One of the most intense rivalries in college football is the Iron Bowl. The Alabama-Auburn rivalry is the subject of today’s 99 Things. The Tigers and Crimson Tide have met a total of 86 times dating back to 1893. The Iron Bowl gets its name because of Birmingham’s historic role in the steel industry. The game was played almost exclusively in Birmingham up until the 1990s when the Iron Bowl was moved to college campuses. The schools moved away from Birmingham after their stadiums exceeded the capacity of Legion Stadium.
The two schools are located only 156 miles apart meaning their fans live amongst each other. Shortly after the rivalry began the two school schools took a 41 year hiatus. The series ended because of a $34 dispute in the game contract. The two schools would make attempts to renew the series for the next four decades but each attempt was failed. The president of Auburn and Alabama met in 1948 and agreed to renew the series in 1949.
The last 20 years of the rivalry have been split with each school winning 10 games. The last two decades have been filled with exciting matchups and heart breaking losses. One of the most iconic games in the history of college football is the Kick Six. The 2013 game occurred with Alabama being ranked first in the country and Auburn ranked fourth. The Crimson Tide and Tigers were tied late in the fourth quarter. A play occurred as time was expiring but Nick Saban argued for one additional second which he was granted. He chose to attempt a 57 yard field goal and the rest is history.
The most recent matchup required four overtimes before the Crimson Tide finally pulled out the victory. Auburn held a 10-0 lead at the end of the third quarter but Alabama managed to tie the game in the final quarter and force overtime. Auburn nearly won the game and likely would have won if Tank Bigsby had been able to stay in bounds (What If Tank Bigsby Stays In Bounds?). The Tigers quarterback, TJ Finley, was playing on one leg and struggled to move around the field. Auburn had their fair chance in overtime but failed to convert the two point conversion in the fourth overtime. Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young, completed a pass to John Metchie on the final play of the game to beat the Tigers and win the Iron Bowl.
The 2022 game will feature new faces as both programs had significant departures into the transfer portal and NFL draft. Auburn is expected to start Zach Calzada at quarterback. Calzada has experience beating Alabama as he helped lead Texas A&M over the Crimson Tide last fall. Alabama’s offense will have a new look after running back Jahmyr Gibbs and wide receiver Jermaine Burton transferred into the program. Both are expected to play significant roles in the offensive game plan. This year’s Iron Bowl will take place in Tuscaloosa where Auburn has not won since 2010.
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