Our weekly tailgating guide takes its show to the Iron Bowl for the second Thanksgiving in a row, a new location but the same old hate.
Take a look back at our Tuscaloosa Iron Bowl preview from last year to remind you what makes this game special:
The thing about this rivalry is the lack of geographical boundaries involved. Tide and Tigers live, work and worship side by side all across the state. They have every opportunity to get their hate on every other day of the year. But come Iron Bowl Saturday, it's still got to ratchet up somehow.
Auburn is a family town. Auburn games are a great place to take your kids, even given their practice of loosing a predatory bird in the stadium 20 minutes prior to kickoff. Just not this Auburn game, at least not until the little tykes can throw a decent right cross. The Loveliest Village on the Plains will, for one weekend, be transformed into the mouth of hell. (We mean this in a good way. Seriously. If you've never seen an Iron Bowl, pack up the leftovers tomorrow and hit the road.)
The Auburn-Alabama game lived for many years at the ostensibly neutral site of Birmingham's Legion Field, but we vastly prefer the heightened tensions of the home-and-home series. Make no mistake, Auburn takes its relatively newfound homefield advantage seriously. Very, very seriously:
"It is difficult, even impossible, for Auburn people in this generation to understand what Dec. 2, 1989, meant to Auburn people in that day," said Housel, the foremost historian on the subject. "And it's a good thing they don’t understand because that's what Dec. 2, 1989 was all about - so they wouldn’t have to understand, be forced to go to Birmingham, be forced to play your biggest game of the year on your opponent’s home field, be forced to go to a place where you weren’t really wanted. ..."These kids don’t know," he added. "Thank god they don’t know.”
Getting the Tide to actually come to Auburn for the first time was the Tigers' Berlin Wall.
Alabama, you may have noticed, is on a bit of a roll (sorry) this year, while Auburn's still stumbling through some of the growing pains of breaking in a new head coach. Auburn is a decided underdog in this fight, but if the battle is turned and the scoreboard goes the Tigers' way, there's only one thing to do postgame, and that's to run down to Toomer's Corner, the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue, and watch the rolling commence. It's a grandly goofy tradition and the finished product never fails to impress your inner freshman. (For those unwilling or unable to brave the postgame mob, there's always the Toomer's Corner webcam. They really did think of everything.
What To Wear.
More like what not to wear this week: See above warnings regarding the white-hot intensity of this rivalry. Wearing Alabama gear into Auburn is just asking for trouble. Wearing it into Jordan-Hare itself will more likely than not get you reported for public intoxication or fightin via text message, deservedly or not:
"I think the average fan can look at it and say, 'I now have an immediate voice to the people who make things happen on game day, and I can have an impact in a positive way on the environment," said Jeff Steele, Auburn's associate athletic director of facilities and operations.
Yes, Jeff. We're positive that's the train of thought at work here and that this system will not be hilariously abused.
• Buffalo Connection, 610 Shug Jordan Parkway. Eight different kinds of wings, opens at 10 a.m. on gameday.
• Momma Goldberg's, 500 W Magnolia Avenue and 217 E Thach Avenue. Hometown deli that one Auburn grad brags, "Has not changed since at least my freshman year. Same newspapers on the walls. Same slanted floors, busted pool table and the same music on the jukebox."
• Niffer's Place, 1151 Opelika Road. Grab some house-made potato chips and a burger to line your pregame stomach.
• War Eagle Supper Club, 2061 S College Street. Scary-looking little joint with an equally frightening website, but consistently recommended by undergrads and alums alike.
• 17-16, 156 E Magnolia Avenue. Thank Football Jesus for the newly relaxed beer laws in the state of Alabama and places that'll sell you high-gravity goodness on the cheap.
• Daylight Donuts, 1642 S College Street. The perfect orange-and-blue-sprinkled postgame snack.
What To Drink.
It takes some doing to get us to recommend a non-alcoholic drink in this space, but trust us: Stop in at Toomer's Drugs itself for fresh lemonade. According to our Auburn correspondent, "It is an assembly line on gameday, but a necessity. You realize God made that on the eighth day. It's in the New International Version, look it up."
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Thanks this week to Kenny Smith and Arlana Camagna.
Holly welcomes your adulation and veiled threats at nastinchka-at-yahoo, etc.