I swear, if I see Saban Dubose-clapping again when something bad happens, I'm going to dropkick the first Auburn fan I see and clap like a madman at how technically sound I just did that, relative to dominating his jack-o-lantern!
The Iron Bowl. A stupid nickname I didn't use until I was 20-something. It's the Alabama/Auburn game to most residents in the state, no nickname needed. We don't play for a Big Brown Jug, we don't play for Paul Bunyan's Axe, and we don't play for Barbie Ferrari. We play for pride, we play for keeps, we play for 365 days of bragging rights. No more Legion Field these days; It's either Bryant-Denny in Tuscaloosa or Jordan-Hare (pronounced Jurdin-Herr...whatever) in Auburn now, and this year it's on the Plains. Y'all can argue all you want about Michigan/Ohio State being the biggest rivalry, but deep down you know it's not. Those are two different states, separated by different laws and customs. Here in Alabama, the Tide and Tigers abide by the same rules, live in the same cities, work in the same places. In other words, you can hate a guy if you live in Ann Arbor, Michigan and he lives in Columbus, Ohio; but you can really hate a guy if you live in Huntsville, Alabama and that same beautiful orchid! lives right across the sugar! street from you, works in the same place as you, drives the same car you do, hits on the same hottie in the neighborhood as you do, and flies that god-awful orange and blue flag every Saturday, messing up the Crimson mojo you already had with your flag. Not to mention the "5 in a row!" screensaver he programs on your computer when you roll to the bathroom, the smirks he's been giving you the past five years Auburn's had the upper hand, and that sad, sad mental state he always carries around with him because he doesn't know how to win gracefully. Why? 'Cuz Auburn has no history of winning, they equate Heisman winners to National Championships since they only have half of one they shared with Ohio State or Wisconsin or something back in 1638, and because they care more about what happens to Bama than their own cookies! team. TRUTH. Fans also tend to take on the personalities of their head coach, so we Bama fans are just now getting back to the feeling of what it takes to be a hardass, hard-working winner compared to Auburn fans being smug, big-eared jackasses the past 9 years or so.
Unfortunately, the odds are still in Auburn's favor this year. Brandon Cox, though extremely and sometimes hilariously pathetic on the gridiron, has made less mistakes as the year goes on compared to John Parker Wilson, apparently the only person of the Crimson Tide that can throw the ball forward, considering we haven't seen anyone else attempt a pass since week 1. Now I could go into position comparisons, talent level, coaching, gameplans, etc. But y'all know just as well as I do, on the way into the stadium the coaches might as well trash the playbook and come ready to throw down and be prepared for anything under the sky.
I am judging the outcome of this game by one tangible thing and one intangible thing:
The tangible---Auburn's running attack vs Alabama's rushing defense. If you've watched the Tide at all this year, no matter who the running back is, they have dragged our defenders for up to five yards each carry after the point of contact. If Billy the Broken Bones Boy was Auburn's tailback, I'm damn near 100% positive he could break a tackle and juke Marcus Carter on his way into the endzone. That doesn't bode well for us, considering Auburn has three tough runners in Tate, Lester, and Fannin. They will be running over folks a la Caddy and Ronnie of recent times. The one thing Tide fans need to wish for is that somehow, someway, Tommy Tuberville abandons the run early for trick plays and dink n dunk passes like Fulmer and Miles did. Had they kept Foster and Hester aimed directly at us, they would have killed our will and won easily. Tubbs seems to be a pretty simple guy, we'll see if he stays that simple. If not, hey, feel free to let Cox heave up some cherries for Rashad Johnson.
The intangible---the endless questions surrounding Alabama. How in the world is the Tide going to come out on Saturday? What in the world does Saban have them thinking? What is going on in JPW's head? Does Simeon plan on showing up tomorrow? Is Rolando McClain actually going to play? Now that Cardwell is playing right tackle, will JPW use the extra time to make good passes, or is he past the point of no return? If JPW fails miserably in the first half, will Saban's pride and stubborness take a hit, forcing him to play McElroy or (supposedly injured) Fanuzzi? Is DJ Mary Jane Hall going to play for his draft status, or will he disappear? Will Marcus Carter suprise us all and make a game-changing play? But most importantly---will the Bama boys come out pissed off, with fire in their veins, tired of the losing streak, with the ULM debacle and Siran Stacy's tragedy fresh in their minds?
We shall see, folks. We shall see. Nobody can predict this game, so I'm not going to try. Roll Tide Roll...let's hope Count Rugen isn't lurking in the stadium Saturday night.