Iron Bowl For The Ages: Perspective From AU's Bramblett
The game is so big that even a preacher, a Tide fan, called into the Paul Finebaum Show to tell the other half of the state it has beat-down coming.
Iron Bowl week is here. Since the prayer at Jordan-Hare occurred two weeks ago against Georgia, the build-up is bigger than ever.
Alabama's dynasty is on the line Saturday afternoon against the only college football program to win the crystal ball during the Tide's national championship run, which began in 2009.
Auburn has a chance to end the dynasty and the national championship is a small possibility. If Auburn can be victorious against 'Bama and the SEC East winner and Ohio State loses, the Tigers could be playing for a national championship. But before the Tigers can start thinking about a game in Pasadena, Calif., Auburn has to take care of business against its in-state rival.
"You get to this point and you want to finish it off," Rod Bramblett told Football.com.
Bramblett has been the voice of the Auburn Tigers since 2003.
"The reality of the situation is you're 10-1 after going 3-9, in a lot of ways you're playing with house money right now," he said. "It's a sign of what to expect year in and year out with this coach and his coaching staff. Coach Malzahn's attention to detail, the staff's ability to communicate to the players, they buy in — they bought in and they are now a mirror image of their head football coach."
The bye week came at an opportune time after the miracle play lifted Auburn past Georgia. The week off allowed Gus Malzahn to help his team move on emotionally from the Georgia game.
"It was amazing, it was an amazing fourth quarter," Bramblett said. "To be honest with you, I'm not sure how amazing the game was. The fourth quarter was just hard to describe. Auburn was up 20 with 12:30 to go and Aaron Murray got on a roll," Bramblett said.
Murray scored late on a controversial call that put Auburn in a must-score predicament, and the Tigers prevailed with a fourth-quarter heave on fourth-and-18.
Auburn has a date with Alabama on its own turf for the right to play for the conference championship and to end Alabama's chance at three consecutive national championships.
Gus Malzahn has instilled confidence into the Auburn program. But when did Auburn start believing? Was after the Mississippi State comeback, the Ole Miss win, or was it after leaving College Station victorious?
"I'll tell you when I think this team started believing," Bramblett said. "This will be hard to believe, but I think they started believing after the LSU loss. I think they looked at that game and the way they finished it out, dominated the second half, ran up a ton of yards. If they don't play like they did in the first quarter, then they win that game. But I think they have confidence with a chip on their shoulder."
It took seven games for the Tigers to be looked at as a good team, but the victory over Johnny Football in his back yard impressed the nation.
"They were mad, they were angry about how they played and they were determined not to play that way again," Bramblett said of Auburn after the LSU loss. "I think it all started there and going into the Texas A&M game, I got the impression that this team knew they had a plan, felt like they could win and at the end of the day, they felt like they could make enough plays to win the game."