I was not one to do any pregame drinking in college or even in-game drinking. Truth be told I never had my first drink of any kind until a few months past my 21st birthday. It just wasn't something that interested me. I never enjoyed being around other drunken students either, so I really never enjoyed my time in the student section. I go to football games to watch and enjoy football. If I want to have a drink it's typically a glass of scotch or bourbon on my porch with a cigar and a good book.
Now after saying that I have to admit that the 2003 Iron Bowl was an exception. It was my last game as a student and a few ROTC friends and I had quite a bit before this game. And by quite a bit I mean some people walked by walking a beagle and one of my good friends and I pointed at it and screamed "War Damn BEAGLE!!!!" Yeah, I'm not proud of it. But it was hilarious then, and if I'm perfectly honest it still causes a bit of a chuckle. If I ever own a beagle I think I'll name it "War."
So why the two paragraphs on that subject? That's because you better believe that because of this all of us -following Rod Bramblett's advice to the man himself - were going crazy when this happened:
That was the greatest start to any Iron Bowl I had ever seen. It's hard to remember now, but Cadillac had never played in an Iron Bowl before this game. He was injured in both his freshman and sophomore campaigns. He proceeds to take it to the house on the first play from scrimmage. It was beautiful. Cadillac would go on to run for 124 more yards after that run. It's rather fitting that this is today's recap given the news that he's back on campus to finish his degree.
The rest of this game was pretty much classic Tuberville era Auburn: jump out to a big lead and sit on it. 18-2 was the halftime score and it ended at 28-23. This was billed by many prior to the game as Tuberville's last chance to save his job.
How right they were. ESPN's recap mentions Tubs coaching for his job, but there is no mention of what we would all find out had been happening: Jet-gate. The effort to speak to Bobby Petrino about coming back to replace Tuberville at the end of the season. Words cannot express how happy I am that things worked out the way they did. Look back at Petrino's record... has he EVER left somewhere better than when he found it?
All that mattered to me was that we beat Alabama. The first Iron Bowl I attended was the horrible 2001 game. One of only two Auburn games I've ever left early. This was my last home game as a college student, and I wanted it to end properly: with a victory over Alabama and a hearty rendition of the Reverse Rammer Jammer (more on my distaste for this anywhere other than the Iron Bowl to come at a later date). It had been a very disappointing season on the Plains after all the hype at the start of the year. This was a great way to close it at home.
It was also very bitter sweet. I've said I was never a fan of the student section, but I did love being a student. I loved the connection with the campus and that I was in school with many of those players. I had class with a number of them that year, including Brandon Jacobs before he transferred at the end of the season. I have never been around a larger man in all my life.
This was a very important game in Auburn history for the reasons mentioned above. It - along with the bowl win over Wisconsin - sent us into 2004 with fairly decent vibes that things were getting back on track. None of us ever expected 2004 to go the way it did, though. I would feel remiss if I didn't go back to Bramblett's call for a second. This was Rod's first season as play-by-play announcer following the death of Jim Fyffe. This gave him an iconic call that will last through the ages of Auburn highlight reels and gave us something to look back on and say "ok, I think this guy is going to do alright." I miss Jim's calls and I will always wonder how he would have called this year's amazing games. But you know what? I don't think you can top what Rod did. And this was the game where he began to come into his own with calling Auburn football in my opinion.
So what's your # 4 game? What's your favorite Rod Bramblett call? Discuss!