With the University of Alabama being handed it’s punishment of three years’ probation and vacating wins from the 2005 – 2007 seasons last week for the mismanagement of their textbook program, the reality sat in that Alabama Football is in the Intensive Care Unit listed as critical but stable condition. As die hard Auburn fans, we love to hate on Alabama, but what would life be like if Alabama football was irrelevant? What if Auburn didn’t end the season with the Iron Bowl? Let’s take a look and see what that cosmic world might look like.
With the University of Alabama being placed on probation, yet again, Alabama cannot afford to find itself in front of the NCAA Infractions Committee for a major violation in this probationary period. There is no more room for error. If for some reason, there is any truth to some of the rumors that seem to be floating around, I believe that Alabama will push the NCAA into a corner which it cannot back itself out of. I do not believe that the NCAA wants to ever hand out the death penalty and destroy a program like it did to SMU, but I also believe it will have no choice but to do so if Alabama finds itself in major trouble again. If the NCAA was forced to shut down Alabama football, it could return to past glory, but it is more likely to flounder like a fish out of water desperately trying to flop out of the boat.
As an Auburn Fan, I have very mixed reactions to this if it was to ever happen. It would be completely strange to go a year without playing Alabama in football. Who would Auburn end the season with? Louisiana-Monroe would be a terrible way to end the season. I really enjoy the Iron Bowl being the last game of the year, especially when Auburn wins. This rivalry, as popular as it is nationally, is still vastly underrated by most of the nation if you look at where it stands in various rivalry polls. I cannot imagine having some other foe to truly hate and root against. Admit it fellow Auburn fans, every team that beats Alabama gives you joy. It is the middle of June right now and the rivalry is still as hot as ever if you listen to various radio shows in Alabama. It truly is a 365 day rivalry. If Alabama football was dead, then Auburn would become the main event in football for the foreseeable future. I would enjoy that aspect, even if Auburn football had to compete with the NASCAR Talladega Race as the main fall sporting event in Alabama, given the lack of choices for the Alabama fans. I would imagine most Alabama fans would become quite bitter and probably hate Auburn even more, therefore keeping the rivalry well and alive, but it just wouldn’t be a competitive rivalry.
Who would Auburn hate if it didn’t have Alabama to hate? The answer would still probably be Alabama, but I imagine that the University of Georgia would garner a little bit more attention for the Auburn fans that are Alabama residents. As for myself, living in Georgia and working less than an hour away from Athens, I have already attained a hatred of UGA. The fact that the Auburn-Georgia game is the oldest rivalry in South and has a lot of history among the two schools makes UGA a logical choice for new main rival, but it could never become what the Alabama game means for so many.
To answer the ultimate question as to whether Auburn needs Alabama, I will reluctantly say yes. It just wouldn’t be any fun if Alabama was no longer competitive. If you think that this time of the year is dead, can you imagine what it would be like without the in-state rivalry? If, and I mean a huge if, Alabama is cheating, I hope that they pay a price for it, but death is not the price that I would wish upon them or anyone else.
I apologize for the long delay between posts, and I hope to have some more enjoyable additions to the blog in the near future. Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to share with others.