An Iron Bowl rematch would make for a great holiday
By Hunter Ford
After witnessing two Auburn miracles to end the season, I’m hoping for one more; I want an Iron Bowl rematch.
While Auburn and Alabama have never played twice in the same football season, a rematch is not unprecedented in college football bowl games. We all know that Alabama and LSU had a round two in the 2011 BCS title game.
Does anyone remember the 1996 season? Florida State defeated Florida 24-21 in the annual grudge match between the Seminoles and Gators. The 1997 Sugar Bowl featured a rematch of those two teams for the national championship. And the Gators won decisively, 52-20.
The Alabama Crimson Tide is still alive this year, with a number four BCS ranking. For the Tide to get a rematch in the BCS title, it would take a loss by both number one Florida State and number two Ohio State. Unless Jameis Winston is residing in the Tallahassee Jail next Saturday (could happen) don’t bet on the Seminoles losing to Duke.
The most likely scenario for an Iron Bowl redo would be in the Sugar Bowl. If the top-ranked Seminoles and second-ranked Buckeyes hold serve, and Auburn wins the SEC Championship in Atlanta, the Sugar Bowl could elect to take Alabama as its at-large team. I’m told this scenario also requires unbeaten Northern Illinois to lose in the MAC title game to Bowling Green.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (the best newspaper name of all time) the Bowling Green Falcons, at 9-3, are capable and have a shot at upending the NI Huskies, who are undefeated against an unimpressive schedule.
In that scenario, the Sugar Bowl could still take an Auburn vs. Central Florida or Cincinnati match-up. I will bet you the TV money would flow in a lot faster if the Sugar Bowl Committee rolled the Tide into New Orleans. An Iron Bowl rematch would have to be a ratings bonanza. Who wants to watch Auburn vs. UCF or Cincinnati? Actually, I bet Auburn fans would rather play Phoenix Online in a Playstation tournament than to square up against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Bourbon Street.
Who would blame them? Escaping with a miracle finish this year suits them just fine. Why toss the dice one more time, when you can take your Iron Bowl to the bank until next year?
There’s also precedent for an all-SEC Sugar Bowl. The 1964 game, following the 1963 season, featured Alabama and Ole Miss, although the Tide and Rebels had not played in the regular season. Alabama won 12-7 in a game made famous by the suspension of Joe Namath.
So come on Auburn fans, y’all know if you pray hard enough you can make anything happen. Be sporting about it and pray for an Iron Bowl rematch. It’s the least you can do. One more little miracle! Have a heart. It’s the Giving Season. I feel like Gus “The Grinch” has stolen my Christmas. And I want it back.