensive line has had its fair share of struggles and the Tide’s defense might be looking to have their own, “Honk if you sacked Moseley” sort of game. Tuscaloosans appear to believe their team can control the line of scrimmage as “Push” clocks in as a top 10 Local Favorite. If Saban’s team can control the trenches Auburn will be in for a long day.
A few weeks ago I noticed that “Something Borrowed” had been showing up on the list of Local Favorites in Tuscaloosa. As previously mentioned, this title has to refer to the fact that Auburn is holding on to some hardware that the Crimson Tide believes is rightfully theirs. For one, there’s the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy that has been residing in Auburn for just over a year. The sight of the “state championship” trophy in Auburn’s hands has to remind Tide fans of last years collapse in Tuscaloosa. Another piece of hardware was taken from Alabama’s grasp by the Auburn Tigers last season, the BCS National Championship Trophy. A win Saturday not only allows the Tide to erase the painful memories of last year’s lost while helping further their case to be included in the BCS Championship Game.
Although you won’t hear any of Alabama’s coaches or players admit it, the Iron Bowl serves as an audition to be included in the BCS Championship Game. Fans in Tuscaloosa don’t have to be as coy. They’ve been enjoying the exploits of Selena Gomez in “Monte Carlo”. The film involves a young lady on vacation being confused with an heiress and more or less taking advantage of the opportunities afforded to the famous young woman. I don’t doubt for a second that the goofy romantic comedy appeals to the detergent box and toilet paper on a stick set, but I also feel they’re watching it because they are anxious to see their team prove that they deserve a shot at the national championship. The Tide’s only loss came to the number one team in the nation in overtime. On Saturday The Tide will be looking to prove that their being considered a legitimate title contender is not a case of mistaken identity and they are indeed one of the top teams in the country.
And with that, our journey has come to an end. Beginning Saturday night one team’s fans will be requesting “Titanic” from Netflix as their season has been sunk. The others will be celebrating with “It’s a Wonderful Life”, as they’ll have just vanquished their biggest rival and cemented their season as a good one. Thanks for taking the journey through the Netflix Iron Bowl with me. “Good Night, and Good Luck” (unless you’re a Bama fan).
Stephen Savage writes at “Movies ‘n Munchies” and is considered by his mother to be the best blogger on all things movie and food related. Holding two degrees from Auburn University, Stephen is proud to call himself an Auburn Man. He currently spends his time working on his blog. He is available for freelance work and retirement parties. Follow his blog on Twitter @moviesnmunchies.
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