97 Years To Go 125 Miles

You knew that there was going to be bad blood between these two schools when they first met on George Washington’s birthday in 1893, and couldn’t even agree on what season they were playing in!  Alabama counted it as a continuation of 1892, while Auburn looked at the calendar and maintained otherwise.

After Auburn complained about  the Tide’s use of trick formations during their 1906 and 1907 matchups, each stomped off in a huff for 41 years.  It took a resolution by the Alabama legislature to get them together once again in 1948, in a resumption of a rivalry that has continued unbroken since then.

Since the game proved to be an immediate hit with fans, and since at the time both schools had small venues and were located in relatively inaccessible towns, it was decided to play the contests at Birmingham’s Legion Field, the largest stadium in the state. This continued for 40 more years, until finally in 1989 Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium had eclipsed Legion Field’s capacity, and the Auburn “home” games in the odd-numbered years came home to where they belonged.  It proved to be a day to remember.

After the Auburn team staged their traditional “Tiger walk” to the stadium in a single file stroll through a cheering crowd of 20,000 students, Aubie’s boys then proceeded to top off the occasion by handing the previously unbeaten Crimson Tide a 30-20 whipping.  After the game, coach Pat Dye compared the afternoon to the tearing down of the Berlin wall:

”I’m sure that it must have resembled what went on the night the wall came down in Berlin,” Dye said. ”I mean, it was like they had been freed, and let out of bondage, just having this game at Auburn. I can’t imagine what it must have done to our players, and the effect it must have had on their emotion.”

It was only fitting that for the program cover, the great Phil Neel did the honors.

Click here buy a poster of this program cover.

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