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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Iron Bowl Part One - Domination.

One thing that I've always been curious about is the coaching matchups between Auburn and Alabama. I don't care what kind of university you have, how much money you pay your players, or what recruiting base you hope you claim. A good coach can take a bad program and make it good, and a bad coach can take a college football powerhouse and turn them into San Diego State.

So how do the coaches match up, head to head in the Iron Bowl? I decided to find out. I took all my stats from Wikipedia, because I'm lazy and it was easy to import their chart into Excel.

One thing that jumped out at me right away is that Auburn owned the state from the Iron Bowl's inception. We won the first game and maintained a healthy lead in the series until it was suspended in 1907 because of the bitter hatred that had already bloomed in the hearts of Auburn and Alabama fans. I suspect that's because we beat the tar out a' them hillbillies. The first Iron Bowl was played in 1893 and Auburn won 32-22. Then 40-16 in 1893. 48-0 in 1895. 53-5 in 1900. 17-0 in 1901. 23-0 in 1902. 29-5 in 1904. Granted, when Bama won they beat us well (though not nearly as well.) I didn't do much analysis of the head-to-head in this period, because there were too many coaches and wild swings between the years. Too tough to call.

The two teams tied in 1907, six points apiece. Then there was a long period with no Iron Bowls at all. From 1908 to 1947, the two teams didn't play each other. Partly for the Great Wars, I'm sure. But, mostly because Bama was sick of leaving their teeth on the field and got all in a snit about being the clear inferior (foreshadowing?)

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