Maybe this year’s Iron Bowl will do the series justice
The Iron Bowl just isn’t the same as it was when I was younger. During the first decade of my life—and I was born in 1980—the Iron Bowl really had one of its greatest heyday. The games were almost always tight, and the games seemed to have some significance.
I don’t know if it had to do with the games being played in legendary Legion Field or not, but it just seemed to have a special atmosphere. The tickets were split right down the middle, 50-50. It probably didn’t hurt that “Bear” Bryant was still coaching at the beginning of the decade too.
You had plenty of memorable games during the 1980s. It all started in 1981, when Bear Bryant got his 315th win with a 28-17 decision over the Tigers. The very next year, Bo Jackson went over the top to break Alabama’s nine-game winning streak in the series.
Probably one of the forgotten games of the 1980s was Auburn’s 23-20 win over ‘Bama in 1983. The biggest story of that game was the fact that Jefferson County went under a tornado warning, and no one inside of Legion Field moved an inch. Even James Spann wouldn’t have interrupted the broadcast of that game. I do remember seeing a video clip of the game that had a meteorologist talking over the broadcast as Jackson scored a touchdown.
Then, you had “Wrong Way Bo” in 1984 when ‘Bama had a goal line stand to beat Auburn. The 1985 game is arguably the best game the two have played ever as Van Tiffin hit a 52-yard field goal as time expired to beat Auburn.
To finish out the decade, the Iron Bowl had its first game in Auburn—a move that forever changed the series. Auburn won that decision 30-20.
It’s a shame that the Alabama vs. Auburn game just doesn’t seem to have the same kind of excitement it used to have. There hasn’t been a classic game in the series since 1997. Ever since then, the games have been sloppy, and there just haven’t been any fantastic finishes.
I hope that changes this year. On paper, it appears like Alabama should blow out Auburn next week, but I don’t want it to happen like that. It would be nice to finally see another game that went right down to the wire or overtime, which would be uncharted territory for the Iron Bowl.
Even though the series hasn’t had that many good games lately, the series is still highly regarded. That speaks highly of just how important this game is to the state. Although Ohio State and Michigan might be regarded as the best rivalry in sports, there is no other rivalry that brings out the passion like the Iron Bowl does. In my opinion, that passion is what puts this game at the top of the list every year.