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Question for SEC football historians

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by PaulS, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. PaulS

    PaulS Member

    In the ESPN magazine story about the Toomer's Corner trees, it mentions that Tennessee didn't play at Auburn until 1974 and Alabama until 1989. Since Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama have been SEC members since 1932, how did this happen? Did SEC schools not play the usual home-and-away rotation in football?
  2. occasionally

    occasionally Member

    They played home games against both in Birmingham or perhaps other neutral sites (maybe Montgomery?)
  3. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    UT rarely played Florida or Auburn when I was growing up; they played Alabama "at" Birmingham every other year (on the 3rd Saturday in October, of course).
  4. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    The home games for Alabama and Auburn against Tennessee appear to have been played in Birmingham. Not surprising for Bama which regularly played home games at Legion Field for decades. Real surprising for Auburn, though it's easy to guess it was for the gate; Jordan-Hare's capacity was 44,500 up until 1970. Legion Field was over 71,000. UT's home games were in Knoxville in both series.
  5. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Upon further review...as I thought, TN has played Auburn only 50 times...


    And played Florida only 40 times...


    Compared to 92 times against Alabama...


    And 100 times against Vandy...


    BTW, Tennessee even played a sanctioned game against my high school back in the 1890s.
  6. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    For years and years, Auburn's home games against UGa were in Columbus as well.
  7. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Tennessee played many sanctioned games against high schools. One of the funny things is several colleges in this part of the state played games against Bristol YMCA.

    Tennessee vs. Vandy is the oldest college rivalry in the state. Tusculum vs. Carson-Newman is the second oldest.

    I knew Tennessee vs. Alabama had to be up there in terms of meetings. I'm sure whatever that deal about 1989 was had to mean playing in Tuscaloosa, not actual meetings. I'm not surprised about the Florida deal. I really don't remember Tennessee playing Florida that much as a kid. It didn't become a big game until Spurrier in the 90s. I do always find it funny that Auburn vs. Georgia is the oldest rivalry in the south. You'd think it would be two state schools (UGA vs. Ala or UT vs. Ala, etc).

    I'd like to point out that my alma mater, ETSU, is undefeated in football since 2003.
  8. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Alabama wouldn't play Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium for the longest time. Just flat refused. So if I recall correctly, Auburn wasn't going to play in Tuscaloosa either, so they played in Birmingham.

    Auburn finally got the game at home in 1989 (and won, against what was then a No. 2 Alabama team). It was actually 2000 before it was played in Tuscaloosa (which Auburn won again).

    And a lot of what you would think would be long-standing SEC rivalries aren't. It used to be that the entire conference didn't play each other every year, and I'm not sure there was an official rotation in place. So Georgia didn't play Tennessee very often, for example, until the divisional structure was brought into place.
  9. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    SEC schedules weren't really formalized until the mid 1960s. Ole Miss, for example, played Alabama twice from 1933 to 1965 ... once during WWII and once in the Sugar Bowl.

    Ole Miss annually played Mississippi State, LSU, Tulane (then SEC), Tennessee and Vanderbilt back then.

    Its one reason why their unbeated, but not untied, 1960 team didn't win the national title. They weren't perceived to have played anyone as LSU and Tennessee were both down that year.

    Also, some southern teams played neutral game sites in the larger cities in that era. Alabama regularly played in Birmingham, Ole Miss played in Jackson, Arkansas (then SWC) played in Little Rock, etc.
  10. PaulS

    PaulS Member

    Thanks. I noticed the Ole Miss-Alabama thing, too, after looking at some of the links provided. I wonder why the SEC evolved that way. Other conferences seem to be much more consistent in playing everybody in the days before expansion.
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    When you play a 9-game schedule, play 5 league games and 4 games against Hooterville Valley Teacher's College, it's a lot easier to claim the Billy Bob Bar & Grill National Championship.
  12. westcoastvol

    westcoastvol Active Member

    Back when I was a kid, Tennessee would always play Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Ole Miss (in the Liberty Bowl, where they played UCLA a time or two).

    IIRC, we'd play other teams in the conference for 7 years and then take the next 7 years off on a staggered rotation, so before the 90s, to others' points, the Florida rivalry we have now simply wasn't there, and there wasn't divisions or a championship game, so it was like "Galen Hall who?"

    Ergo, UT fans hate Bammers with a steely-eyed fervor, but get along okay enough with Auburn fans probably better than with any other SEC school. At least, that's been my experience.
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