You might think Auburn has about as good a chance of beating Alabama in 2013 as we do of winning the Super Bowl. I expect us to do both. Allow me to explain.

In 1984 unranked Alabama beat no. 11 Auburn 17–15, derailing the Tigers’ plans for a return trip to New Orleans. The following Monday at school was not good for me. I was the only Auburn fan in my class, and I heard about it all day—”Auburn’s not going to the Sugar Bowl, Auburn’s not going to the Sugar Bowl, Auburn’s not going to the Sugar Bowl.”

Now, in 1984, I was not really paying attention yet. I believed in Auburn and loved it, and I knew Bo Jackson was the greatest football player of all time, but that was the extent of my football knowledge. My classmates, on the other hand, were all a year older than me. Their football acumen was a season ahead; so you can imagine their response when I finally responded to the taunts of “Auburn’s not going to the Sugar Bowl” with . . .

Well, maybe we’ll go to the Super Bowl.

Yep—that’s what I said. I only thought the teasing had been bad to that point. So, what does Auburn’s loss to UAT in 1984 have to do with beating Alabama in 2013?


Shula had better luck against Auburn as a player than as a coach.

To answer what the above has to do with beating Alabama this season, let’s first play a little game of name that tune. Ok—it won’t actually be a tune, but, read the following quote, and, as you do, see if you can remember/guess what Auburn coach said it, and in what year, and regarding what opponent.

We’ve been planning for this game since January. We’ve talked to people about ______. We watched film all summer. We’ve been making subtle preparations for this game all along.

So, who do you think it is, and who is he talking about? Is it Pat Dye on Georgia or Alabama? Nope—it’s Tommy Tuberville talking about LSU in 2006. We lost a couple of games in 2006 that we should’ve won, but, so far as the game we’d been working on for nine months, we scored one touchdown, and that was enough.

You might remember another time when Auburn put all the focus on beating someone besides Alabama. It was 1994, and Terry Bowden took us to Gainesville to play the Gators in the “Super Bowl.”

Every game’s been like a bowl, so I guess we could make this the Super Bowl.

Auburn will beat Alabama in 2013 because Gus Malzahn is making the Iron Bowl the Super Bowl. I know he hasn’t said as much. He’s playing it close to the chest. Sure, I could be wrong, but I think every move he’s made since being hired—and maybe before then—has been to get us ready to beat Alabama. It almost worked in 2009, and he didn’t have Nick Marshall for that game.

War Eagle!