Looking for Lifetime Bragging Rights

Courtney Taylor talks about the importance of the Iron Bowl.

Auburn, Ala.--The challenge is on this week. It's on the Auburn players to rebound from the loss to Georgia. It's on the entire team to back up all of the ‘Fear the Thumb' banter. It's on the in-state players to have bragging rights for the next 365 days. For the in-state seniors like Courtney Taylor, the goal is to earn bragging rights for a lifetime by beating Alabama every time in their entire careers.

"I think that would mean a lot to me," Taylor says. "Just to say I went undefeated against Alabama, that'll be something I'm pretty sure a lot of guys can't say. That'll be an accomplishment in my career.

"The area I'm from," the Carrolton native adds, "you probably see one or two Auburn people every 40 miles. That's Alabama country. I've got to go straight through Tuscaloosa to get home."

Taylor is 3-0 in games he has played against the Crimson Tide and 4-0 since joining the Auburn program, which includes a victory during his redshirt season in 2002.

Now with the fear the thumb talk that has hovered over Alabama for the last 51 weeks, it's just more inspiration for the Tide to play it's best game on Saturday.

"Those guys are going to be fired up anyway," Taylor notes. "The fear the thumb deal, that's just going to add to the fire. We know that we've got to get ourselves prepared. We know every year that we're in for a war with these guys. It doesn't matter anybody's record, we're going to get their best shot and we're going to give them our best."

Taylor says he is friends with Ramzee Robinson, #1, and defensive back Simeon Castille.

None of the current Auburn players were in the program the last time the Tigers lost to the Tide. However, for the in-state players it's not difficult to recall the bungle at the Jungle in 2001.

"I was here, what was it, 31-7 I was in the student section," Taylor explains. "It was crazy. I remember Bama came out and they were jumping around in the middle of the field, if I'm not mistaken. The atmosphere was crazy, and every year it's the same way with this game. That year they really came out and took it to Auburn. Weren't they underdogs that game?

"I said to myself I'm going to come in and help these guys win them all the next four or five years," he adds.

Having played through Iron Bowls, Taylor says that the players have a different prospective of the game than the fans do.

"From the time I had any understanding about football, understanding the sport and the game, that's all I knew was the Auburn/Alabama game," he notes.

"You hear it quite often," Taylor says about the importance of winning the game. "I think it's more of a fan deal than anything. I don't care who we play against, I don't want to lose to them. I don't care who it is, but our fans take a lot of pride in this game and we want to give them that opportunity to have the pride for another year."

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