The list of rivalries for the Auburn Tigers currently includes the ‘Iron Bowl’ with the Alabama Crimson Tide and the ‘Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry’ with the Georgia Bulldogs. But is there an opportunity for more rivalries when it comes to War Eagle? After all, rivalries are what make college athletics great.
Blake Toppmeyer of USA TODAY Sports examined eight rivalries that could flourish in the new SEC. For the Tigers, there are two opportunities for new rivalries. One was once an annual event until 2002 and the other could be fueled by a former coach.
We kick it off with an annual gridiron war that slowed 20 years ago.
Auburn-Florida: Orange and Blue War
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What Toppmeyer Says…
The Florida Panhandle houses plenty of Auburn fans, and this was once a sneaky good rivalry that got somewhat overshadowed by the Iron Bowl and Sunshine Showdown.
Even after the SEC split into divisions in 1992 – Florida went to the East, and Auburn entered the West – these teams continued to meet annually through 2002. However, the SEC eventually decreased from two designated interdivision rivals to one. Annual installments of AU-UF became a casualty.
After the league expanded to 14 teams, the rivalry became mostly a memory.
The fire should be rekindled once the teams meet more often after expansion produces a schedule reconfiguration. Their 2019 game – a sellout at The Swamp – showed an appetite remains for this rivalry.
Auburn-Tennessee: Hardwood Supremacy Showdown
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What Toppmeyer Says…
The Vols have no shortage of rivals, a list that includes Alabama, Florida, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Auburn belonged in the conversation, too, before the SEC’s shift into divisions in 1992 interrupted these teams from playing annually.
Bruce Pearl coaching Auburn basketball makes this a natural hoops rivalry, and the football rivalry would be enhanced by more frequent meetings.
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