What is the Iron Bowl?

    The Iron Bowl is one of the most heated rivalries in College Football. But, who competes and who has the most wins?

    The Iron Bowl is a college football rivalry between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers, and it is one of the most passionate, intense, and fiercest rivalries in the sport.

    The rivalry is embedded in College Football, with its storied and lively history. The rivalry is also deeply ingrained in the history of the state of Alabama and is one of the most anticipated games on the college football calendar each year.

    History of the Iron Bowl

    The Iron Bowl was first played in 1893 but was not played between 1907 and 1948 with rumors of animosity and friction between the schools. The game was so important to the state of Alabama that the state congress mandated for the two teams to play each other again with the threat of pulling funding if they didn’t.

    The game has long been associated with the political history of Alabama. One of the many reasons why this rivalry exists is because of a four-year debate over the placing of a new Land Grant-funded university in 1862, which was controversially awarded to Tuscaloosa for the University of Alabama. The city of Auburn was not awarded its own university until 1872.

    The first meeting between Alabama and Auburn was in 1893, which Auburn won 32-22. Since then, it has been played in Birmingham, Auburn, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery.

    Why Is It Called The Iron Bowl?

    The Alabama-Auburn rivalry is called the Iron Bowl because the game used to be played in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham was a key city in steel production and was colloquially referred to as “the Pittsburgh of the South.” Birmingham rivaled Pittsburgh in its production of coal, steel, and pig iron.

    The city is also situated in the middle between Auburn and Tuscaloosa. Now, it is played between the campuses of both teams, having last played in Birmingham in 1998.

    Ralph “Shug” Jordan, a previous Auburn head coach, is commonly reported as coining the name when he was quoted in 1964 as saying “We’ve got our bowl game. We have it every year. It’s the Iron Bowl in Birmingham.”

    How Many Times Has Alabama Beat Auburn

    Alabama has beaten Auburn 49 times in their 87 meetings and has also tied once back in 1907. They lead the all-time series and have dominated in recent matchups. Former Alabama head coach Paul “Bear: Bryant leads the series with 19 wins. Still, current Alabama head coach Nick Saban has a record of 11-5 and could match the record in a few seasons.

    The Crimson Tide is currently on a three-game winning streak since 2020, only losing three games to Auburn in the last decade. Last year’s game saw seventh-ranked Alabama take down Auburn 49-27.

    MORE: List of College Football Rivalry Games

    However, the longest winning streak of the series was between 1973 and 1981, when Alabama won nine games in a row — all of which were played in Birmingham.

    ‘Bama has won the most games in Birmingham, taking 34 of the 53 editions of the Iron Bowl. The series is tied at 7-7 when the game takes place in Tuscaloosa. The rivalry is also tied when taking place in Montgomery, where the game was played in its early years, at 2-2.

    How Many Times Has Auburn Beat Alabama

    Auburn has beaten Alabama 37 times in the 87 meetings of the Iron Bowl.

    The longest winning streak that Auburn has experienced in the annual series is six between 2002 and 2007.

    While Alabama has maintained the success in the all-time series, one bright spot for the Tigers is that when the games take place in Auburn on home soil, they have won 10 of the 16 meetings.

    Auburn last won the Iron Bowl in 2019 when the sixteenth-ranked Auburn Tigers beat the fifth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 49-45. Gus Malzahn was the head coach then, as he won three of his eight Iron Bowls in charge of the Tigers.

    The Auburn head coach with the most Iron Bowl wins is “Shug” Jordan with nine. He did, however, also lose 16 of his 25 total matchups with the in-state rival.

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