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Netflix Iron Bowl 2012: Trends in Auburn and Tuscaloosa Movie Rentals: Week 1

I mean, it’s Fam’ly movie night: Netflix Iron Bowl returns!

After what seems like an eternity college football finally has returned. For months on end fans have been looking forward to this week with much anticipation. The beauty of a new season is the potential it holds. We’re all undefeated now. With a few breaks we’ll be that way in December. Maybe I’m just too optimistic. Perhaps others don’t believe their team can run the table like I believe my Auburn Tigers can at the beginning of each season. If they’re not thinking championship, what are other teams thinking? Let’s find out…with a little help, once again, from Netflix.

Week One provides us with a huge Top Ten clash in Dallas between defending national champion Alabama and Michigan. It seems fans in Ann Arbor are more or less conceding defeat. The Netflix list of local favorites doesn’t seem to show any films that would suggest they’re mentally ready for their team to take down Goliath. Perhaps they’re hoping Alabama will be overlooking their Wolverines, but the inclusion of Into the Wild in the top 25 leads me to believe they already know how their journey will end…poorly. If there is one glimmer of hope it’s the number 25 local favorite, Inglorious Basterds. My guess is Al Borges has been screening this for his offense, especially encouraging Denard Robinson to transform himself into a dynamic Aldo Raine, valiantly leading his band of rag tag anti-heroes into the fray. If Coach Borges and Denard adopt Lt. Raine’s “whatever it takes” approach, they might just stand a chance.

About 700 or so miles due south of Ann Arbor, fans in Tuscaloosa seem to have a more positive outlook on the season opener. The top movie in Tuscaloosa is Tonight You’re Mine. The phrase seems almost prophetic. Alabama finished last season top dog in college football and Tuscaloosans seem to believe that with the talent they have stockpiled they have no problems dispensing of Michigan. Of course, it wouldn’t be Alabama Football without a tenacious defense. A sign that fans are chomping at the bit to see their boys chase Denard Robinson all over the field? Headhunters clocks in as the number 8 local favorite.

The No. 2 movie offers an interesting look at the psyche of fans in Tuscaloosa. The Dark Knight offers a glimpse at a hero who falls. You could make the argument that Harvey Dent is a model of Michigan. If anyone can claim to have a richer football tradition than The University of Alabama it is The University of Michigan. Of course,don’t ever try and argue with an Alabama fan that your tradition is on the same level. I’m sure they’re looking at the fall of Harvey Dent as a parallel to the fall Michigan took over the past decade. Interestingly though, if preseason rankings are to be believed, it seems Dent phrase, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” could apply to the Crimson Tide. They’re the defending champs, but Southern California clocks in ahead of them in the AP Poll. Perhaps the media has grown tired of SEC dominance and is looking for a new hero to emerge to replace the traditional hero.

If the local favorites hold any sway on the game’s outcome I look for The Crimson Tide to defeat Michigan. Fans in Tuscaloosa seem to want it more. Their viewing choices are much more aggressive and I don’t doubt that Coach Saban’s attitude influences not only his team, but fans in Tuscaloosa. In all honesty though, Michigan will lose because they weren’t watching the one movie that perfectly tells you how to hold off a red army as an over matched force, Red Dawn (Wolverines!!! ).

(Oh, and one of the top films in Tuscaloosa is The Hunger Games. Are T-Town residents fans of archery or are they subconsciously relating to the story of one man’s tyrannical rule of a population?)

Although it isn’t a Top 10 matchup, The Chick-Fil-A College Kickoff clash between Auburn and Clemson should be fun as it will serve as the rubber game in a series that started in 2010. Each team won on their respective home field, so a neutral game site should serve as a fun place to settle which tigers rule the gridiron. Apparently Clemson not only lacks Chick-Fil-A locations, but also a population large enough to warrant Netflix providing us with details on their viewing habits. No need to fret. Your’s truly did some investigating and found that the city is within the Greenville­ Spartanburg-Anderson Combined Statistical Area, so I was able to use the data from these three areas to see what Clemson fans are watching.

If there is any team in the country besides LSU who is ready to start a new season and turn the page on a stinging loss from last season, it has to be the Clemson Tigers.The last time they were on a football field, they were taken to the woodshed by West Virginia, giving up 70 points. It seems their is still a foul stench in the air around Clemson as Les Misérables is one of the top films in the Clemson area. I’m no expert in French, but I’m fairly certain the title of that film roughly translates into The Miserable. Of course Clemson is looking to remedy this poor mood and if the fan favorites and this guy’s video are any indication, they think Auburn is the right medicine. “Clemson Tom” and his fellow Tiger fans seem to think they’ll have no problems handling Auburn. They figure they beat us last year and they’ll do the same this year. How do I know this? The Smurfs is one of the local favorites. If I know anything it’s that a fan base watching a movie about cute, harmless little blue people is, on some level, watching it to prepare to beat an opponent whose fans will be clad in blue.

Another local favorite, You Again, shows that Clemson fans are taking Auburn lightly as well. The very phrase seems to imply astonishment that Dabo’s squad has to prove itself against a lesser team again. I mean, didn’t they beat Auburn last season to win the Super Bowl?* (Here’s video evidence.) With confidence running high in South Carolina, should Auburn even bother showing up in Atlanta Saturday Night? Fans in Auburn would say yes.

Auburn: “We’ll see you in Twelve, SEC.”

While Clemson Fans might be bummed to play Auburn again, Auburn fans are looking forward to righting the wrong from last season’s loss. Fans in Auburn appeart to be gearing up for a season of redemption kicked off with a little revenge for last season’s loss in “Death Valley” by watching Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Auburn was doing fine in last season’s game against Clemson, even leading 14-0 at one point, only to see Clemson take over and win the game. Of course, part of the collapse in last year’s game was due to a defense that couldn’t get off the field during 3rd down. Enter VanGorder.

Fans in Auburn appear to be excited about Brian VanGorder’s attacking defense, and the contact high from his testosterone has affected Auburn’s Top Ten via Wrath of the Titans. Players have commented that practice has been more intense and fans seem ready to see these qualities translate onto the field. Whether or not Auburn can start the season off with a win even with a new defensive coordinator and new offensive coordinator remains to be seen, but the good people of the Loveliest Village also seem to be drawing inspiration as the underdog from the movie Red Tails.

Fans are obviously excited about the new year, not only because of the promise of tough defense returning to The Plains, but also because of a new offensive system being led by dynamic sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier. Of course Frazier is a first time starter, but Auburn fans can take heart in knowing their Tigers return 17 starters from last season. It seems they’re ready to watch their boys take to the field under the guidance of these returning starters as Auburn fans have been enjoying the exploits of Jim and his gang while watching American Reunion. Which set of Tigers will win Saturday? I’m not sure, but I know one thing, I, along with other Auburn fans hope that we’ll be hearing a lot of Joyful Noise around Toomer’s Corner late Saturday Night.


*In all seriousness, they had just stopped the longest winning streak in the nation while also beating the defending national champions.

Stephen Savage, Auburn Man exiled to Baton Rouge, is currently working on his PhD in Political Science. In his free time he enjoys watching movies and writing about them on his blog, Movies N’ Munchies.

Keep Reading:

* Auburn-educated astronaut wanted ‘War Eagle’ to be first words on the moon
* These 1986 A-Day Photos will Bo your mind
* Cam Newton on the cover of GQ
* Pat Dye would have killed Jerry Sandusky
* Toomer’s Corner Before and After shot
* Show Some Pigskin: An Illustrated Guide to Auburn’s Playboy All-Americans

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