Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry has long been referred to as a “family rivalry.” In my case this is true. My uncle got two degrees from Auburn before going to law school at UGA and getting a career. Both of his daughters went to Auburn as well. The “family rivalry” monicker is one that basically referred to the yearly contest between Georgia and Auburn as a friendly one by SEC rivalry standards. I was sitting in the lower level of Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2010 when that changed for me. My uncle and cousins are good people, and I love them dearly, but my job here is to write the truth. The truth is that I HATE Auburn. You’ve seen the title on these weekly columns, so you know I hate a lot of the teams Georgia plays, but I hate Auburn more.
I always felt the following things about Auburn were repulsive...
- Auburn’s shaker fetish is the worst of any team in America. Every Auburn fan has a shaker on them at all times. I always figured they just handed them out at the gate or put one in every seat in Jordan-Hare. That would explain why everyone in the stadium, including the grown men who look incredibly strange using them, has one right? That might be true. However I have been unfortunate enough to sit near Auburn fans in Sanford Stadium on a few occasions, and every time they are packing their own shakers. Shakers are the Auburn Man’s tool for cowardice, and they will passively hit you with them and claim it is a mistake when your team is beating them. Scientists are unsure if Auburn’s shaker behavior is a confused mating ritual or an attempt to needle opposing fans.
- Auburn fans have a poor sense of history. The Plaintigereagles are among those who like to throw “1980” out at Georgia fans like it’s a jab that we won a national title 39 years ago with the best player to wear #34 in college football history. Auburn last won a national title in 2010. Prior to that, Auburn won their first national championship in 1957. I know math is hard for Auburn fans, but when you do some basic subtraction you find out that Auburn went 53 years between national titles. The Bulldogs have another decade and a half before they’ll equal Auburn’s title drought, but did Auburn actually win the 1957 national title?
- Auburn has cheated more than any program in SEC history. Let’s be very clear here. If Auburn is good at football then they are cheating. The buying of Cam Newton was just the most recent celebration of an Auburn Family tradition. That 1957 national title? Well you see Auburn was on probation for 1957 and 58 for paying a couple of twins to come to the plains of Auburn. Then AU was placed on another two years of probation for 1959-1960 because they offered a high-school QB a motorboat. Yes, Auburn has always been such a terrible place to go to school that it requires cold hard cash to convince a teenager to spend four years there. That probation included a bowl ban, but the AP didn’t do a poll after the postseason back then so the 10-0 #1 ranked Tigers claimed it as a national title. By those standards, Georgia should go ahead and raise national championship flags above Sanford Stadium for the 1981 and 1982 regular seasons. Auburn also went undefeated in 1993. They were banned from television and the postseason that year because many of the players on that team had been paid by their own coaches. Not to be outdone by their forebears, Auburn had a massive academic scandal in the early 2000’s that centered around the football program. It coincided with AU’s undefeated season in 2004, and it nearly caused Auburn to lose their accreditation as a university. A mere five years later, the Cam Newton scandal occurred. The TIgers spent $180,000 and whatever credibility they might have had left to win the national title. It should be noted that many other Auburn players admitted to being paid to play for the Tigers in the couple years that followed. While we’re here, don’t forget about the Auburn basketball program. They’ve worked hard to attract negative attention, and we don’t want to leave them out. Despite Auburn’s cheating in the past decade, Georgia has won 11 out of 14 against them. Auburn cannot compete at the highest levels of college football without cheating.
- Auburn fans hate Georgia because they didn’t get into school at UGA. To be fair, if I had to spend four years hucking Charmin at trees for entertainment instead of enjoying downtown Athens I’d be pissed too.
- The Auburn inferiority complex colors all interactions. More on this in a moment...
As previously stated, I made my first trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2010. Georgia was a bad 5-5 team and Auburn was undefeated, soaring on the wings of bagmen. I wasn’t expecting a competitive game in the fourth quarter. I had a high-school friend who went to Auburn, so I figured it’d be fun to go out on Friday night and tailgate before the game. While my hosts were wonderful, the other locals were not.
November 13, 2010
Throughout the morning and afternoon, I visited a few different tailgates to see relatives and family friends. They all were talking about the same thing- Alabama! Yes, Auburn fans, in the midst of their only
legitimate national title ever, spent all day talking about Alabama. They talked about how they had a better team than Alabama. They talked about Alabama’s loss to South Carolina earlier in the season. They talked about how Alabama was just jealous of Cam Newton, and that’s why the accusations of him taking money were out in the press. It was so pathetic that I found it sad, and I realized that the “cow college” moniker that Bear Bryant bestowed on them all those years ago has damaged the Auburn fan’s psyche to an extraordinary level. Imagine a kid on a diving board who is jumping not because he loves water, but because he needs his older brother to see him make a splash. This is Auburn in regards to Alabama.
The game started, and despite the referees allowing Auburn’s lineman to hit Aaron Murray 3 seconds after the end of each play, Georgia took a 21-7 lead in the first quarter. The whole mood in the stadium changed, and the locals grew restless and rude. A middle-aged man behind my friend and I started saying a bunch of crap about Georgia to his wife while hoping one of us would turn around and pick a fight. I’m not a fighter, but I’m sure he would’ve ducked into a shell and yelled for the state patrol if anyone had so much as looked at him. This same guy probably takes every opportunity he can to tell anyone with ears about how much he gives to charity. A genteel exterior designed to disguise an inner rage fueled by a lifelong inferiority complex is the Auburn fan ethos after all.
For most of the first half there was the usual crap you can expect to experience as an opposing fan in any SEC stadium. Nothing egregious. We were in a mixed UGA/AU section, and even made friends with an older couple down the aisle from us. Still, the game remained close through three quarters, and the crowd grew increasingly hostile as they began to feel an undefeated season being threatened. Eventually talent took over, and Auburn began to pull away.
Then Nick Fairley played the dirtiest half-quarter of football ever seen. He dove at Aaron Murray’s shins, speared him, tried to punch o-lineman and did who knows what else under the pile. He did this while Auburn’s entire staff and crowd egged him on. Aaron Murray laid on the ground needing medical attention while the Auburn faithful hooted and hollered. They got louder than they had for any touchdown all day as Fairley celebrated his cheap shot. The crowds high-fived each other and the old men hooted and hollered in a way that sent chills down my spine. Aaron Murray’s Mom, Lauren Murray, remembers it well..
“It’s hard for a mom to forget the day she watched cheap, dirty, illegal shots taken on her son over and over again that amounted to a fractured sternum, 8 stitches under his chin, whip lash (so bad the Dr. said it was worse than patients who are in major car accidents), and lastly, a contusion to the leg that finally brought him down. “As Aaron was squirming on the field in pain,” she continued, “… surrounded by medical staff, the Auburn fans were on their feet cheering while Fairly strutted around like a peacock getting accolades and cheers from adults, students, parents and coaches.”
When a fight broke out on the next play, those same fans put their hands up in confusion and asked why Georgia’s players were upset. My friend remarked that Fairley had made a dirty play on the previous down, and that friendly older couple down the aisle started screaming in his face. Like, actual screaming at the top of their lungs and saying, “You’ve had your moments. Alabama has too. THIS IS OUR YEAR!” While the elderly couple was screaming at my friend, Trooper Taylor and Nick Fairley were on the middle of the field running around for absolutely no reason. The adoring faithful screamed in glee for both of them.
I looked around the stadium at all of the screaming people wearing hideous shades of orange and blue. I realized that I was surrounded by 87,000 pieces of trash,
...And that’s when I knew I hated Auburn