Yesterday on Finebaum a caller asked “why is Auburn such a big deal…it’s not a state university…and there’s nothing there.”  This was a Bama fan.  He went on to say that “it shouldn’t be anymore than a Troy.”  It became obvious to me as the call went on that this person has serious issues and is likely mentally ill…like many of the Finebaum callers.  The ignorance of people absolutely baffles me, but that’s for a whole different blog altogether.  I could probably write an entire blog about the insanity of the Paul Finebaum show and why it appeals, for some reason, to the masses.  From a psychological standpoint.  But…anyway, moving on, this caller got me thinking about Alabama and Auburn and the relationship between the two teams, the fans, etc.  I thought he sounded ridiculous and that he was simply attacking Auburn’s credibility because of our loss last week…which alot of irrational Bama fans ARE doing.  I came to the conclusion that I do, in fact, appreciate Auburn.  I couldn’t come up with a single reason why I should HATE auburn as many Bama fans do.  I was just simply raised a Bama fan and that’s the way it is.  But my dad, from whom I received much of my football fan-ness, is a very rational Bama fan and never did any trash talking of Auburn.  And, furthermore, I don’t see the point in trying to come up with reasons to hate a team simply because they are our rival.  My dad would be one of those that says “I’ll root for Auburn if they aren’t playing Bama.”  As I got older I started to disagree with him on that point.  I want to win the west.  Duh.  I want Auburn to do just well enough so that our win over them looks “good.”  I want them to do well…just as long as we do better.  There are Bama fans that would be happy if Auburn lost every game.  I’m not one of them.  I think Auburn being a good football program brings credibility to our conference and our state.  I think it makes our rivalry better.  I think it motivates everyone.  Now….in the past I’ve dated some obnoxious Auburn fans and I probably would have never written this blog then.  But I think dating Eric has made me look at these things a little differently.  He is respectful, very respectful, of me and the fact that I’m a Bama fan.  He talks shit I’m sure, but not in my presence.  And he’s able to give credit to our team when a player does well or a good play is called, etc.

Back to Finebaum (for just one second) …I am constantly embarrassed by the idiocy of the callers.  They sound ridiculous.  And from the producer’s standpoint…the more ridiculous the better, I think.  But I listen.  I don’t know why.  I prefer the Roundtable during the day but in the afternoons (if I’m not too busy) I can’t help but listen in…just to see how ridiculous it is.  But I’m embarrassed by how ignorant southerners sound in general on the show.  The vast majority of Alabama and Auburn fans ARE rational people…but they aren’t calling Finebaum…they are working their jobs and not sitting around every afternoon glued to the radio.  I think, though, that perhaps the one positive aspect to Finebaum’s syndication is the fact that people in other places in the country are seeing (well…hearing) how intense our rivalry with Auburn really is.  I like that.  But I also don’t see how Finebaum’s show is given any credibility, as a syndicated sports show, by letting semi-drunk, redneck, Bama and Auburn fans carry on and on with no valid point.  Maybe, though, that’s the reason it’s successful…in a weird, sick kinda way.  I listen…and I’m a rational football fan.  It’s like a train wreck I guess and now it’s a big syndicated-satellite-radio-party of a train wreck.

Back to Bama and Auburn.  While collecting my thoughts for this blog, I asked Eric this question:  “Would you say you really HATE Alabama?”  He said YES!…then he explained.  He talked about being an Auburn fan as a kid and how he looked at it like good vs. evil…”we are good, they are bad.”  But as he got older he became more rational and began to “hate” Alabama for better reasons.   I won’t quote him directly but some of his points were centered around these issues:

1) the fact that “back in the day” the rich kids went to bama, they thought they were better and they looked down on Auburn.

2) Auburn is the perpetual underdog to Bama, Bama receives more attention for being the “state school.”

3) Bama fans (collectively) tend to be arrogant and think they should win simply because they are Alabama.

4) most Auburn fans actually went to Auburn and most of the Bama fans he knows didn’t go to Alabama.

5)  Auburn fans are more like a “family” and the fan base of Bama is not as tightly connected.

I, of course, disagree with alot of these points BUT…I didn’t go to Alabama and I wouldn’t say I am an avid supporter of the University, other than in the arena of the football program.  You won’t find me following Alabama baseball or gymnastics.  Sorry.  I grew up a fan of Alabama football.  I did not want to go to Bama for undergrad and I thank the lord that I went to Montevallo.  For numerous reasons.  I appreciate Montevallo for all the ways it is UNlike Alabama.  It’s small, it has a community feel, everyone knows everyone, the focus is on academics, etc.  I can understand Eric’s description of the “Auburn family” (from the view of a student) because I can relate to that due to the fact that I feel like part of the “Montevallo family.”  I have always felt these things, football “fandom” and education, were mutually exclusive.  I never planned to attend the University of Alabama, don’t regret that I didn’t, but absolutely LOVE and ADORE it’s football program.  Does that make me less of a fan??? Do you think people have a better appreciation for a school’s football program if they were a student of that school?  I plan on attending Alabama for my PhD…will I then be a “better” Bama fan?  Who knows.  If someone asked me why I love Alabama football I would say, tradition, pride, the class of the fans…and the fact that we are one of the best college football programs that ever was!  That’s enough right!  I’d like to hear from y’all…Bama and Auburns fans, students and non-students…I’d like your opinions.  Do we really NEED to hate each other to make the rivalry what it is??? Can Auburn fans respect and appreciate Bama and vice versa??? Do all Bama fans really look down on Auburn??? Do you have to be a student of a school to really value it??? Can we really come up with valid reasons to hate the other??? When I take a good, hard look at it, I think I would have to admit (as most Bama fans would) that we do think we are better…we do take alot of pride in our “WINNING TRADITION” (Eric hates that phrase)…and you can’t argue with the fact that Alabama IS one of the best college football programs in history.  Arrogant?  Maybe! 😉

And before this point comes up…I’m not getting soft on Auburn.  I just got to thinking about alot of this because dating such a rational Auburn fan has gotten to me I guess.  He loves Auburn SOOOO much and I respect that…AND he’s a respectful fan and there’s something to be said about that.  If we hadn’t lost to SC I probably would be rooting for the hogs today…I know I would be…BUT I need Auburn to do well (til they play us)…I need freaking LSU to do well…I need SC to do well…I now have to think about the wins and losses of everyone else…much more than if we just bulldozed our way through our schedule like we did last year.  okay enough of that.  comment away!  I bet this stirs up more controversy than my education blog. ha!