Here is a primer on the Iron Bowl

Here are a few questions that will stump even the greatest of fans!

Q: Where does the term “Iron Bowl” come from?

A: 48 of the first 53 showdowns between Alabama and Auburn took place in Birmingham. The term “Iron Bowl” refers to Birmingham’s historic role in the country’s iron and steel industry.

Q: How far does the Iron Bowl go back?

A: The first Alabama – Auburn game was played on February 22, 1893. Auburn defeated Alabama 33-22 in Lakeview Park. The two teams met again the following November 30th, at Riverside Park in Montgomery. Auburn won that game, 40-16.

Q: Who leads the all-time series?

A: Alabama and Auburn have played 81 times, with the Crimson Tide leading the series 45-35-1. The rivals have squared off in four different cities: Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Auburn.

Alabama holds the upper hand in games played in Birmingham with a 34–18–1 record. The Tigers lead the series in both Auburn (8-5) and Tuscaloosa (7–4). The teams each have two wins a piece in the games played in Montgomery.

Q: What does the winning team get?

A: The most important thing – bragging rights for the 365 days between games. But, there’s also a trophy.

The Foy-ODK Trophy is named in memory of James E. Foy, a former Auburn dean of students and the Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa – which was established at both schools during the 1920s.

Foy graduated from the University of Alabama in 1939. He remained at the Capstone for two years as assistant to the dean of men, before joining joined the Navy on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. After the war, Foy joined Auburn’s Office of Student Affairs in 1950, and was soon promoted to director and dean, a post he held until retiring in 1978.

The trophy is presented at halftime of the Alabama-Auburn basketball game at the winning team’s home court.

Q: What are some of the greatest games in the series?

A: That depends of course, on who you ask. But here is a list of five of the biggest wins for each program in the series:


2009: Quarterback Greg McElroy threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to fullback Roy Upchurch with less than two minutes to play to lift the No. 2 ranked Tide to a 26–21 win over Auburn at Jordan–Hare Stadium. The play capped a 15-play, 79-yard drive that consumed seven minutes and three seconds. The win went on to propel Alabama to the SEC Title and their first National Championship since 1992.

1985: Alabama beat Auburn and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson 25–23 on a 52-yard field goal by kicker Van Tiffin as time expired.

1981: Legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant earned his 315th career victory after Alabama came back to beat Auburn coach Pat Dye’s first team, 28–17. With the victory, Bryant passed Amos Alonzo Stagg to become the all-time winningest FBS coach at the time. It was also the final game in Alabama’s nine-game win streak over Auburn, the longest such streak in series history.

1967: This was the first night game in the series. Late in the 4th quarter, Alabama quarterback Ken Stabler ran 47 yards for a touchdown to give Alabama a 7–3 victory. The play became known as the “run in the mud.”

1948: The rivalry resumed after being suspended for more than four decades due to issues related to player per diem pay and officiating. Alabama beat Auburn 55–0 at Legion Field. It is  the largest margin of victory in the history of the series.

Auburn:2013: With :01 remaining on the game clock and the game tied 28-28, #1 Alabama attempted a 57-yard potential game-winning field goal. The kick fell just short, and Auburn’s Chris Davis caught the ball just under the crossbar before taking it back 109 yards for a game-winning touchdown in what became known as the “Kick Six.”  The incredible play triggered the biggest celebration in Jordan-Hare stadium history, with tens of thousands of fans pouring onto the field. The win propelled Auburn into the SEC Championship game and on to the BCS national Championship game.

2010: No. 2 Auburn defeated No. 11 and defending National Champion Alabama 28–27 after overcoming a 24–0 deficit. The Tigers outscored the Tide 28–3 to take home the win, and position themselves to win the SEC Championship and their first national Championship since 1957.

1989: In the first-ever Iron Bowl played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn defeated previously-unbeaten Alabama 30–20, to earn a share of the SEC crown. Auburn coach Pat Dye would later draw a comparison between the game and the fall of the Berlin Wall.1972: Down 16–3 late in the game, an Auburn team nicknamed “The Amazin’s,” blocked two punts and returned both for touchdowns, leading to an improbable 17–16 win over #2 Alabama. In both instances, Auburn’s Bill Newton blocked Greg Gantt’s punts and Auburn’s David Langner picked each one up to score a touchdown.

1982: With two minutes left in the game and Auburn trailing the Tide 22-17, the Tigers drove the length of the field with running back Bo Jackson diving over the top of the Alabama defense on 4th down to score the winning touchdown, giving Auburn a 23-22 win and snapping the Tide’s nine-game winning streak.