Biggest rivalry in sports? Iron Bowl legends weigh in

Auburn at Alabama, 2015.

AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT) – Most college football fans probably would agree that the Iron Bowl is one of the biggest rivalries in college football. Some say it’s the biggest. But to Alabama’s play-by-play announcer, it’s much bigger than that.

Eli Gold, who will announce his 30th Iron Bowl Saturday, compares it to professional rivalries like the Yankees-Red Sox, Lakers-Celtics and Bears-Packers. Simply put, he believes Alabama-Auburn is the biggest rivalry in all of sports.

“Unlike many other rivalries, there’s always so much on the line – the SEC West, a trip to the SEC Championship Game, who knows what’s beyond that,” he said. “So yes, there’s always those built-in elements that make this rivalry, in my mind, the biggest one in sports.”

Many of the players who have competed in the rivalry agree. As the current Crimson Tide and Tigers prepare to meet for the 82nd time this Saturday, former stars reflected this week on their grudge-match memories. The favorite of many players was their first experience.

Former Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey won’t forget his first Iron Bowl in 1985.

“Going into the Iron Bowl and that ball game and not knowing what to expect, and we end up winning by a field goal with no time left on the clock – that was probably one of my most memorable moments,” he said.

Former Auburn running back Joe Cribbs was blown away by the atmosphere the first time he played in the rivalry.

“The crowd was crazy, and the noise level was super-high,” said Cribbs, who played for the Tigers from 1976-79. “And just being in that game… I still haven’t played in a game that was as loud as that one.”

The Iron Bowl kicks off Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS 42.


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