First off, this is not what we affectionately call around here butt-hurtness. I am not so distraught over losing to Auburn that I feel it's better Bama not play them. The Iron Bowl has given college football three instant classics since 2008 and is a game that should be played every year.
It's not even about 2010 or 2013. Since Saban's arrival in 2007, Alabama is 4-3 against the Tigers, with three final scores totaling 127-14 ('09, '11, '12) and four games played to a near tie 91-100. ('07 '09, '10, '13).
|Year||Winner||Bama Score||Auburn Score|
In fact, this question isn't even an original one. "Should the Iron Bowl continue to be played?" has been asked many times over. The subject was even brought up when A&M and Missouri joined the conference. Yet, the game continued to be played, thanks in large part to Alabama. The problem is, this rivalry, though immensely important to the state, is no longer about football and has become unhealthy, for both sides.
The real question is "Can Alabama and Auburn continue to play and do so in an amicable fashion?" Can the game be about football, without all the other stuff that has nearly ruined it?
The Cam Newton saga and Updyke changed everything. What was once a friendly brother against brother rivalry has now turned bitter and full of actual hate. Auburn fans will never let Alabama fans live down that some idiot lunatic poisoned their trees and 'Bama fans remind Auburn fans daily that 2010 has an asterisk.
You have Alabama fans shooting other Alabama fans, Auburn scattering cremated remains on their field, tress are dying and pets heads are falling off! The rivalry has lost itself in a sea of crazy and I'm not sure it can ever come back.
What to do?
It is my opinion that the Iron Bowl should cease to exist as a yearly match-up. When my two and four year old can't get along, I place them in separate extended time-outs. This is what Alabama and Auburn fans desperately need; time away from each other. At some point in the future, when the two teams get to play each other, perhaps then the game can be enjoyable for both sides.
First- Move Tennessee to the West and place Auburn in the East.
This makes logical sense, no?
Tennessee-Alabama has more meaning, not to mention is far less violent. Sure, we may desecrate their rock from time to time but we would never bulldoze it.
Auburn-Georgia also have a healthier rivalry, not to mention is one of the oldest rivalries in all of college football. This game should always be played.
Second- Do away with cross divisional rivalries
This would make LSU fans happy. Moving Tennessee to the West and Auburn to the East keeps the most important rivalries to the conference intact and we'd hear less complaining from the Bayou Tigers.
That last part alone is worth it to me.
Third- Enact a nine game SEC schedule.
This is happening. In the next few years a nine game SEC schedule will be introduced and with it comes the eventual end to Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia.
Is the Iron Bowl really that important?