Nov. 27, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Just about everyone knows of the rich history and tradition associated with the Alabama-Auburn series, but some people may not be aware that the rivalry was discontinued for more than 40 years in the first half of the 20th century.
A few seemingly minor disagreements between the teams resulted in the series being cancelled in 1908. It was not resumed until the 1948 season. Though there are myths about fighting and other violence necessitating a dismissal of the series, the truth is that only problems between the two teams emerged over the referee and per diem money for the players.
In winning the 1906 game, Alabama used an offensive formation that Auburn head coach Mike Donahue declared illegal. After Alabama implemented a similar formation in 1907, Auburn insisted that their next meeting be officiated by an umpire from outside the South. Alabama thought this request to be ludicrous, and that became the first matter of disagreement between the two schools. The second conflict, which was over per diem, essentially amounted to $33. Each team was allowed 22 players on its roster. Auburn wanted each player to receive $3.50, while Alabama thought the amount should be only two dollars.
After arguing for several months over these two matters, the teams finally reached a compromise and decided not to play in 1908. By this point, however, their schedules had been set for the season, and neither team's opponents were willing to move. Alabama suggested playing the game after Thanksgiving, but Auburn's Board of Trustees would not allow them to play beyond the holiday. Thus, the game was not played in 1908, and it was not placed on the schedule the following year. Attempts to revive the game in 1911, 1919, 1932 and 1944 all failed.
Finally, in the spring of 1948, behind the initiative of Alabama President John Galilee, an agreement was reached to resume the series in Birmingham that fall. Prior to the game, student body presidents Gilis Cammock of Alabama and Willie Johns of Auburn participated in a symbolic "burying of the hatchet" ceremony at Woodrow Wilson Park in Birmingham. The two teams rekindled their rivalry at Legion Field on Dec. 4, 1948 and have played annually since then.
UA-AU WINNER GETS "FOY TROPHY”: On July 13, 1948, the two circles of Omicron Delta Kappa, national leadership honor society from the University of Alabama and Auburn University joined together to sponsor a trophy devoted to sportsmanship between the two universities. The ODK-James E. Foy V Sportsmanship Trophy is a tradition which symbolizes the good relationship between the two schools. Originally the trophy was displayed in Birmingham in Loveman's store window the week prior to the football game between the two universities. Then, in a parade preceding the game, the trophy would be carried in a convertible with the Omicron Delta Kappa presidents from each school on either side. The parade was stopped in the 1960s but the trophy has continued to be awarded every year. The trophy is now awarded to the winner at halftime of the Alabama-Auburn basketball game on their home court. The trophy remains in their care until next year's presentation takes place. In January 1978, the trophy was dedicated to Dean James E. Foy, V upon his retirement as the Dean of Student Affairs at Auburn University. He began serving in that position in 1950 after serving as Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Alabama.
THANKSGIVING WEEKEND: The Thanksgiving Day tradition began with the Crimson Tide football some 30 years later as the school played its eighth all-time game on Thanksgiving Day in 1893. Alabama’s first Thanksgiving Day game took place on Nov. 30, 1893 in Montgomery. Alabama lost to Auburn 40-16, in the second-ever meeting between the two schools. The two teams met against the following year on Thanksgiving Day with Alabama earning an 18-0 win. After a five-year layoff, Alabama resumed its Thanksgiving Day tradition in 1900 and continued annually for the next 35 years. During that span, Alabama won seven of nine games from 1919-27.The Crimson Tide’s first-ever game at Legion Field was played on Thanksgiving Day. Georgia beat Alabama, 20-6, on Nov. 24, 1927. The Tide played again on Thanksgiving Day in 1937 and 1938 before ending a long-standing tradition. Alabama has played on Thanksgiving Day only three times (1964, 1973 and 1992) on Thanksgiving Day since the 1930. Overall, Alabama is 28-12-2 in its 40 all-time Thanksgiving Day games. Alabama and Auburn will be playing on Thanksgiving weekend for just the 32nd time this season. The Crimson Tide is 18-13 in those 31 previous Thanksgiving weekend meetings, including a 3-1 record on Thanksgiving Day. The two teams have also met three times (1974, 1987 and 1988) on the Friday after Thanksgiving, with Auburn winning two of those three games. Alabama owns a 14-10 lead in games played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. History will be made this season as Alabama will host its first Iron Bowl game in Tuscaloosa on Thanksgiving weekend. This year’s Auburn game will also mark just the second time ever the Tide has hosted a football game in Tuscaloosa on Thanksgiving weekend. In 1915, Alabama beat Mississippi, 53-0, in the only Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25) game in campus history.
IRON BOWL RANKINGS: For the 25th time since 1980 at least one team has been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 entering the annual Iron Bowl. Neither team was ranked in 1982, 1998 and 2003. Alabama is No. 1 in the current AP poll and is ranked entering the Iron Bowl for the 35th time in history. The Crimson Tide is 24-10 against the Tigers when ranked in AP poll. Auburn has been ranked a total of 26 times in Iron Bowl history and has compiled an 18-8 record when ranked in the AP Top 25. The highest ranked team owns a 39-10 record in the series since 1955.
TELEVISED GAMES: The 2008 Alabama-Auburn game will be the 34th televised game in the series, dating back to the very first televised game in 1964. Alabama owns a 17-16 record in the previous 33 TV games. The Alabama-Auburn game is being televised for the 15th consecutive year and for the 27th time in the last 29 years. CBS Sports will televise its 10th Iron Bowl this season from Tuscaloosa.
IRON BOWL CITIES: The Alabama-Auburn football rivalry has had only four homes in its 73-year existence, including Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Auburn. The city of Birmingham, the state's largest city, has served as host for the annual showdown 53 times, including every year from 1904-88. The Alabama-Auburn game has been played nine times in Auburn, six times in Tuscaloosa and four times in Montgomery. The first meeting in Montgomery took place during the 1893 season, with Auburn winning 40-16. The two teams last played in the state capital in 1903, with the Tide claiming an 18-6 victory.
IRON BOWL STADIA: The Iron Bowl has been played in nine different stadia across the state of Alabama. The teams met 53 times in the city of Birmingham and those games were contested in four different stadia including Lakeview Park, West End Park, Birmingham Fairgrounds and Legion Field. The game has been played at two different stadia in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. The game was played at Montgomery’s Riverside Park from 1894-1900 and Highland Park in 1903. The game has been played eight times on the Auburn campus, all at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The UA campus has hosted the event six times, including the UA Quad in 1895 and 1901 and Bryant-Denny Stadium since the 2000 season.
UA PLAYER NOTES VERSUS AUBURN: Here is how some of the Tide players have fared in their careers against the Auburn Tigers … Junior running back Glen Coffee had 20 rushing attempts for 60 yards in last year’s game at Auburn … Junior linebacker Prince Hall recorded five tackles and one TFL (-3) last season … Junior punter P.J. Fitzgerald has averaged 39 yards on 10 punts in his two-game career against the Tigers … In 2006, Fitzgerald punted four times for a 43-yard average, including a 53-yard punt … Sophomore cornerback Kareem Jackson had four tackles and one pass break-up in last year’s game … Seniors safety Rashad Johnson had five tackles and one pass break-up last year … Senior tight end Travis McCall has at least one reception in all three career games against the Tigers … He has three catches for 32 yards and one TD … He had a 13-yard TD catch in 2006 that gave Alabama a 15-14 third-quarter lead … Sophomore linebacker Rolando McClain had a career-best 15 tackles (8 solos) in last year’s game at Auburn … He also added a 23-yard interception return in the game … Senior receiver Nikita Stover is UA’s active leading receiver against the Tigers with seven catches for 126 yards (18 yards per catch) and one TD … He had his best game in an Alabama uniform against the Tigers in 2006 as he caught five passes for 101 yards (20.2 yards per catch), including a 52-yard TD catch in the second quarter that cut the Auburn lead to 14-9 at halftime … Junior running back Roy Upchurch is averaging 5.1 yards per carry in his career against the Tigers … Senior tight end Nick Walker is UA’s second-leading receiver against the Tigers with four catches for 65 yards (16.2 yards per catch) … He had two receptions in 2005 (38 yards) and two catches last year (27 yards) … Junior defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington had three tackles and one TFL (-9 yards) in last year’s game … Senior quarterback John Parker Wilson has completed 33-of-63 (.524) passes for 413 yards with two TDs and two interceptions in three games against the Tigers … He completed 18-of-23 passes for 252 yards and two TDs in a 22-14 loss to AU in 2006 … He also has career rushing attempts for 23 yards and two TDs against Auburn, scoring rushing TDs in both 2005 and 2007 on the Plains.