In the heart of dixie, the Iron Bowl rivalry exists 365 days a year and is arguably the biggest in college football dating back to February 22, 1893. Auburn and Alabama fans interact with each other daily, bringing the rivalry to life every day. Even though the Iron Bowl rivalry is year-round, there is one day, gameday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when the rivalry dominates the South.

Auburn and Alabama played for the first time at Birmingham’s Lakeview Park on February 22, 1893. Two thousand fans attended the game and witnessed the beginning of the nation’s fiercest rivalry, where Auburn defeated Alabama. (War Eagle!) 

An Auburn Athletics historical article states, “Alabama includes the loss as the last game of the 1892 season while Auburn puts the victory as the first game of the 1893 season, the first of many disputes that make the rivalry more than just a football game.” 

Auburn and Alabama played for the twelfth time in 1907 before taking a 41-year break due to disagreements over both teams’ officiating and expenses. Auburn and Alabama could not agree on how much each player should be rewarded for the game in Birmingham. In addition, both teams could not agree on what part of the country the referees should come from. Auburn wanted a northern referee, and Alabama wanted a southern referee to officiate the game.  

The fans longed for the football game to resume; however, the leadership of both schools disregarded the idea because “football would tend to become the all-the-topic of both institutions,” said Auburn President Dr. Spright Dowell in 1923. The conversation continued, and in 1944, the Alabama Board of Trustees said the game would “result in an accelerated over-emphasis of football in the state.” The rivalry resumed on December 4, 1948, at Birmingham’s Legion Field after the Alabama House of Representatives wrote a resolution to both schools, encouraging them to agree. The first Iron Bowl in 41 years ended in Alabama defeating Auburn 55-0. 

Alabama’s record from 1960-81 against the Tigers was 18-4, making these years Alabama’s best. Auburn hit a winning streak against Alabama from 2002-7 when they won six Iron Bowl games in a row. 

For Tigers fans, one of the most memorable Iron Bowl games was in 1972, known as the Punt Bama Punt game. 8-1 was the record for the Auburn Tigers, heading into the Iron Bowl on December 2 that year. In the press conference leading up to the game, Alabama coach Bear Bryant stated, “I’d rather beat that cow college than beat Texas 10 times.” Alabama was scheduled to play Texas in the Cotton Bowl in January 1973. Alabama was undefeated and ranked second in the nation going into the game and had a 16-0 lead by the fourth quarter. Auburn made a field goal, then blocked two punts, returned for two touchdowns, and ended up winning 17-16. After the game, Bryant said he regretted his “cow college” comment, but Auburn students loved it and proudly owned being a cow college, which is why the term stuck around. 

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Alabama dominated the rivalry for the next few years until 1986, when Auburn won 21-17. 

On December 2, 1989, for the first time, Alabama came to Auburn. Alabama had an incredible season during 1989, entering Jordan-Hare Stadium as the number two team with a 10-0 record. However, Auburn is a spirit that is not afraid and won the game 30-20, destroying Alabama’s national title hopes.  

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In 2000, Auburn traveled to Tuscaloosa for the first time since 1901 and played in Bryant-Denny Stadium for the first time. Auburn won 9-0, claimed the SEC Western Division title, and played in the SEC Championship game. 

In 2010, inside Bryant Denny Stadium, Alabama led 24-0 at the half before the game ended in a Tigers victory, 28-27. This game was the biggest comeback in Auburn’s history and propelled Auburn to win the National Championship that season.  

The “Kick Six” game in 2013 is another memorable game for Auburn fans. Chris Davis scored the winning touchdown with one second left following an Alabama missed field goal. The Tigers played in the SEC Championship game that year.  


Iron Bowl Fun Facts: 

  • The Iron Bowl name came from the steel industry's impact in Birmingham, where the game was played for years. 
  • Auburn and Alabama have never had losing records in the same season. 
  • The first overtime game in the series occurred in 2021. 
  • There have been 24 shutouts in the rivalry. Alabama has won 16 of those games. 
  • There have been six, one-point games in the history, and Auburn has won five.