Decided to try something different for this week's youtube montage, and I promise it will all make sense when I get to the end. These are games from my own personal memory -- which runs from roughly the late '80s until now. And I'm showing them to you in reverse. Like I said, it will make more sense when we get there.
First, our last moment of joy in this series.
Before that, there was the first win at Jordan-Hare, or the night Shaun Alexander and 'Bama's offensive line took over the fourth quarter.
Like a smart person, I stayed away from Toomer's Corner that night. I'm not an idiot.
One of the weirdest nights in series history was the '98 game, weird for me because a) I'd scored a ticket that morning from a friend at church; b) I had to meet my group in the stadium (so I was actually walking in by myself, a big step for a 17-year-old); c) I was sitting in the Auburn section. It was weird for the series because a) both teams were just lousy -- Auburn was 3-8 and 'Bama wasn't much better; b) it turned out to be the last game Auburn ever played at Legion Field. As he would do in '99, Shaun Alexander basically owned this game in the second half.
Interesting note: on the way home, I was lectured by a friend of mine from church -- I'm pretty sure he was serious -- about how my soul would be in danger if I went to school at Alabama, that everybody there drinks heavily, that I'd have to join a fraternity, blah, blah, blah. Whatever.
My first trip to Legion Field had actually come two years before that, to see this game that turned out to be Gene Stallings' final one.
Quite a way to see this one first-hand. Interesting note: from 1995 until 1999, all of these games were broadcast as the night game on ESPN. Also, when you see Michael Vaughn mugging for the camera on his way off the field, note that the feed actually shuts off before he has a chance to scream, "Get off Freddie Kitchens' back!"
The great un-discussed game in the history of the series -- which consistently delivered the goods from an entertainment standpoint throughout the decade of the1990s -- was the '94 game, when both teams entered the game undefeated (Auburn was on probation and had tied UGA the week before but hadn't lost in a long, long time at that point).
It came down to a ball spot.
A great debate has raged since then about that spot. And honestly, I have no answer. If the Teagles hadn't surrendered 21 points in the first half, maybe they wouldn't have been in that spot in the first place.
The national title was within reach in 1992 for the Stallings' squad, but first they had to go through Auburn -- disappointing but still tough -- on Thanksgiving Day. As if that wasn't enough, the night before the game, coach Pat Dye -- fighting some sort of liver sickness and the NCAA wolves -- announced his resignation the night before the game.
The game was predictably tough and physical. And, as was typical for Alabama that season, a defensive score broke it open.
Our final stop on this tour is 1990. Alabama had lost four straight to Auburn going into that one, including the '89 game, when an undefeated Tide team got ambushed in its first-ever trip to Jordan-Hare. That next season -- Stallings' first squad in Tuscaloosa -- the Tide exorcised its demons in Birmingham.
Listen to this one all the way until the end to hear Jim Nantz nail the final call.
Let's hope the frustration is to be at an end this Saturday. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. And also, Happy Birthday to my mom, who's enjoyed the last 6 years much more than I have.