Let A.J. and His Mom Root For Whoever They Want, Alabama and Auburn Fans
A friendship cast in bronze? USA Sports images
Not since the WWI Christmas Truce have we seen such Yultide détente between the annals of mortal enemies, but apparently A.J. McCarron thinks it’s perfectly fine to root on the other team from Alabama in the BCS National Championship game next Monday night, and so does his mom, for that matter. Tide fans are understandably displeased, but is this declaration more than just a token gesture, and should Auburn fans extend their hand to grasp the olive branch? Is it possible in a post-Updyke world?
I’ve often been told and have read that the players themselves rarely live the blood and guts of a hated rivalry as bitterly as the fans do. After all, they are the gladiators battling for our pleasure in the modern day coliseum. While we fans pray to the college football gods, the players are a part of that pantheon. If they want to hail the victors who vanquished them not a month earlier to carry on the banner of state pride into the national limelight, they’re probably far better men than we.
A.J.’s sentiment might not be as questionable if not for the fact that the last time we saw him, he was hustling off the field at Jordan-Hare right as Chris Davis was getting tackled by his teammates in the north end zone. While I can’t imagine the bitter disappointment of that last play, a sportsman would have crossed the field to congratulate his opponents.
Nor can we rule out the fact that A.J.’s stance may have softened after witnessing the harsh treatment of love interest and Auburn alumna Katherine Webb, who probably should have withdrawn slightly more from the pre-Iron Bowl spotlight. Having just written that last sentence, I realize that Alabama fans might easily speak the same way about A.J. in a week or so. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I just believe someone should be able to root for whoever they want without a lot of flack from others. It won’t threaten my fanhood.
Nick Saban openly declared on College Gameday on the day of the SEC title game that since they beat Alabama, Auburn (or the SEC champion) should get a shot at the BCS championship. While I realize that is a long way from hoping that Auburn would win, no one would dare question Saban (until the ink was dry again). Granted, Saban knows where to draw the line, mainly because he’s not a 23-year old college kid.
If you think there’s no precedent is seeing the big picture–even when it’s your biggest rival framing the shot–you haven’t read this blog for too long. From four years ago, The Case For Alabama survives, even if the comments do not. (One of the casualties of the move from SBN) This was written on the dawn of Saban’s first title–and a year before our own. Who would have guessed that the SEC would soon be on it’s way to having a chance for eight in a row. I really do wish the comments would have made it. I’m pretty sure you guys gave me a little flack.
If you are a big picture person, you can take pride in the fact that our conference–the toughest in the nation–is making a run for it’s eighth straight national championship and the state of Alabama is making a run for it’s fifth. These are records that might not be seen for another hundred years. There is no state with a better one-two punch of college football teams than the state of Alabama. Auburn’s biggest rival is the all-time greatest team in college football history. Alabama’s biggest rival is a top 13 historic team. We play a close series–the closest of any major intra-state rivalry. Because your rival is strong is what makes beating them that much sweeter. Strong rivals win championships–it’s unavoidable. If you ever want to know what a weak rivalry feels like, go ask Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Roll Auburn, Alabama?