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Who is Alabama's Biggest Football Rival?

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Auburn? LSU? Tennessee? Ole Miss? Florida? Other? It's not as simple as you may think.

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Would it surprise you to know that in the long history of Crimson Tide football one of their biggest rivals was Georgia Tech? It used to be a heated discord in which contests were annual events until 1963 when Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd made a fateful decision to withdraw his team from the SEC. Many older Bama fans still hold animosity towards the Yellow Jackets and their legendary coach. Alabama has played Georgia Tech 52 times in school history. That is more meetings than the Tide has had with Florida (39), Kentucky (39), Arkansas (26), Penn State (15), or South Carolina (15). Bama leads the series 28-21-3, but the schools have not played since 1984.

Bama vs Georgia Tech

As time has passed and generations die off, feelings between the two schools have settled. Some new rivalries have emerged. Other longtime rivals grow stronger while others have cooled. With Nick Saban entering his tenth season at the Capstone, his reign can officially be classified as an era, and with it, evolves a new knowledge with each new experience.

It is strange to think that the United States fought Germany and Japan while allying with Russia in World War II. Today, those first two countries are among USA's closest allies while Russia is a cold war adversary. Times change quicker than we think.

While not on a global scale, college football has a similar situation. Thanks to conference hopping, realignments, and divisional schedules, certain teams play each other more often, creating new rivalries.

Now imagine if there was a sports-themed game show and a contestant was asked "Who is the Alabama Crimson Tide's rival?". The pat answer would likely be "Auburn." But does that answer still hold water?

Who is Alabama's biggest rival?

Tennessee Volunteers

All-time series: Alabama leads 53-37-8.
Current History: Bama has won nine straight.
Past History: These two teams first met in 1901 and played to a 6-6 tie. They have played every year since 1928 with the exception of an interruption by World War II in 1943. This year's game will be the 99th meeting on the gridiron between the two schools.
Tradition: It doesn't matter what day it is actually played on anymore. This game will always be known as the "Third Saturday in October". En route to the 1961 National Championship, Alabama destroyed the Vols 34-3. In the locker room after the game, an Alabama trainer handed out cigars to the Crimson Tide players creating one of the most famous traditions of this game.
Grudges: Many Tide fans still resent former Vols coach Phil Fulmer for secretly "snitching" to the NCAA over recruiting shenanigans. Vols fans are tired of getting beat by Bama every year. Jalen Hurd was 10 years old the last time Tennessee beat Bama. You know they just hate to see their former one-and-done head coach Lane Kiffin drawing up plays on the opposite side of the field.
Heat-o-meter: There is still a lot of anger from the Bama side. However, I am not so sure the Vols reciprocate on the same level. Something tells me the fans have resigned the fact that they are going to lose to the Tide every year while they rebuild and as long as Saban is there. It seems like the Vols are more focused on snapping the 10-game losing streak to Florida than the eight-game losing streak to Alabama.

AJ & Webb at Talladega

Auburn Tigers

All-time series: Alabama leads 44-35-1
Current History: Bama has won six of the last eight.
Past History: The first meeting was held in 1893 with Auburn beating Alabama in Birmingham 32–22. Due to petty politics, the two teams would not meet for over 40 years, only renewing the rivalry in 1948 when the State Legislature threatened to withhold funding. They have met every year since. This head-to-head record is a lot closer than some may have thought.
Tradition: For years, this game was played at Legion Field in Birmingham as a neutral site. The game became known as the "Iron Bowl" for the city of Birmingham's iron and steel production. The winner is presented the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Award at halftime of the winning team's basketball game with the losing school president signing the other school's fight song.
Grudges: Auburn complained that Birmingham was not a neutral site, feeling the location and citizens favored Bama. Most Alabama fans are still annoyed that $cam Newton was allowed to continue his amateur career despite his daddy selling him off to the highest bidder. There have been some flukey plays in recent games that have given the Tigers wins. And then some moron idiot imbecile went down to Toomer's Corner and poisoned their oak trees. Tide fans think of Auburn as their bratty little brother. Auburn fans think Bama fans are snobs. And around it goes.
Heat-o-meter: In 1972, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway sang "Where is the Love?" In 2016, I have to ask "Where is the Hate?" We live in a kinder and gentler world. Some Bama fans have close family members who are Auburn fans. Some of you have even (GASP!) MARRIED one! Even Capstone hero AJ McCarron got hitched to an Aubie! Some of you even get all riled up at the use of the word "hate". But it is just good ol' fashion fun. So lighten up. Regardless, if you live in Alabama this is a game you want to win because you're going to hear about it for the next 364 days.

CJ Mosley INT LSU Crystal Football

LSU Tigers

All-time series: Alabama leads 50-25-5.
Current History: Bama has won five straight.
Past History: The first meeting was 1895 with LSU winning 12-6. They have played every year since 1964 and twice in 2011. From 1981 to 1989, the visiting team took the win with one tie in Baton Rouge. Bear Bryant was 16-4 against the Tigers. #pwned
Tradition: This game has yet to gain a nickname but it sure seems to be called the "Game of the Century" a lot lately. Some have called it the "Saban Bowl" (whether coaching at LSU or Bama, Nick Saban has been on the winning side 11 out of 15 times). Although the two teams have played pretty regularly over the years, this feels like a new rivalry. In recent years, many of these match-ups have been epic battles with the winner in the driver's seat for the SEC title.
Grudges: Tide fans have jumped on the bandwagon of calling the Tigers fans "corndogs". Although it appears that that monicker originated from an Auburn fan. Bama fans detest their ridiculous overuse of "EAUX" for words that rhyme with "blow". Saban has been stealing a lot of players from the boot-shaped state. And then some moron idiot imbecile went down to Nawlins and thought it would be funny to lay his scrotum on the face of a passed out LSU fan's face in the middle of a Krystal restaurant.
Heat-o-meter: Although the Tide has had the upper hand on the Bayou Bengals record-wise, nobody from T-town has taken them lightly since Nick Saban whipped that program into shape back in 2000 and Les Miles took up the reins in 2005. With five straight defeats to Alabama, LSU fans want to get that monkey off their back in a bad way.

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THE OTHERS:

An argument could be made for other teams due to recent history. However, they don't come close to any of the above rivalries.

Opponent Won Lost Tied Percentage Streak First Meeting
Arkansas 19 7 0 0.731 Won 9 1962
Auburn 44 35 1 0.557 Won 2 1893
Florida 25 14 0 0.641 Won 5 1916
Georgia 38 25 4 0.603 Won 3 1895
LSU 50 25 5 0.667 Won 5 1895
Mississippi State 80 17 3 0.825 Won 8 1896
Ole Miss 51 10 2 0.836 Lost 2 1894
Tennessee 53 37 8 0.589 Won 9 1901
Texas A&M 6 2 0 0.750 Won 3 1942
Penn State 10 5 0 0.667 Won 2 1959

Arkansas Razorbacks: They play every year but it has been a one-sided affair since Saban's plane first landed at the Tuscaloosa airport. Razorbacks have only been in the SEC since 1992.
Mississippi St. Bulldogs: Is it really a rivalry when one team has won 82.5% of the series? Surprisingly, the Crimson Tide have played the Bulldogs more than any other team. This year's match-up will be the 101st meeting between the two schools on the gridiron. I assume the frequency is due to the proximity of the two campuses which are the closest of any two SEC members. Back in the olden days, when travel was difficult and expensive, it made sense to schedule a game with a team 80+ miles apart.
Ole Miss Rebels: One of the most lopsided records against Alabama belongs to the Rebs. Although God willed the Rebels to back-to-back wins and that does not make Tide fans happy.
Texas A&M Aggies: JFF to Evans Hail Mary jump ball bolsheviks aside, it is too soon to think the Aggies are a top rival.
Florida Gators: These two titans do not meet every year but when they do, it is always memorable. Alabama has won five straight since making Tebow cry.