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Netflix Iron Bowl 2012: Trends in Auburn and Tuscaloosa Movie Rentals: Week 2

Week 2 of the 2012 college football season is upon us.  What did we learn from Week 1? For one, Michigan fans must have seen the writing on the wall. By watching Into the Wild, we suspected Ann Arbor was more or less conceding defeat to Alabama… we were right. Alabama took it to the Wolverines. Big time. As far as Auburn is concerned I must make a confession, Red Tails sucked. It had it’s moments, of course, but if I’m picking an underdog movie to be inspired by, I’m looking for something a little better than Red Tails. So it’s no wonder Auburn lost a close battle to Clemson. In the end there were just too many mistakes to get the job done (both in the movie and on the field)…how Alabama won the national championship after seeing that movie, I’ll never know.

After opening the year at a neutral site Alabama hosts Western Kentucky in the Tide’s home opener. So what’s the mood in Tuscaloosa? Good. Their team is back on top of the polls and looking to continue their domination. The confidence is evident by the Tuscaloosa’s third local favorite, Bad Ass. If you watched any of Alabama’s game with Michigan and didn’t have that phrase come to mind while watching the public beat down, you probably weren’t watching it. Alabama dominated that game from start to finish. Fans in Tuscaloosa feel their team is badass.

But that Mirror Mirror also shows up on their local list seems to suggest they’re heeding the advice their coach gave the media, cautious of cockiness and intent on getting better, regardless of the opponent. Lockout as a local favorite? Yep, fans want to see their team lock the Hilltoppers out of the endzone. But to keep themselves humble T-Town is watching Tyler Perry’s Aunt Bam’s Place, a cautionary tale about how a good thing can go bad when unexpected things pop up. We’ll find out soon enough if they learned from Aunt Bam.

In order to avoid disrespecting Saban The Great And Powerful, I’ve decided to actually look at what the good folks of Bowling Green are watching as they prepare to take on the Tide in Tuscaloosa. Crazily enough, it seems that fans in Bowling Green are more upbeat about their team than fans in Ann Arbor were last week. If Netflix movie rentals really do reflect the psychology of local fan populations, then the Hilltoppers seem to be drawing inspiration from 21 Jump Street. And hey If two inept policemen like Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill can get the job done, why can’t a group of young men from Bowling Green take down the number one team in the nation? Of course, in order to stop the crime of a back to back Crimson Tide national championship, WKU will need to be sure that each and every player on their roster knows he needs to Think Like a Man, knowing he’s a FBS football player and that he works just as hard to win as anyone on the other sideline!

But I’m afraid the Hilltoppers might find themselves in a situation more similar to that of Mara in Rogue River. At first they accept the hospitality of the Crimson Tide to come play their school in front of their fans. Sure, they’ll get a nice payday and their guys will get to play in one of the biggest stadiums in the country against the top team in the nation. Then the creepy old man Bama shows his true colors and things get ugly fast. Next thing you know WKU is fighting for her life just trying to make it out of town

As Alabama faces a tune up game against a non conference game, Auburn and Mississippi State meet each other in Starkville in an SEC West matchup. A loss in this game really hurts the loser’s chances of making it to Atlanta to play for the conference Championship. So what’s the mood in each town? Starkville seem fairly upbeat.

Fans there seem to be ready for their team to take that elusive next step toward becoming an elite team. The Bulldog Faithful have been watching The Greening of Whitney Brown preparing for this step. Of course, Whitney takes the opposite step, going from the big city to the country, but the Bulldogs are taking the lessons of learning to cope with new situations in preparation for their first conference win en route to the top of the SEC West.

State fans aren’t just concerned with their team earning their first SEC win, they are Seeking Justice. Mississippi State has been on the losing end of back to back close losses to Auburn. The Bulldogs feel their time is now and they can think of nothing better than helping Auburn start their season 0-2. Signs that Starkvillians are confident their team will finally get the crucial conference opening win Saturday morning? They’ve been watching Morning Glory. They’re fed up with losing to Auburn to start conference play and can’t wait to see Auburn’s winning streak in the series Gone. For Dan Mullen and company a win Saturday will be cause for celebration amidst the Joyful Noise of several thousand cowbells. Forget plots—you can measure their eagerness in the titles alone.

How can you tell it’s Mississippi State week in Auburn? LOL and The Three Stooges have shot to the top of the local favorites chart. I like to think this is more a sign of trying to lighten the mood after a loss ahead of a huge game and not in reaction to this picture. In all seriousness, I have no doubt most Auburn fans realize the importance of Saturday’s game. A win here builds confidence heading into the rest of conference play. A loss means having to play catch up in the toughest division in college football.

Last weekend’s loss to Clemson seems to have some in Auburn down, these poor souls having turned to Man on a Ledge in the depths of their despair. I’d like to remind these folks that Auburn lost to a defending conference champion. Sure, the loss was a bummer, but it was a close game and the team never gave up. That’s a good thing. Debbie Downer’s aside, it seems not everyone in Auburn has lost their mind. A good number of folks have been watching Haywire.

Though Red Tails is still one of the top movies on The Plains, I’m glad Haywire makes an appearance—it’s a much better inspiration for the downtrodden. In the movie Gina Carano kicks the most ass this side of Liam Neeson in Taken. Let us draw inspiration from someone who is super talented who, with the odds against them, works to fight back and prove all the naysayers wrong. Sure the loss last week hurt, but it wasn’t devastating.

Auburn fans might be a bit down after the loss to Clemson, but they haven’t given up hope, most never will. The inclusion of Courageous as a local favorite proves this scientically. Through the best of times and the worst of times we will “War Eagle Forever” and continue to “Hold the Wheel”. Believe that.


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. For more evidence of how Netflix movie rentals reflect the psychology of local fan populations, click here.

Keep Reading:

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* These 1986 A-Day Photos will Bo your mind
* Cam Newton on the cover of GQ
* Pat Dye would have killed Jerry Sandusky
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