That time again

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 21, 2002

Stewart on Auburn

By Andy Stewart / Selma Times – Journal

The 106 th meeting between Auburn and Georgia was true to form for the &uot;Oldest Rivalry in the South&uot;. The Georgia Bulldogs scored a touchdown with 1:25 left in the game to beat the Auburn Tigers, and secure a place in

the

S.E.C. Championship game in Atlanta. The catch, made by Georgia wide receiver Michael Johnson, will forever live in infamy for Auburn faithful. It was a heartbreaking game that Auburn coaches, players, and fans will always remember as one that got away. Armchair quarterbacking won’t do any good because the score (24-2 1) is all that counts. In 106 games, only two points separate these teams, Auburn leads in total score 1,588-1,586. That helps explain the closeness of this fierce rivalry.

Enough bellyaching, it’s Aubum-Alabama week. Right!

Forget about the election that after two weeks crowned Bob Riley as our Governor. It’s the outcome of the game being played between Auburn and Alabama that really matters to the residents of this great state. This game is like no other game in the country because of the emphasis that is put on it by the fans on both sides of the ball. You have two kinds of people in this state, Auburn fans (the good guys) and Alabama fans (the bad guys). It is something that all of us have to decide at some point in our lives. Are you for Auburn, or are you for Alabama’? I know there are still some people out there that say they don’t care, but eventually everyone takes a side. The only thing worse than these &uot;middle of the road&uot; people is the people who say that they are fans of Auburn or Alabama, but they cheer for the other team in every other game except the Iron Bowl. Please give me a break. That is not physically or emotionally possible for the true fan. I know I would rather eat a dirt sandwich than to cheer for the Tide. Here’s a real life example, one time when I was a little kid (about six years old) an older friend of mine Jim Kenan talked me into yelling &uot;Roll Tide&uot;. I didn’t like it much, and my daddy, a big Auburn fan, hated it. He heard me say it, and punished me for my youthful mistake by washing my mouth out with soap. I haven’t uttered those awful words since then, and as you might guess, I get a bad taste in my mouth every time I hear them spoken.

I must come clean Auburn fans, there is another very big reason that an Auburn victory is critical to my well being. My wife and I have mixed marriage. Yep, it’s true. Rebecca, is an Alabama graduate. Ya’ll think it’s no fun living in the same state with Crimson Tide fans. Try sharing the same house with one. She thinks it is really funny to dress our two daughters up in Alabama cheerleader outfits. I don’t think it’s funny at all; I think it’s child abuse. We’ve been dating or married for10 of these games so far, so I’m sure that we can make it through one more. It’s just a game. Right’?

It’s revenge game number four for the Auburn Tigers this week, and we are hoping to avenge an embarrassing 31-7 to Alabama last year. The Crimson Tide (9-2) are ranked 9th in the A.P. poll, and are coming off of five straight wins. Auburn, on the other hand, must put a devastating loss to Georgia and numerous injuries behind them. The Crimson Tide are listed as an early 10 point favorite in the annual slugfest that will take place in Tuscaloosa this Saturday. The Tigers are struggling, and Dennis (Fran is a girl’s name) has his team on a roll. So why am I picking the Tigers to win? We’ve never lost in Bryant Denny Stadium, that is why. In fact, they have never even scored on us there. Most close games come down to special teams and turnovers. The one weakness that the Tide has is special teams, and Auburn needs to win that facet of the game. Also, Auburn is no. 1 in the nation with 30 takeaways, with an eyepopping 19 interceptions. The underdog Tigers need to win the turnover battle, and use it as an equalizer in the game.

Payback will not be easy this year for the Auburn Tigers. Despite this, I’m traveling to Tuscaloosa believing we will win. War Damn Eagle.