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Five Games Left: Ranking the Hate

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People automatically assume that year in and year out that Auburn and Tennessee rank #1 and #2 respectively on the list of teams that Alabama fans (and presumably players and coaches) most want to beat. While this has been more or less true historically, I think the last few years have seen greater fluctuations in hate than have previously existed. With that in mind, I will rank the remaining five games in the order that winning them is important to me. Feel free to chime in with your own list in the comments.

1. Auburn: A mere two years ago, Auburn didn't hold their historical top spot. 2005 found me and the majority of Crimson Tide fans wanting to beat Tennessee more than Auburn. While I obviously want to beat Auburn every year, if I could only have one, I got the one I wanted in '05. Unsurprisingly, after losing five in a row to The Barn, they are #1 on my hate list once again. The normal Auburn hate has been ratcheted up lately with the incredibly absurd claim from Auburn that they should be undefeated at this point. They could very well be 4-3 at this point so I have to laugh at that asinine claim. I have to tip my hat to Tuberville and co. for getting the ship back on course, but they played like complete and total crap the first three weeks and "should be" undefeated about as much as Alabama at this point.

2. LSU: I'm sure there will be a time in the near future when LSU seizes the #1 spot, but they aren't there quite yet. If we weren't on an 0-5 run against Auburn, they probably would hold the #1 position. They've got a solid lock on #2 though courtesy of the complete douchebaggery of Les Miles. Miles' "f@#$ing Alabama" comment is definitely playing to the crowd, or at least the portion of the LSU fan base that now has an irrational hatred of Saban. The truth of the matter though is it is probably more reflective of the widely circulated idea that Miles is only winning because of Saban's recruiting, something I'm sure gets thoroughly under Miles' skin.

3. Mississippi State: C'mon, can you seriously stomach the thought of losing to Mississippi State two years in a row? It's something that's only happened on four occasions (three of which occurred pre-1960) and the two schools have played 91 times. On a personal note, the 2006 game against Mississippi State was the first time I ever saw the Tide lose in person so they are now the owners of a special brand of my disdain.

4. Tennessee: I'm pretty shocked that Tennessee has managed to slip to #4 this season, but there they are. It's probably less a function of them slipping as much as it is other schools giving us more reason to hate. Don't be alarmed folks, this situation is purely temporary.

5. Louisiana-Monroe: Can you actually hate Louisiana-Monroe? Not really, so they're here by default. They are easily the least hateable team on our schedule this year by a mile. "What about Western Carolina," you might be asking. I'm still holding a grudge against them for being the other team on the field when Brodie Croyle hurt his knee in 2004. Irrational? Absolutely...but that's what being a sports fan is all about.