Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I believe in Auburn and love it

Not only does this week mark another great American holiday, Thanksgiving, but it is the week of the Iron Bowl.  Living in Alabama, Thanksgiving tends to get overlooked.  Families turn on each other.  Brothers are enemies.  Friends become strangers.  Houses are divided.  Yep, nothing like the good ol' Iron Bowl to bring out the school spirit in people. 

I was asked today if (under any circumstance...including if it benefits Auburn) I would ever cheer for Alabama.  My answer was...always will be...and will never stray from "no".  For some reason that was shocking and somehow I should explain my answer.  With all of the "tolerance" in the world, do I really have to define/explain/defend why I stand firmly behind my decision to support my alma mater by cheering against its biggest rival?  I don't think so, but if that leaves you unsatisfied, please read the story below.  I received the below story from the Tiger Rags store, where I am a member of their email newsletters.  I plan on posting a couple of more Tiger Rags emails over the next couple of days.  It's funny how history can repeat itself.

In 1971, Coach Shug Jordan’s Auburn football team had a 9-1 season that ended with a 31-7 loss at the hands of Alabama at Legion Field in Birmingham. The next year, Auburn lost 13 players to graduation and the NFL (including the Sullivan-to-Beasley combination), so most experts didn’t expect much from the Tigers in 1972. Aside from a hiccup against LSU in Baton Rouge, the Tigers roared through the 1972 schedule and were 8-1 heading into the annual meeting with Alabama on December 2nd.

Prior to the game, Alabama coach Bear Bryant was quoted saying “I’d rather beat that cow college than beat Texas 10 times.” (Alabama was playing Texas in the Cotton Bowl in January). Presumably, Coach Bryant referred to Auburn as the “cow college” based on its agricultural background.

Alabama was undefeated and ranked #2 in the nation coming into the game and raced out to a 16-0 lead by the 4th quarter. Auburn placekicker Gardner Jett put a field goal on the board midway through the final frame and left the game in the hands of a capable defense from that point on. A Tiger walk-on, Bill Newton, and defensive back David Langner stole the show from that point forward. Newton blocked two Alabama punts that were scooped up by David Langner. He ran both blocked punts in for Auburn touchdowns to give the Tigers a 17-16 victory over the mighty, and heavily favored, Alabama Crimson Tide in a game now known, as Punt Bama Punt.

After the game, Coach Bryant regretted his comment and said he would never refer to Auburn as a cow college ever again. (We're not sure why his faithful followers haven't followed his lead.)

The 1972 Auburn football team is often referred to as “The Amazins” after their impressive season that included a 24-3 victory over Colorado in the Gator Bowl in December.

-from Tiger Rags email

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