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Biggest All-Time College Football Rivalry

Wow, incredible come-from-behind win by Auburn over Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl. Check out this discussion of the game Auburn vs Alabama; Cam Newton and the Heisman.

Montage of Bama pictures from the 2006 Iron Bowl!
Montage of Bama pictures from the 2006 Iron Bowl!.
Thanks to Alabama Geographer for the photo.

There are many great college football rivalries. That's what Saturday's in the Fall are meant for. But, which is the biggest all-time NCAA college football rivalry? To determine that, you need to look at how important the game, and rivalry, are the fans of each team. And, no rivalry splits friend, neighbors, spouses; an entire state, at the seams, like the Alabama - Auburn rivalry.

Whether you are an Auburn Tiger or Alabama Crimson Tide fan can depend on a multitude of factors. Certainly if you live closer to one or the other school - that is an important factor. And the closer you are; the more likely you will be a fan of that school.

But, there are so many other factors. Maybe you had a family member attend one or the other school. Maybe you had a family member kicked out of one or the other school.

Maybe your family has a strong tradition of supporting one or the other. Maybe you just like Crimson or Burnt Orange.

cam newton
Cam Newton.
Thanks to IllegalShift at flickr.com for the picture.

There's just not telling why. The point is you do. And the problem is you may have other close friends or relatives that support the other team.

The intensity of the rivalry runs so deep that marriages, families, and friends may be momentarily separated on game days. Certainly separation is probably the best option during the Iron Bowl itself.

Final Score Orange sky for an auburn win
All taken at the the 2010 Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny stadium.
Thanks to dreamcatchme at flickr.com for the picture.

photo of first Alabama- Auburn game in 1893.
This photo is of the first Alabama - Auburn game in February 1893. You can see the intensity from the start of this great rivalry. It was written that after Auburn scored a 65 yard touchdown in that game "it required several minutes to clear the field." Thanks to Historic Photos of University of Alabama Football for this picture. You can purchase the book at:

In Alabama, football is a religion. Most Alabama youngsters eat, breathe, sleep, and dream football. And all real Alabamians either believe in the University of Alabama Crimson Tide or the Auburn University Tigers. Nothing else really matters.

Certainly not on Iron Bowl Saturday.

The Iron Bowl is the name given to the annual Auburn-Alabama game. It is always in late November and is the last regular season game for both teams. The victor (and its fans) win bragging rights over the loser (and its fans) for an entire (long) year.

Since Auburn and Alabama have traditionally been college football powers, the results of the Iron Bowl have often played a decisive role in determining who won the Southeastern Conference (SEC) football championship; and, since 1992, who represents the Western Division in the SEC Championship Game.

The history and rivalry in this game are so strong, that an Iron Bowl win can turn an otherwise lousy season into a not-so-bad one. And, a loss can work the opposite way.

Shot of Auburn War Eagle before 2007 Iron Bowl.
Shot of Auburn War Eagle before 2007 Iron Bowl.
Thanks to Alabama Geographer for the photo.

The history of the Iron Bowl goes all the way back to the first time Alabama and Auburn met on the gridiron. That first battle took place February 22, 1893 at Lakeview Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Auburn won that first match-up 32-22 in front of an estimated crowd of 2,000.

After the first few games, the rivalry was suspended for a number of years due to financial limitations.

Annual play resumed in 1948 with a humiliating 55-0 Crimson Tide trouncing of the Tigers. Since then, the series has seen everything. Shutouts, long win streaks for each team, and some of the best football coaching and playing -- ever.

Through the 2006 season, Alabama has won the most Iron Bowls, holding a 38-32-1 series advantage. Alabama win streaks include the years 1950-1953, 1959-1962, 1964-1968, and, 1973-1981. Auburn win streaks include the years 1954-1958, 1986-1989, and 2002-2006.

 Fireworks go off after Auburn's 2005 Iron Bowl victory over Alabama.
Fireworks go off after Auburn's 2005 Iron Bowl victory over Alabama.
Thanks Jason McCay at flickr.com for the picture.

By the way, Sports Illustrated ranked the Auburn - Alabama rivalry as the second biggest rivalry in the world of sports. It ranked behind only the Boston Red Sox - New York Yankees rivalry.

So, the most prestigious sports publication in the world agrees with us that Auburn - Alabama is the biggest all-time college football rivalry.

To read more about the Auburn-Alabama rivalry, and other great SEC football rivalries, check out Best All-Time SEC Football Rivalry Games.

One of our visitors from Big Ten country wrote a great article about the Ohio State vs Michigan Rivalry.

Other great sports rivalry pages are at:

Biggest All-Time College Football Rivalry
Biggest All-Time College Football Rivalry
Biggest All-Time College Football Rivalry

What do you think?

We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

How Many National Championships Does Alabama Have?  
I am an Alabama Crimson Tide Fan and I am told every day by an Auburn Fan that the Tide has claimed championship titles that simply are not true. He states …

Ohio State vs Michigan Rivalry 
I am an Ohio State fan and I have to say that I love your site. It gives good dispassionate (well, maybe not 100% dispassionate) insight into football …

Alabama vs Auburn is not a big rivalry in my opinion Not rated yet
My connotation of rivalry dictates that the two teams are generally equal and the game in question has far reaching consequences. The Iron Bowl historically …

Oklahoma versus Texas Rivalry  Not rated yet
Oklahoma and Texas are two teams where the fans/teams have a true dislike for each other. Played at a neutral site each year (Cotton Bowl). Stadium split …

OSU - Mich is top all-time college football rivalry Not rated yet
Dude, no. You out of your mind. How can THE greatest rivalry take a hiatus? Yeah, it was renewed about 3 years ago. I live in SEC country and i hear this …

Bama vs. Auburn......you crazy?????? Not rated yet
Are you that narrow minded????? Even the super Pro-SEC media would disagree with that one. It is well known throughout the world that the Michigan-Ohio …

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