tidbits, fragments, and ephemera 35: the Iron Bowl (and other rivalries)

tidbits, fragments, and ephemera is a sometimes substantial but not making any promises glimpse at some information and news related to Generation X in the Deep South.

Generation X grew up with some of the best college football rivalry games ever played. We watched them on big bulky TVs that might have petered out when the rabbit-ear antenna wasn’t positioned just right. Some of us saw them only in black and white, or listened to them on the radio with our granddads. A few lucky ducks actually got to go to the game. No matter whether the rival was in-state or just nearby, there was no way to anyone would miss out. And that’s especially true of the Iron Bowl in Alabama.

The Iron Bowl is well-known nationally as one of the most intense rivalries in all of sports, and GenXers experienced some of the best of those games. One of the most famous Iron Bowls is known simply by the phrase “Punt, Bama, Punt!” In 1972, #9 Auburn played #2 Alabama and won the game by a point (17-16) in a comeback that was made possible by blocking two punts.

Other memorable games were the 1982 “Bo over to the top” game and the first game ever played in Jordan Hare, in 1989. Among Bama fans’ best memories would be the 1985 game that was won by a Van Tiffen field goal.

Of course, the 1970s were still the heyday of Alabama’s Bear Bryant, who retired in 1983, and the early 1980s had Bo Jackson – considered by some to be the greatest athlete of all time – playing for the Tigers.

From 1970 to 1999, the Crimson Tide won 19 of the 30 games, and that included a winning streak that lasted from 1973 to 1981. Auburn has it own shorter four-game winning streak in the late 1980s. All but five of the games were played at Legion Field in Birmingham, and then an era ended: the last Iron Bowl at Legion Field was in 1998. Auburn hosted in 1999, and Bama began hosting their turn at Bryant-Denny in 2000.

Other rivalry games in the Deep South:

The Egg Bowl: Ole Miss vs Mississippi State

The South’s Oldest Rivalry: Auburn vs. Georgia

Alabama vs. Tennessee

Alabama vs. LSU

South Carolina vs. Georgia

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech



level:deepsouth is an online anthology about growing up Generation X in the Deep South during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. The anthology is open to submissions of creative nonfiction (essays, memoirs, and reviews), fiction, poetry, and images (photos and flyers), as well as to contributions for the lists.

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