Bama/AU series notes

The annual battle for braggin' rights takes place this weekend when the Alabama Crimson Tide (4-7, 2-5 SEC) travels across the state to face its arch-rival the Auburn Tigers (6-5, 4-3 SEC) this Saturday, Nov. 22 at Jordan-Hare Stadium on the Auburn campus.

Alabama is coming off a 27-3 loss to No. 3 LSU last weekend in Tuscaloosa, clinching its third losing season in the past seven years. Auburn dropped its third straight SEC game with a 26-7 loss to No. 7 Georgia (26-7) in Athens.

Neither team is ranked entering the game for just the seventh time in history and for just the third time since 1957. The last time Alabama and Auburn met as unranked teams was 1998, a 31-17 win by the Crimson Tide at Legion Field.

The 2003 season also marks the first time since 1996 that Alabama and Auburn both lost the week prior to the annual battle for bragging rights.

The Series

The Crimson Tide and Tigers square off for the 69th time this season, with Alabama holding a 38-28-1 series lead. The road team has won the last four meetings, including wins by Alabama here in Jordan-Hare Stadium in 1999 (28-17) and 2001 (31-7).

Road Tripping, Part IV

  • Alabama will depart for its game with Auburn on Friday, Nov. 21 via chartered bus.
  • The Crimson Tide will have a closed practice at the UA practice facility before leaving for the team headquarters in Montgomery, Ala.
  • The team will be housed at the Embassy Suites (300 Tallapoosa Street) prior to the Auburn game. The hotel number is (334) 239-5055.
  • The team will return to Tuscaloosa immediately after the game via chartered bus.

College Football's Greatest Rivalry

The Alabama-Auburn football game has been named the best college rivalry by Sports Illustrated On Campus.

SI On Campus writes: "There are rivals and there are "He Hate Me" rivals, bitter foes whose very identities are marked by there acrimony for each other. Sports Illustrated On Campus takes a look at this phenomenon and names the best college rivalries in this week's issue. What makes these rivalries so special is their ability to exhibit a distinctive sense of enmity that stretches beyond the finish of the game.

Here are the best college rivalries according to Sports Illustrated On Campus:

1. Alabama vs. Auburn
2. Duke vs. North Carolina
3. UCLA vs. USC
4. Army vs. Navy
5. Cal vs. Stanford
6. Harvard vs. Yale

Alabama vs. Auburn: "The best rivalry in the land, bar none, for the year-round passion it generates in Dixie. This rivalry is so heated that a local TV station decided no to interrupt the 2000 Iron Bowl for the results of the presidential election recount announcement."

In addition, SI On Campus ranks the Top 3 football rivalries and the Alabama-Auburn football game tops the list.

1. Alabama vs. Auburn
2. Michigan vs. Ohio State
3. Florida vs. Florida State

The Alabama-Auburn Series

The battle for bragging rights in the state of Alabama takes place this Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium, when the University of Alabama meets arch-rival Auburn University.
  • The 2003 game in Auburn is the 68th meeting between these two bitter rivals, with Alabama holding a 38-28-1 series lead.
  • The road team has won the last four meetings, with Alabama claiming two of those wins in 1999 and 2001. Prior to 1999, the Crimson Tide had fallen short in its first four trips to the Plains (1989, 1993, 1995 and 1997), but have won two straight on the Plains.
  • In all, Alabama has won eight of the last 13 meetings with the Tigers, dating back to 1990.
  • Alabama and Auburn first met in 1893 with the Tigers claiming a 32-22 win in Birmingham. The game was actually played Feb. 22, 1893 at Birmingham's Lakeview Park. The Tide earned its first series win in 1894, claiming an 18-0 victory over the Tigers.
  • Auburn built a 6-1 series lead after a four-game winning streak from 1895-1902, in which the Tigers outscored the Crimson Tide, 141-5.
  • Alabama answered the Tigers winning streak with a 3-1-1 mark over the next five meetings, ending with a 6-6 tie in 1907. The Crimson Tide posted victories in 1903 (18-6), 1905 (30-0) and 1906 (10-0), while Auburn won in 1904 (29-5). Following a 6-6 tie after the 1907 season, Alabama and Auburn would not play football again for 41 seasons. (See details later on why the series was halted).
  • When the series finally resumed in 1948, the Tide emerged as a 55-0 winner at Birmingham's Legion Field. After the Tigers eked out a 14-13 victory in 1949, Bama rebounded to win the next four meetings from 1950-53.
  • From 1950-53, Alabama and Auburn met a total of 11 times, with the Crimson Tide posting an 8-2-1 record against its cross-state rival. The next five years (1954-58) momentum swung to Auburn's side of the state as the Tigers put together a five-game winning streak, its longest in the series' 60-game history. Auburn posted easy wins over the Tide in 1954 (28-0), 1955 (26-0), 1956 (34-7) and 1957 (40-0) before "Mama called" and Paul Bryant took over the coaching reigns at Alabama.
  • After losing by an average of 30 points per game from 1954-57, the Tide lost by only six points (14-8) in Bryant's first meeting with the Tigers. If not for a fourth-quarter interception on the Tide's potential winning touchdown drive in 1958, Bryant's team may have pulled off the upset.
  • Following that narrow loss, Bryant directed Alabama to four straight wins over the Tigers (1959-62), outscoring its arch-rival, 85-0.
  • Alabama dominated the series from 1959-68, winning nine of 10 games, including five in a row from 1964-68. A 10-8 Auburn upset of Alabama during the 1963 season kept the Tide from reeling off 10 straight wins over its arch-rival. In 1963, reserve quarterback Mailon Kent came off the bench to lead Auburn to victory.
  • The Pat Sullivan-to-Terry Beasley combination proved costly to the Tide in 1969-70, snapping Alabama's five-game winning streak. In 1968, Auburn defeated Alabama 49-26, and followed with a 33-28 win in 1970. In 1969, Bama signal-caller Scott Hunter out-dueled Sullivan, but the Tiger star won the game. Hunter completed 30 of 55 passes for 469 yards in a losing effort for the Tide. Hunter's marks all remain in the Alabama record books as single-game records.
  • In 1970, Alabama halfback Johnny Musso carried the ball a school-record 42 times for 221 yards in a loss to the Tigers.
  • The following year, Sullivan brought his Heisman Trophy award to Legion Field, but lost to the Tide before a national television audience, 31-7. Musso, who came to the game on crutches with a sore big toe, ran the ball 31 times for 167 yards and two TDs as Alabama beat Auburn, 31-7. Musso was named Associated Press' National Back of the Week for his efforts against the Tigers. In 1972, Auburn got back on track with a stunning 17-16 win over the second-ranked Crimson Tide. Alabama outgained Auburn (the Tigers had only 57 yards of offense) in total offense and led 16-3 late in the game, when lightning struck not once, but twice. Bill Newton blocked two consecutive Gregg Gantt punts and David Langer scooped them both up and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns as Auburn pulled off the monumental upset.
  • Alabama got revenge in 1973, winning 35-0, and beginning a decade of domination over the Tigers. In addition to its 35-0 win over the Tigers, the UA defense limited Auburn to one first down.
  • The Crimson Tide would win the next nine games with Auburn, the longest winning streak in series history. Alabama won all nine games by an average of 16.5 points per game. Alabama also posted shutout wins in 1973 (35-0) and 1975 (28-0). The 1975 game marked the final Alabama-Auburn game for Tiger coaching legend Ralph "Shug" Jordan.
  • Bama's most narrow margin of victory was a 17-13 win in 1974. After four straight double-digit wins (1975-78), the Crimson Tide rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Auburn, 25-18, in 1979. Steadman Shealy's run with eight minutes left in the game, preserved Alabama's first undefeated regular-season since 1971.
  • The 1981 game will go down as the most memorable day in this state's sports history. Saturday, Nov. 28, 1981 Alabama defeated Auburn 28-17 to make legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant the winningest coach in major college football history. The Tide's fourth-quarter rally gave the "Bear" his 315th coaching victory moving him ahead of Amos Alonzo Stagg as the winningest coach in college football. The game also marked the first meeting between Coach Bryant and former assistant coach Pat Dye, the first-year Auburn coach.
  • Auburn ended Alabama's winning streak with a 23-23 win in 1982. Despite out-gaining the Tigers, Alabama lost to its arch-rival for the first time since 1972. AU freshman halfback Bo Jackson scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-and-goal form the Bama one. Jackson and Auburn made it two in a row the following year, 23-20. Jackson rushed for 258 yards and scored two touchdowns before heavy rains and the threat of a tornado hovered over Legion Field for the final quarter.
  • In 1984 and 1985, Alabama gained the upper-hand winning two games decided by field goals on the final play. In 1984, Auburn's Robert McGinty missed a 35-yarder in the final 30 seconds as Alabama upset Auburn, 17-15. The following year, Van Tiffin nailed a 52-yard field goal as time expired to give Alabama a dramatic 25-23 win. The lead changed hands four times in the final 15 minutes with Tiffin's field goal providing the winning margin.
  • Auburn won four straight games over Alabama from 1986-89, including a 30-20 decision in the first ever meeting at Jordan-Hare Stadium. AU's four-game winning streak was the school's longest since winning five in a row from 1954-58.
  • In Gene Stallings' first-year as head coach (1990), Alabama ended Auburn's run with a 16-7 win. The victory made Stallings the first coach to win his Alabama-Auburn debut since Harold "Red" Drew directed the Tide to a 55-0 rout in 1948, the first meeting between the two schools since 1907.
  • The 1992 game marked the final game for Auburn coach Pat Dye, who announced his retirement from coaching. The former assistant coach at Alabama under Paul Bryant, suffered his only career shutout (17-0) in the final game of his career.
  • In 1993, Auburn capped a perfect season with a 22-14 win over the Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Trailing 14-8 in the third quarter, Patrick Nix, subbing for the injured Stan White, completed a 35-yard TD pass on fourth-down, cutting Alabama's lead to 14-12 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Auburn won the game with 10 fourth-quarter points, including a 70-yard run by James Bostic with just over two minutes to play.
  • In 1994, Bama jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and held the Tigers on a fourth-down play in the final period to win 21-14. Three years ago (1995), Auburn won 31-27 at Jordan-Hare Stadium, as Alabama's fourth quarter drive ended on fourth down near the Tigers 20-yard line.
  • In 1996, Alabama defeated the Tigers in coach Gene Stallings final regular-season game as the Tide's head coach. The seven-year Tide mentor announced his retirement after the Tide's emotional 24-23 win over the Tigers. Freddie Kitchens' six-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Riddle with 32 seconds to play provided the winning margin.
  • In 1997, Alabama (4-6 record) team played its most inspired game of the season and if not for a third-down fumble in the final minute of the game would have pulled off the series' biggest upset since 1972. After the Ed Scissum fumble, Auburn moved into field goal range when Jaret Holmes nailed the game-winner giving the Tigers an 18-17 win and sending the home crowd into a frenzy. In 1998, Auburn, playing its most inspired game of the season, jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead over the Crimson Tide, but could not hold on to the lead. Alabama cut the deficit to 17-14 at halftime and cruised in the second half to a an easy 31-17 win. The 31 points scored by Alabama were the most in the series since the Tide scored a 34-18 win in 1980.
  • Alabama registered its first-ever win in Jordan Hare Stadium with 28-17 win to clinch the SEC Western Division title in 1999. Kindal Moorehead's sack, which resulted in a safety, ignited the Crimson Tide. Shaun Alexander rushed for over 100 yards in the final quarter and added three TDs for the Crimson Tide.
  • The 2000 game was played in Tuscaloosa for the first time since 1901 as Auburn posted a 9-0 win. Three Damon Duval field goals were all the scoring the two teams could muster on a cold, dreary day in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
  • It was the first shutout since 1992 when Alabama blanked Auburn, 17-0. It marked the Tigers first shutout of the Crimson Tide since a 10-0 win in 1987. In addition, the 2000 game marked the first time since 1960 that neither team scored a touchdown. Alabama posted a 3-0 win in that 1960 clash.
  • Alabama made its two in-a-row at Jordan-Hare Stadium with a 31-7 victory last season. Andrew Zow led the Crimson Tide offense in the air, while Ahmaad Galloway and Santonio Beard ran for more than 100 yards each in the Crimson Tide's most-lopsided win since a 48-21 victory at Legion Field in 1977. For his efforts, Zow was named the SEC Player of the Week.
  • Last year, Auburn built a 17-0 halftime lead en route to a 17-7 win in Tuscaloosa. QB Jason Campbell threw two TD passes in the win over Alabama.

More Series Lore

Just about everyone knows of the rich history and tradition associated with the Alabama-Auburn series, but some people may not be aware that the rivalry was discontinued for more than 40 years in the first half of the century. A few seemingly minor disagreements between the teams resulted in the series being cancelled in 1908. It was not resumed until the 1948 season.
  • Though there are myths about fighting and other violence necessitating a dismissal of the series, the truth is that only problems between the two teams emerged over the referee and per diem money for the players.
  • In winning the 1906 game, Alabama used and offensive formation that Auburn head coach Mike Donahue declared illegal. After Alabama implemented a similar formation in 1907, Auburn insisted that their next meeting be officiated by an umpire from outside the South. Alabama thought this request to be ludicrous, and that became the first matter of disagreement between the two schools.
  • The second conflict, which was over per diem, essentially amounted to $33. Each team was allowed 22 players on its roster. Auburn wanted each player to receive $3.50, while Alabama thought the amount should be only two dollars.
  • After arguing for several months over these two matters, the teams finally reached a compromise and decided not to play in 1908. By this point, however, their schedules had been set for the season, and neither team's opponents were willing to move. Alabama suggested playing the game after Thanksgiving, but Auburn's Board of Trustees would not allow them to play beyond the holiday,
  • Thus, the game was not played in 1908, and it was not placed on the schedule the following year. Attempts to revive the game in 1911, 1919, 1932 and 1944 all failed. Finally, in the spring of 1948, behind the initiative of Alabama President John Galilee, an agreement was reached to resume the series in Birmingham that fall.
  • Prior to the game, student body presidents Gilis Cammock of Alabama and Willie Johns of Auburn participated in a symbolic "burying of the hatchet" ceremony at Woodrow Wilson Park in Birmingham.
  • The two teams rekindled their rivalry at Legion Field on Dec. 4, 1948 and the two teams have played annually since then.

Tide-Tiger Fast Facts

  • Alabama and Auburn have never had losing records in the same season since the series renewed in 1948.
  • Alabama clinched its first losing season since 2000 and third in the last seven years with last week's 27-3 loss to No. 3 LSU in Tuscaloosa.
  • Auburn needs one more win this season to avoid its first losing mark since 1999.
  • There has been one close call over the years. In 1951, Alabama concluded the year with a 5-6 record, while Auburn was 5-5.
  • The Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 25-7 at Legion Field to deny AU of a winning record, but the Tigers did escape with a .500 ledger.
  • In the previous 67 meetings, Alabama has outscored Auburn, 1,304 to 1,101.
  • The average score of the Alabama-Auburn game is 19.5 to 16.4 in favor of the Crimson Tide.
  • The team leading at halftime has won 72.3 percent (49 of 67) of the games in this series.
  • Auburn has led at halftime in each of the last four seasons, winning in 2000 and 2002 in Tuscaloosa. In 1999, the Tigers led 14-6 at the half, but lost 28-17 after a 20-point fourth-quarter by the Crimson Tide. In 1998, the Tigers took a 17-14 lead into the dressing room, but lost 31-17.
  • The game has been tied at halftime seven times, with Alabama winning six of those games.
  • There have been 22 shutouts in the series, with Alabama winning 14 of those games, the most recent 17-0 in 1992. Auburn's last shutout was a 9-0 win in the 2000 finale in Tuscaloosa.
  • From 1958-62, Alabama shutout Auburn five years in a row.
  • The two teams have played five one-point games. Auburn is 4-1 (.800) in those games.
  • Alabama has not won back-to-back games since 1998-99.
  • Auburn has not won back-to-back games since 1988-89.
  • There have been four different winners in the Alabama-Auburn game in each of the last four years, the longest stretch without back-to-back wins since 1992-98, which at seven games is the longest in series history.
  • Former Alabama coach Paul W. Bryant posted a 19-6 (.760) record against Auburn in his 25-year career.
  • Bryant's 19 wins are as many as all the other Alabama coaches combined against the Tigers. Alabama is 19-22-1 (.464) against Auburn in non-Bryant coached games.
  • With a win Saturday, Alabama will join Georgia (1966, 1968 and 1970) and Florida (1995, 1997 and 1999) as the only teams to beat Auburn three consecutive times in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
  • Alabama beat both of Auburn's Heisman Trophy winners -- beating Pat Sullivan (1971) and Bo Jackson (1985). Sullivan lost to Alabama 31-7 in 1971, while Jackson lost 25-23 in 1985.
  • Alabama is 3-4 (.429) all-time against teams with Heisman Trophy winners.

Iron Bowl Rankings

For just the seventh time since the series was renewed in 1948, neither Alabama nor Auburn are ranked entering the season-ending game.
  • In addition, the 2003 season marks just the third time since 1957 that neither team is ranked.
  • The last time neither team was ranked was in 1998 with Alabama claiming a 31-17 win at Legion Field.
  • Alabama has won three of the previous six games when both teams were unranked, winning in 1948, 1951 and 1998.
  • Auburn's three wins came in 1949, 1956 and 1982.
  • Alabama (4-7) has its first losing record entering the Auburn game since 2000.
  • The Crimson Tide has not beaten the Tigers with a losing record since sophomore quarterback Mike Shula engineered a 17-15 upset of the Tigers at Legion Field in 1984, knocking Auburn out of the SEC Championship race and berth in the Sugar Bowl.
  • In that game, Rory Turner stopped Auburn fullback Brent Fullwood on a fourth-and-goal from the Bama one-yard line to preserve the win. The Tigers Robert McGinty missed a game-winning FG in the final seconds to preserve the Tide's two-point lead.
  • After the game when asked about the goal-line stand Turner's replay was simply "I just waxed the dude."
  • Alabama has been ranked 34 times entering the game. Bama is 24-10 (.706) in those previous 34 games.
  • Auburn has been ranked 22 times entering the Alabama game. The Tigers are 14-8 (.636) against Alabama when ranked in the Top 25.
  • The highest ranked team has posted a 35-10 (.778) record in the series since 1955.

Combined Losses is Record

Alabama and Auburn have combined for 12 losses this season, the most in the history of the rivalry. Alabama enters the annual battle for bragging rights with seven losses, its most since 2000. Auburn enters the game with five losses, its most since 1999. The previous high for most combined losses was 11 set in 1948, 1950 and 1998.

Tuberville vs. Alabama

Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville is 2-6 (.250) in his head coaching career against Alabama.
  • Tuberville is 2-2 (.500) against Alabama as head coach at Auburn.
  • He lost his Alabama-Auburn debut in 1999, suffering a 28-17 loss to the Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
  • He was 0-4 (.000) against the Crimson Tide while serving as head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels from 1995-98.
  • Tuberville was also 0-4 (.000) against Auburn while coaching at Ole Miss.
  • Overall, Tuberville is 3-8 (.273) in his career against Alabama.
  • He was an assistant to Larry Lacewell at Arkansas State when the Crimson Tide beat the Indians 34-7 in 1982.
  • As an assistant at Miami under Dennis Erickson, Tuberville split two meetings with Alabama. In the 1990 Sugar Bowl, Miami beat Alabama 33-25 to claim the national championship. In the 1993 Sugar Bowl, No. 2 Alabama beat No. 1 Miami 34-13 to win the national title.

Shula vs. Auburn

Alabama head coach Mike Shula will be making his Alabama-Auburn coaching debut this Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
  • As an Alabama player (1984-86), Shula was 2-1 (.667) against the Crimson Tide's arch-rival.
  • In 1984, Shula led a a 4-6 Alabama team to a 17-15 upset win over Auburn at Legion Field, knocking the Tigers out of the SEC Championship and berth in the Sugar Bowl.
  • In the 1985 classic, still regarded as the best Alabama-Auburn game, Shula led the Crimson Tide to game-winning field goal in the final 50 seconds to give the Tide a 25-23 win. Van Tiffin's 52-yard FG as time expired provided the winning margin.
  • The Crimson Tide lost a heartbreaker in 1986 as Lawyer Tillman's reverse in the final minutes gave the Tigers a 21-17 come-from-behind win in Shula's final regular-season game as the UA quarterback.
  • Alabama coach Mike Shula will be the fourth Alabama alum to play and coach against the Auburn Tigers.

Successful Debuts

Alabama head coach Mike Shula will make his Alabama-Auburn coaching debut this Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
  • Alabama head coaches are 6-9 (.400) in their first game against Auburn.
  • The winning coaches in their first Alabama-Auburn game includes W.B. Blount, Jack Leavenworth, JWH Pollard, Red Drew, Gene Stallings and Dennis Franchione.
  • Only Drew and Stallings won their first and last Alabama-Auburn game.
  • Shula is the fifth coach in the last seven years to make his Alabama-Auburn coaching debut.
  • Since 1997 the list includes DuBose (1997), Bill Oliver (1998), Tuberville (1999), Franchione (2001) and Shula (2003).
  • Shula becomes the third straight coach to make his Alabama-Auburn debut here at Jordan-Hare Stadium, joining Tuberville (1999) and Franchione (2001).
  • Former UA head coach Dennis Franchione became only the sixth coach in Alabama history to win his first Alabama-Auburn game when he beat the Tigers 31-7 here in Auburn in 2001.
  • In addition, Franchione became just the third Alabama coach to win his first Alabama-Auburn game since World War II as he joined Harold "Red" Drew (1948) and Gene Stallings (1990).
  • Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville lost his first Alabama-Auburn game, falling 28-17 here at Jordan Hare Stadium in 1999.
  • Auburn coaches have compiled a 6-8-1 (.433) record in their first Alabama game.
  • Auburn coaches have lost their last two Alabama-Auburn debuts and six of the last seven,dating back to 1948.
  • Former AU coach Terry Bowden (1993) is the only Auburn coach since World War II to beat Alabama in his first game.
  • Alabama and Auburn both made coaching debuts in 1997 (DuBose) and 1998 (Oliver) in this series. The last time coaches debuted in back-to-back seasons was Auburn's Ralph "Shug" Jordan in 1957 and Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant in 1958.

Family Tides

Three current Alabama players have had fathers, who have played in the annual Alabama-Auburn game.
  • Freshman QB Brodie Croyle's father, John, played for Alabama in 1971-73 and posted a 2-1 record against the Tigers. John Croyle had 10 tackles and two TFLs (-26) in his career against Auburn.
  • Sophomore tight end David Cavan's father, Pete, played in two Iron Bowl's in 1975 and 1977. The elder Cavan ran four times for four yards in those two games. He missed the 1976 game with a knee injury.
  • Junior wide receiver Lance Taylor's father, James, played against Auburn in 1973, 1974 and 1975. He had five carries for 35 yards and one TD in his career against the Tigers. His lone TD was an eight-yard run with 1:49 left in the game to give the Crimson Tide a 35-0 win.
  • The 1973 game was totally dominated by Alabama, who held Auburn to just one first down and less than 60 total yards.
  • Croyle and Taylor were teammates in the 1973 Iron Bowl, won by Alabama 35-0.

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