“It’s human nature to be average,” Nick Saban tells me via the matinee screening of “Nick Saban: Gamechanger.”
That’s an aphorism – “a terse saying embodying a general truth.” But because it’s Saban’s aphorism, Saban’s truth, I found myself wanting to reject it. I am Auburn, he is Alabama. We are natural enemies locked in eternal battle, so natural, so eternal that the thought of me, a college-student in my navy Auburn shirt with the faded-from-repeated-washing lettering, surrounded by the scattered, middle-aged crimson bodies of four no doubt die-hard Alabama fans, who had likely never sat in a college class, much less at Alabama, shut-ins probably, the five of us watching various athletes and media peoples preach the gospel of Saint Saban—Saban who doesn’t want to be average, ever – is still difficult to process.
But there I was in Montgomery, bored, skipping class, driving around our state capital on a Friday afternoon seeking any non-college-related activity, and somehow, instead of catching an art-house flick, taking a stroll downtown or touring a historic site, I pull into Eastdale Mall out near the AUM campus after seeing “Nick Saban: Gamechanger” on the marquis. I’d like to think it was a whim. I honestly had not heard one word about “Gamechanger,” shocking as that sounds. At that point, I might have been the only person who hadn’t. I soon found out it was a documentary about Saban’s coaching career and time at Alabama and how he changes games with hard work and black magic. For an Auburn student, that was a pretty non-college-related activity. And for a writer, surely good for material. I bought a ticket.
I’ve never entered a movie more skeptical, more ready to satirize, vilify and deconstruct. I sat in the dark, notebook ready, smug, malevolent grin in place, ready to destroy Saban and his Alabama acolytes—the piece would practically write itself.
Then the music started… mixed with the flashy editing… and I got chills, honest-to-God chills . . . while basically watching Alabama football porn. Somehow the movie had hit all the right receptors in my brain, the ones connected to football and Saturdays and youth. I’d been tricked.
Not just tricked –seduced. I found myself impressed by Nick Saban. Each tingle felt like a betrayal of my Auburn heritage. The music, editing and lofty words had bypassed the logic centers in my head and hit me right in the gut. It’s hard not to be impressed with the man, with his gamechanging-ness. Even as an Auburn fan, an Auburn fan forever and ever amen, I cannot deny the man’s abilities. We hate him, but I think we all know his power. He is not average.
The first thing you notice when you walk into Alabama’s locker room is just how clean everything is. Sterile even. There are no televisions or murals of former players. The colors are muted—grays, blacks, silvers and crimson; it’s like walking into a Sin City scene. The lockers are arranged numerically and lack any personal affects. Each one contains the player’s jersey, number and name facing outward, cleats, helmet, which has been buffed, pants, undershirt, current game program and a small piece of paper with a list of former Alabama All-American’s who wore the same number in years past taped to the top.
Various trainers and helpers wander the room, shining helmets, straightening shoes, making sure everything is perfect, perfect and in its proper place. A carpeted scripted A on white background dominates the center of the room. The white is the color of beached bone. I was warned not to step on or near it, sacrilege or some such.
Walking from locker to locker, I got the sense that the names on the jerseys are unimportant. Greg McElroy is Alabama quarterback No. 12. He isn’t an individual; he’s an idea. His position, his job, has overtaken his personal importance. He has been sacrificed at the altar of Alabama football. That list of the All-Americans only feed this idea. To remember his relative lack of importance, all a player has to do is look at his locker.
Maybe this is part of The Process. To be your best as a player, Nick Saban has to break you down and rebuild you in his image. Throughout “Gamechanger,” Saban talks about “finding players who fit his system,” players who want to work and who will listen. Nick Saban seeks cogs for his machine.
To humanize Saban, the director of “Gamechanger” includes interviews with his children. The son says Saban is a great father. He works hard, he uhh…, he uhh… leaves early and gets home late. And uhh… he makes sure to spend at least five minutes with the family every night, because he’s a good father. The daughter, Kristen, loves “Daddy Sabes.” She even made a sign for his birthday. When they’re on the lake, Daddy Sabes cranks up the Eagles and plays air guitar. Can you picture it? Nick Saban with the family, listening to the Eagles, pantomiming guitar strumming and enjoying water-related activities? (Nick Saban would like the freaking Eagles.) That’s the movie’s only real attempt at showcasing Saban’s non-Sisyphean side.
The rest is Saban working: making calls, evaluating recruits, reviewing film, starring in ESPN commercials where he plays Jenga against Mac Brown. Alabama fans took pride in his refusal to celebrate the national championship for more than a day. “It’s about next year.” Or: “It continues.” Or some other pithy statement implying impending Alabama football imperialism. The next day, Jan. 8, Saban and staff met at 7:30 to begin preparing for success in 2010.
Here’s the thing: Alabama fans freaking love him for that. They love that he works that hard, that all he thinks about is winning and “dominating his opponent.” His inherent lack of likability and his abruptness excused as honesty only endears him more to Alabama fans. He’s an asshole, but he’s their asshole; they don’t just allow it, they celebrate it.
I’m not so sure that would fly at Auburn. Or at least I like to think it wouldn’t. Being an Auburn Man or Woman is about more than winning and losing. It’s about the process, not The Process—how you conduct yourself on a daily basis, with pride and respect for Auburn. Because “Auburn was great before we ever got here.” I’m not so sure there’s any room in The Process for such talk.
I also like to think Auburn wouldn’t welcome Saint Nick because Auburn has always been a family, a family of individuals, something Saban and The Process discourage. Bo and Pat. Shug and Dye. Cadillac and Ronnie. While Auburn values team and unity, it – the essence of Auburn… fans, students, alumni, the city, everything which makes Auburn Auburn – has always been about the person you are, the person Auburn makes you.
Alabama has never been about the individual. Before Ingram, Alabama fans took a sort of pride in not having a Heisman winner. They could then eagerly remind all within earshot of 12. “We ain’t got a Heisman, but we got 12. Whoo weee. Roll Tide.” And they’re right. Alabama has had more success as a team. And that is the ultimate goal of football: team success. Which makes Alabama’s heroes national championship trophies and the old white men who focused, laser-like, the talented masses of crimson-clad 18-22 year olds. Their fans worship years. The parts don’t really matter, only the outcome, The Process. (Adlib your own grayshirt joke.)
And Auburn? Not sure, honestly. I’d like to think it’s a mixture of both—the respect for the individual and a love of team. Really, I’m way too much of an Auburn fan to give a clear, non-biased account.
But I do know it’s not Alabama. Maybe that’s enough right there.
“Boy, you’re standing on hallowed ground. How does it feel to be on a real field?” Surreal should’ve been my answer. Surreal and slightly disgusting. Instead I made a joke or said something self-effacing. I was deep in enemy territory and it seemed like the right play. The asker happened to be a police captain from the town adjacent Auburn. He is an Alabama fan, a real Alabama fan, as is his daughter, with whom I’ve somehow become romantically entangled—enough to be standing on the 50-yard line three hours before the kick-off of the Alabama-Penn State game.
“Let me tell you, Auburn’s a great place. My daughter graduated from there. Got her a fine education. But there’s just something about Alabama. When I hear that Million Dollar Band. . .” whispers the Mayor of town adjacent Auburn, his hand on my upper arm, his face inches from mine. Before the stadium tour, he was knocking back screwdrivers and trying to elicit “Roll Tides”. Mixed with his rambling spiel is Queen’s “We are the Champions.” Highlights from last season play on the four new jumbotrons. The voices of the Mayor, Freddie Mercury and Eli Gold all mix to a barely comprehensible drone. If Alabama had re-education camps, this is what they’d play over the loudspeakers, I think.
So yeah, basically, on Friday and Saturday of last week I did a lot of weird Bama-related shit. Two days of that does weird things to you if you’re an Auburn fan. Up is down. Good is bad. Your equilibrium gets jacked up.
I knew I was going to Tuscaloosa for the game before walking into “Gamechanger.” And so I began thinking of myself almost as an explorer. I would watch their movie and walk their tainted town and return full of knowledge and understanding. I would expose their lies and narrow thinking. I would serve as combat journalist, but instead of bullets and bodies, I’d report on arrogance and assorted jackassedness.
I watched. And watched. And watched.
Then, the very next day, I was in Tuscaloosa. Amongst the heathens. I did it all: I toured the locker room. I walked on the field. I meandered through the Bear Bryant Museum. I even saw last season’s championship trophy. It was terrible.
I started to question long-held assumptions: What does it mean to be an Auburn fan? An Alabama fan? Does the choice say something inherently about you as a person? Is it an arbitrary decision largely based on factors outside human control?
Not sure, honestly. But we like to at least pretend the choice matters. To live in Alabama is to view the world in one of two ways, either as an Alabama fan—the king of the hill, the traditional power, the rightful heir—or an Auburn fan—the consummate underdog, the striver, the little brother. The initial decision might be arbitrary (your dad went to Auburn or your best friend from childhood liked Alabama or 1,000 other reasons) but everything after is deliberate. Once the choice is made, you are pushed to pathological hate of the other side, for better or worse.
But does your choice really say anything about you as a person? I don’t know. That’s what this is at least partly about. I wish I knew; I’ve spent hours trying to find the words to explain it, all for naught. Maybe the question is too complex. Maybe there isn’t an answer or single truth. Regardless, I think it’s worth considering.
We’re a state split between two sides, each side assuming superiority – two ways of life, if you want to get hardcore about it. Two ways of looking at the question. Two football teams. What does that say about us as human beings?
“We have an opponent in this state that we work every day, 365 days a year, to dominate.”
I’ve been raised to hate Alabama from birth. In Sunday School, I’d get into shouting matches with the Alabama children, my War Eagles being met by four or five Roll Tides. From kindergarten through third grade, I only colored with orange and navy. Walking through the halls, it was easy to pick out my tree or house or fire truck.
Part of me is still that 10-year-old boy, spent blue and orange markers covering his desk, his teacher eyeing him disapprovingly as he finishes yet another Auburn-themed masterpiece. That 10-year-old boy didn’t stop to consider sociological implications or “reason.” He loved Auburn and hated Alabama. That was enough.
The 10-year-old version of me understood enjoying sports rationally is boring. Older, less wise Ben tried enjoying sports with Vulcan-like logic once in 2009. Don’t do it. It sucked. Be exceedingly irrational. I’m now convinced that’s the only real way.
Because the most meaningful part of sports is their meaninglessness. Same goes for writing about sports. On some level, it’s all meaningless. In our blind grasping and grafting we fabricate dichotomies and metaphors and grandiose statements to add some heft to sport. The undersized white middle linebacker is heart, grit and willpower. The deaf outfielder is courage and faith. Miraculous recoveries and tragic collapses. We all know the stories.
And the stories are why we watch. Or at least that’s why I watch. For me to enjoy sports there has to be something more than just technical proficiency. I watch sports for less tangible reasons. I watch sports for the sense of community and schadenfreude and because I played sports and because my dad introduced me to sports and because of 100 other reasons I cannot articulate.
All of that, all of this, is true for me, but it might not be for you. You might be an Alabama fan who doesn’t mind Auburn or you might be an Auburn fan who doesn’t hate Alabama. To a certain extent, we all get to create our own sports reality. In my reality, Auburn is inherently good. Alabama is inherently evil. I am, it is.
Being around them – watching their propaganda, walking their cursed grounds, hearing their blasphemies, reminded me: I hate Alabama’s machine-like approach. I hate crimson and white. I hate Big Al. I hate hounds tooth. I hate the town of Tuscaloosa. I hate non self-aware arrogance. I hate Rammer Jammer. I hate obstinate ignorance. I hate balloon-necked Jimmy Sexton chuckling as he says Nick Saban has to “win or be miserable.” I hate being referred to as the “University of Auburn.” I hate Got 13? bumper stickers. I hate all processes, but I especially hate The Process. I hate Nick Saban. I hate the University of Alabama and everything it represents.
And I’ve just about decided I don’t care why.
Ben is a student at Auburn University. Most of his time is spent doing as little as possible, eating, and controlling manageable vices. He will one day graduate with a degree in journalism and maybe find a job. Fingers crossed. Write to him at [email protected]. (Did you read his story ‘The Mysterious Auburn Man”? It was reprinted in the winter issue of Auburn Magazine).
Brilliant, man, just brilliant. With you every step of the way.
My dad is a bammer fan. Always has been. Thankfully my older brother and an uncle saved me from the neck nation. I try to hide my hatred for all things bammerish in front of my dad out of respect, but the truth is that if the 1980 Soviet hockey team for some reason lined up against bammer on the gridiron I would pull for the Soviets. If a team of cross-dressing terrorists lined up against uat I would skirt up and pull for the terrorists. I hate them.
Foy Onion says
Do not be seduced by the dark side. Nick Saban is evil incarnate.
I’m an Auburn grad and my wife is a North Carolina grad, so I asked her who she would root for between Duke and Alabama when they faced off earlier this season. She gave the perfect answer…”Asteroid.”
Soviet Union’s basketball team played Bama in the mid-1970’s.
I was delighted when the commies won. .
Excellent article. Thanks for taking one for the team and reporting about the dark side.
I used think reading non-biased stuff was the way to go. To heck with that! Give me a homer’s perspective. After all, these are my minutes of my life that I should spend mostly with my cup half full!!
OK – I call bullshit. If Nick Saban had showed up instead of Chizik and rolled of two and a half consecutive regular seasons of wins, brought a national championship and a Heisman trophy to the Plains, the worship would be every bit as deep.
There’s no way that “wouldn’t fly” at Auburn. The reverse is equally true – if Chizik showed up here and won what Saban has, we’d all be a part of the “Bama Family”. What moves folks in this state is wins.
I’d agree that each program has had coaches that just never seemed to “fit”, regardless of record – Fran here and Bowden there – but if either had brought the level of success that Saban has… they’d have figured out a way to work.
If you hate Tuscaloosa and love Auburn, come up sometime when there’s no football going on. The towns are really similar in more ways than they’re dissimilar.
Otherwise, I dug the post. Nice thoughts.
I think what Foy means by seduced was the comment you made about your romantic involvement and the guy who “could” become your future father-in-law. Dude get out now. I’m sure she is a really sweet girl, but don’t do that to yourself. I’ve seen marriages ruined over these things. Yes, it is childish and stupid, but this is Alabama man!
that story was awesome, i couldn’t have explained my hatred for bammer any better than that. everytime i see some bammer post some stupid remark on facebook like… “and once again everyone in the SEC is chasing the mighty roll tide” i want to fire bomb their computer and their mantle picture of the bear. Especially since they are technically chasing us and lsu since we have 2 sec wins and they have one but that is beside the point. I hate all things crimpsun tahd. War Eagle and for this week only Go Gators!
I wouldn’t have been caught dead holding that pom pom dude, I don’t care how hot she is. Buck fama, Go Gators!
hate is a strong word.
If Al-Qaeda hijacked the UAT team plane…..I’d lose about 20 seconds of sleep.
Auburn Elvis says
That poster’s gonna be a collector’s item when Saban bolts for a school like Michigan, Penn State, or USC.
Scott Chocolate says
Ell, I call “bullshit” on you calling “bullshit”. Y’all were worshipping him when he got off the plane. If Tubs had won the NC in 2004 (and let’s just say Caddy or Ronnie Brown had won the Heisman instead of Carlos Rogers winning the Thorpe), he’s still wouldn’t have been worshipped like Saban is. I guarantee that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Van P in Illinois says
It’s very obvious why Auburn people hate Alabama (as in, team, coach, fans). But I’ve never understood why bama people hate Auburn (other than for occasionally beating them; but that’s true of many other SEC programs). No one’s ever sufficiently addressed that.
What I usually hear are just cheap and silly put-downs of AU.
Some things I actually like about Bama:
The Who in 73 (i think it was)
The Bama cheerleader that I “boned” (homecoming night on the 50 yd line in JH stadium.)
Can’t come up with anything else.
Ps-your writing style sort of echoes Hunter Thompson. Minus the “gonzo” part I mean. Same wit. Nice going.
They hate Auburn because in 1871 the republicans in the state legislature “stole” 240,000 acres of land under the Morrill Act and gave it Lee County. The democrats(Bama law grads) claim it should have been given to the University of Alabama.
Then in 1927, after a political fight, the state legislature approved an equal ratio of state education funding between API and UAT, and Montevallo. Then from 1930 through 1931, API received no funds from the state.
The rest is history. (It is all forgotten history to the unwashed masses of redneck bammers.)
Football is just one battlefied of an on-going conspiracy by the Bamers (Democrat graduates of the law school) to destroy a state university that will stand on equal footing as UAT.
I forgot the link.
Van P, I have often thought the exact same thing. Especially after reading stuff like this:
Peggy Rossmanith says
Let me preface this by saying that I love Auburn more than the probable character limit on this box will allow me to express. I grew up in Auburn and live in that town adjacent Auburn. I know exactly the mayor and daughter of which you speak. I love Auburn and I HATE Alabama.
That being said, I got my journalism degree from The University of Alabama. I attended games. I participated in cheers. I walked the Quad and went through the motions. I didn’t want to miss out on important experiences. A college football game day is supposed to be the same everywhere, right? Not even close.
While the mayor may feel a catch in his heart every time he hears the MDB strike up “Yea Alabama,” I just felt sick. Every game ticked by in exactly the same manner. It was all a process that I didn’t even care about. I went because it was what I was supposed to do. I thought I had lost my sports fanaticism until I came back to an Auburn game. Nova circled the stadium to a thundering “War Eagle Hey!” and I got those familiar chills (along with a little heartmist). I was home.
There is something different about their stadium during a game, something hostile. Whether it’s the booing or “Rammer Jammer” or spitting on opposing fans (Frat boys spit on me as I climbed to the top of the student section for the 2006 Iron Bowl. I proudly wore my orange. They did not approve), you don’t get the often-ridiculed sense of family you get at Jordan-Hare. I don’t feel the least bit attached to that football team, even with a diploma hanging on my wall. I hate it there, and I haven’t been back since I graduated. I loved the College of Communications and I loved my professors and friends, but west Alabama can have Tuscaloosa. I have no desire to ever go back.
To make my three-year collegiate journey story short, I agree with you. I hate Alabama and I don’t care why.
Enough said you are so jealous.
Great article. I really try NOT to hate them, but it is hard. Most of the 2000’s I was OK, I could give them a 10 win season here and there knowing it would be followed by a losing record. Now, it is really hard.
As for the question about Saban, I think the main difference is not that Auburn would not love him if he were here, or would have wanted him 2 years ago if he was looking to leave the Dolphins after Tubs left, but he would not get the complete support he gets at Alabama. Football is really the only thing the people over there care about, so they will go for whatever he asks. Auburn does not. I personally think that is a good thing (being that education should be the number 1 goal and all), but maybe that is something hardwired into me to deal with the reality of their machine.
Still, the main point is “great article.” I don’t know where the hatred comes from exactly. I cannot remember any specifics taunts as a child, and I have not really lived through years of Alabama dominance (I was born in 74, and don’t remember the 70’s as such). Heck, even last year we were one play from stopping all the maddness (man that is frusutrating, a loss in Auburn, and it is unlikely they make the title game even if they beat UF, and I think a loss with Ingram’s poor performance would have lost him the Heisman. We could have prevented all the pain of last year!). So I am not sure where it comes from, but it is certainly there!
Hey, where is your halo. You have some nerve talking about Alabama fans when you can tell you have a lot of satan in you. There are bad fans on both sides I KNOW. This story doesn’t tell the truth at all. If you had the choice of winning all the time or the so called family answer WINNING period.
To the lady that hates Alabama give the degree back. I am sure they don’t want you as a alumni if you don’t want to be. To the guy who degraded a girl from Alabama by talking about a boner, maybe she didn’t think you were to great either. You see their are bad people even in your so called family of fans.
I feel sorry for you and others that try to convince themselves that Auburn is something mystical and has more (insert choice of words here) than Alabama. Please don’t tell me I just don’t understand. I went to 2-3 Auburn games a year growing up. There are good and bad in both fanbases. There are great traditions (and fans) at both schools. Both have good academic programs in several areas. For every story about a classless Bama fan, I can match it. I don’t live in Alabama anymore but visited last year for the Iron Bowl. I was surprised at the hostility of “Auburn folk” and had a conversation with an Auburn man who thought it was appropriate to make comments to my 8 year old. Here’s a thought for you… Find a more worthy cause to put energy into than justifying why you hate something and try to enjoy the game of college football.
Justin / AubOrange says
Auburn Men are engineers, architects, veterinarians, and agriculturalists.
Alabama people are lawyers and economists.
Our type of people are the blue collar heroes that make up real America. Their kind is the scum that piggyback on the fringes of society.
Even though I’m a journalism major, I’d like to think that I have the same ingenuity and integrity, that I’m made from the same stuff, as those engineers. It’s about what kind of person you are at the core.
LOL @ how mad the Bama people got. Why you mad?
Also “give the degree back” is the apex of comedy. What an intellectual and throught-provoking commentary there.
Oh Wade. Sweet, daft Wade. You and the author are actually in complete agreement: there is no explaining it. That was one of several enjoyable themes of the piece. So sorry you missed it!
John, I get it. It’s possible for people to read a piece and have different opinions. What you found as “enjoyable themes” I found disturbing. That said, this doesn’t consume me or cause me to sit down and write an entire piece about it. Have a good one.
Thanks for that, Ben. Great read.
Um, dude, if you’re the same Wade who wrote the following…
“Find a more worthy cause to put energy into than justifying why you hate something and try to enjoy the game of college football.”
…then you do not, in fact, get it. If you can’t see how much he would agree with your assessment about what’s healthy and what’s not, then that’s really too bad. You’re missing out.
I am not mad. Why should I be. I just thought someone should point out to Auburn fans that they aren’t perfect. They have a bunch of stupid people like some in these comments. The lady that sounded off about Alabama shouldn’t have. Why go somewhere that you hate. The only reason I saw this stupid article was because I wanted to see Auburn schedule and see if they were ever going to be on the road instead of always playing at home. I shouldn’t have given it the time of day. I was shocked that all the Auburn fans claim they don’t talk bad about Alabama boy was that untrue, Bottom line is we hate yall as much as you hate us. Difference is we want to win yall say it’s all about family. Truth is you would kick you mother under the bus if you could possibly beat Alabama. And as for Saban if you could afford him you would try.
Great piece! Well written and insightful. The Auburn/ Alabama rivalry is the football version of Yin and Yang.
Thanks, maybe now you have insight. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
John, Agree my first note was more a response to comments vs. the article. Point taken. I enjoyed the artilce and could relate until the end. Along Ben’s journey he found many of the things he believed about Bama just weren’t true, like many Bama fan’s beliefs about Auburn. He realized he had bought the party line, and realized it may be ridiculous. Oddly though he ultimately prefers the myths vs. stone cold facts and chooses to embrace them for some strange reason. That’s the part I don’t get. 🙂
Van P in Illinois says
Welcome to all the new Bama readers of the War Eagle Reader! I’m sure Jeremy appreciates the extra site hits.
I appreciate the efforts with the history lesson, H-A, but I seriously doubt that 99% of bammers have a clue about that. Heck, I lived in Auburn for ten years, have two degrees and most of a History PhD from AU, and I didn’t.
My point was that AU people feel the way we do about bama because of the way they treat us and talk about us, as if we were lower than dirt and don’t deserve to breathe the same air as their exalted selves. We have never talked that way about them. Our criticisms of them come down to them being so boorish and classless towards AU. So, again– if we are what they say, and so far beneath their notice and concerns, then why do they waste their time hating us?
Not sure I’m making this clear. Maybe I’ll address it at more length in a future Wishbone column…
1.) Ben. Great writing. I can most always expect such when I go here or The Pigskin Pathos (plug!).
2.) Seriously, what is up with all of the bama fans on TWER? I can’t imagine anything that would drag me to read something on a site devoted to UA culture, much less comment on that site.
3.) Here is something I have struggled with lately. I have always pulled against alabama, no matter who they were playing, because I felt it was my duty as an Auburn fan and as a member of the greatest rivalry in sports. But now I have a beloved aunt who is in terrible health and frankly her last days and she is a lifelong, avid, bama fan. And I know that a bama win on Saturday will make her happy and a loss would break her heart. This is quite the emotional conundrum that I am forced to wrestle with every week.
3 reasons to dislike the ‘tide’
1. Most bammers couldn’t find tuscaloosa with a Lexus, gps & daddy’s visa.
2. Bammers, Nearly 50% of the population of AL, are into bondage, domination, submission and sadomasochism per Nicholas Satan.
3. Tuscaloosa, World’s Fattest Town, Makes & Consumes World’s Largest Mozzarella Stick per the Bham News.
Thanks for the kind words, those that offered them. (High five, AuburnAlum05. Many thanks.)
Double birds to all you Bama trolls.
I don’t think the experiences of being a UA or AU fan are necessarily quite as distinct as we sometimes make them out to be. The key for me, however, is the favorite/underdog question. I am 30 years old and see the rivalry as essentially being even over my lifetime (AU leads 16-14 actually).
And yet (as someone commented earlier) before Saban even gets off the plane he is being hailed as the Savior because, in part, he is going to restore UA to its rightful place as the big dog in the state.
Now while I agree that AU wouldn’t have been so quick with the worship, I will certainly admit that we’d at the very least tolerate a coach like Saban so long as he won. For me however, the notion that UA fans have some sort of birthright to the permanent upper hand in the rivalry is precisely what bothers me the most.
FWIW, I’m here because the writing it generally good, and I want to know what’s up with Auburn. I also follow blogs for all the other SEC teams. I thought this was well-written and entertaining, and I thought I’d leave a comment as such.
I still think the holier than thou crap about Saban is false – just as false as those Bama fans who deride the Auburn Family stuff. If it was on your side of the fence, you’d love it too. Winning cures most all concerns on both side of this particular fence.
I think there’s way too much ill-conceived hate in this rivalry. It’s OK to respect a rival – even if you want them to lose.
For instance, I can say that I think the eagle release at the start of home games is cool. There’s no shame in that. I think y’all have a pretty good fight song. Again, no shame. I don’t have to blindly hate in totality to root against you. It’s called being a reasonable, rational human being.
And, for what it’s worth:
“For me however, the notion that UA fans have some sort of birthright to the permanent upper hand in the rivalry is precisely what bothers me the most.”
I agree wholeheartedly. Yeah, I want to beat you guys. Yes, historically Alabama leads the series 40-33-1 over time (I have no idea whether that includes games we’ve vacated – your media guide probably has that number). But to pretend there’s some pre-ordained by our maker superiority is silly.
Anyway, I’ll leave you guys to it. This is one of the most reasonable and rational Auburn blogs out there – keep it up. We need more folks like that.
“We have an opponent in this state that we work every day, 365 days a year, to dominate.”
All I herd last year is about domination over AU for years to come. Yep they domainated us last year – only on the crossing routes (illegal pick) for the last 2 minutes. They look very beatable this year. War Eagle!
Double Birds. 🙂 I like that.
Quess what ,I was thinking the same thing. What does Auburn have other than their quarterback. Answer NOTHING!.
This new Bama-Croyle logic that Karen is parroting regarding Newton is confusing to me. I’m seeing it all over lately. If Auburn doesn’t have it’s most valuable player then the team is not as good. Brilliant analysis professor! Was this used after “Bo Over the Top” too? “If Bo wasn’t playing then we’d have beat you.” It’s silly!
Hey. why are you living in the past. You know as well as anyone does that without your quarterback it’s over. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
The comment was made to the one who said we looked beatable this year. He has to be blind.
Well said my friend! WAR EAGLE!
Enough said! ROLL TIDE!
Foy Onion says
Please stop feeding the troll!
It takes one to know one.