The 2013 Iron Bowl could be one of the best in recent history. This year’s edition of the Auburn vs Alabama game will be for all the marbles; literally. The winner of this game will clinch the SEC West and go on to play for the SEC Championship in Atlanta. The winner may very well also be in the BCS National Championship game with an SEC title. This is such an important game in the state of Alabama that diehard fans have already pulled their motorhomes and motor coaches into the parking area of Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. I think it is safe to say that this game is just a little bit different.
College Football in the State of Alabama
The last four BCS National Champions reside in the state of Alabama. The Crimson Tide have three and the Auburn Tigers have one. College football is life in the state of Alabama. Some may argue that Texas high school football is more popular in terms of pre collegiate ball but no one can argue against Alabama in terms of the college game. Nowhere else in the country do fans prepare 364 days out of the year for one game. On November 30th, 2013 at 3:30 pm est Jordan-Hare Stadium will be one of the loudest places in the United States.
Fans will have prepared, in the form of tailgating, over a full week. They will have mentally prepared 51 weeks as this is a chance at redemption for the Auburn Tigers. Almost all Auburn fans will tell you that last year was bad. Not bad; terrible. So much so the Auburn athletic department went out and snagged a new head coach. Yes, you read that correctly. Two years removed from winning the national championship the Auburn athletic department fired their head coach. Tell me one other state this would happen. You can’t.
Finding tickets to the Auburn vs Alabama game is not very easy. Some high paying donors have established a long relationship with the university and the athletic department to secure 50 yard line tickets. This can take several decades and over $100,000 in donations. Fans that have not donated money over the years may pay as much as $5,000 for a ticket. Fans that have waited their whole life to see an Auburn vs Alabama game will gladly pay this amount as football has always been a huge part of their life.
The SEC Championship
The Southeastern Conference has won the last seven BCS National Championships and the conference is 9-1 in the championship game. That one loss was LSU losing to their SEC foe Alabama. It is very hard to argue that the SEC is not the most dominant conference in college football. They have seven teams in the top 25 and the SEC West is loaded. Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU are all in the SEC West. Place any of these teams in the ACC or Big 10 and they would be in the running for the conference championship. Three of the four won’t even have a chance to play for the championship game in the SEC.
Admittedly, the SEC East has been weak over the last few years. In 2013, the SEC East will likely showcase Missouri in the championship game. While Missouri has had a good year they are not the type of team that most people would consider an SEC championship contender. When college football fans think about SEC championship teams they put them into the same category as national championship teams. Anyone reading this article will probably agree that Missouri would not fare very well in the BCS National Championship game.
Who Missouri will play in the 2013 SEC championship game will be why America is watching the Iron Bowl on Saturday. The entire state of Alabama would be watching if both teams were winless but the country is watching because it will determine the BCS National Championship. This game is sure to get huge ratings for CBS sports as the rivalry will be a storyline that gets repeated over and over.
Who Will Win?
It is very hard to pick against Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. This Alabama team may be one of his best teams ever. They rarely give up more than a single touchdown a game and they have a senior quarterback who has won two national championships. They are experienced and have the best coaching staff in the country. When you combine all of these factors it is going to take a minor miracle for Auburn to beat them. That said, the game is at Jordan-Hare Stadium and it is a rivalry game. I think it will be close in the second half but the Crimson Tide are just too good to lose to Auburn in 2013.
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