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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Iron Bowl

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
College football in the south is a religion.  The annual Iron Bowl (Alabama versus Auburn) is absolute fanaticism.  For non-southerners, I won't try to attempt to explain the ferocity and emotion that this game evokes from drawlers in Opelika and Montgomery and twangers from Tuscaloosa and Greenbow.  This one is deep in tradition and history, boasting some great players in this game - Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, Bo Jackson and Bill Newton to name a few.

What do you mean you've never heard of Bill Newton?  Yeah, me neither.  But like I said, lots of history with this game.  38 years ago in the Iron Bowl where Auburn was staring down the barrel of a sure defeat, Bill Newton, a walk-on linebacker for the Auburn Tigers, blocked two consecutive punts in the final six minutes of that 1972 game to defeat the #2 ranked team in the nation.  Both blocked punts were returned for touchdowns.  Final score:  Auburn 17, Alabama 16.  Allow me to use my vast math skills to tell you that the only offense produced by Auburn that day was a measly field goal.  Didn't matter.  They still got the W.

But that was 1972 and this is 2010.  Surely this Newton phenomenon only happens once in a blue moon - or a blue and orange moon I guess.  I had the pleasure of experiencing the 2010 version of the Iron Bowl in the company of Carol's family in the great state of Alabama during this past Thanksgiving weekend.  They're all huge Crimson Tide fans.  I can only think of one member of Carol's family that's an Auburn fan.  To ensure this rebel's safety, I won't divulge her name in this post.

Many Bama fans will tell you that if the University of Alabama loses every game of the season but beats the War Eagles of Auburn, it's still a successful season.  For those that watched the game, you can probably guess that the first half was all smiles.  The Tide was definitely rolling.  Who knew that the missed opportunities would come back to haunt them in such a big way.  The second half didn't go so well.  It's not every day that a Nick Saban led defense blows a 24 point lead.

I have a theory on the loss.  I saw an interview with Coach Saban.  He was talking about how all the players would go to some of the coaches or players' homes for a big Thanksgiving meal.  Shoot.  That's the problem right there.  The turkey tryptophan knocked out the players in the second half.  I saw how the Oregon head coach had his team wait until after their game against Arizona before dining on their Thanksgiving meal.  Just saying.  Next year Saban - no turkey for the players!

So here's Carol and her cousin Angela giving the "voodoo hands" to the television while Auburn has the ball.  It was a pretty funny sight watching the entire room wiggle their hands towards the TV like they're flicking boogers.  I think this jinxing tactic actually worked for a couple of plays.

The more voodoo hands, the better.  I believe in this particular instance, the hands caused a much needed sack on Auburn quarterback, Cam Newton.

With Alabama's starting quarterback and star wide receiver out for the last part of the game, things looked bleak in the fourth quarter.  Unfortunately, Cam Newton and his "play for pay" drama was too much for even the voodoo hands to overcome.  It was a somber mood following the Alabama loss.  Well, at least there were Thanksgiving leftovers and the accompanying tryptophan to knock us out of our misery after the game.  

So who could've predicted that 38 years later, another Newton phenomenon would occur in this most fabled of games?  I guess it was time for another blue and orange moon.  There's always next year.  Roll Tide!



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