I know a thing or two about the Iron Bowl.

I have seen it from both sides.

I graduated from Auburn and years later I would move to Tuscaloosa to cover the Crimson Tide through two national championships.

Some saw the move as treason, consorting with the enemy, but I knew the job would make me a more well-rounded reporter, and indeed it did.

So you see, I DO know a thing or two about this storied and historic rivalry.

Therefore, I’m qualified to tell you it’s a good day in Alabama.

There is renewed trash talking around the water cooler.

Not many Bama fans will tell you this, but I’ve had a couple admit it to me; it’s just not as fun to step on someone when they are down, even if that entity is Auburn. Sure it’s fun to laugh for a while at your rival’s pain; but when it becomes a dumpster fire, the laughter markedly subsides.

Last season was SO ugly that even (most) Bama fans shielded their eyes.

It was hard to watch. It was hard to cover as a reporter.

But alas it happens every season in football.

Coaches can’t get their message across. Plays fall on deaf ears. Players give up in their hearts, on the practice field, or worse in a game.

And what honest Bama fans will tell you is that it was hard to watch because they themselves know heartbreak, scandal, loss and embarrassment, in the years just before Saban.

So it seems Auburn and Alabama fans share more than meets the eye….experience, and painful ones at that.

But to acknowledge the pain, I also have to acknowledge the success.

What a feat for Alabama to win it all in 2009, Auburn in 2010, and Alabama again in 2011 and 2012.

With all that said, it appears that Auburn and Alabama fans are more alike than they’d like to admit.

Success and pain, two emotions that illicit extreme responses.

And what a response this rivalry will garner with TWO successful and healthy programs coming into the game in 2013.

I, for one, can’t wait!


Rachel JOY Baribeau