- Cullman, Alabama

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November 24, 2012

‘The tradition’

Forget the records, fans still love the Iron Bowl

TUSCALOOSA — Auburn football fans Steve and Melinda Dunn have been to their fair share of football games over the years. But walking to Bryant Denny Stadium Saturday with their daughter and son-in-law, after making the trek from Evergreen for the 2012 edition of the Iron Bowl, they know it’s about a lot more than just who wins or loses.

“Win, lose or draw you just have a great time,” Melinda said. 

Regardless of the Tigers’ 3-8 record heading into the game, Steve said he remains a lifelong fan of Auburn and will keep cheering regardless of the record.
“If you’re born in Alabama you’ve got to declare a side,” he said. “It’s just about the camaraderie and the rivalry.”
Fans say the bragging rights up for grabs in the annual in-state match-up are right up there with the national title and conference championship.
Adam Hawsey, a Bama fan who married into the Dunn’s War Eagle family, said the apparent mismatch this year does nothing to hurt the game’s lofty profile.
“It’s always important, no matter what,” he said. “It’s just an amazing atmosphere.”
McCalla resident Wade Pauly has been a Bama fan for as far back as he can remember, and pointed to his graying head of hair when asked how many games he’s been to over the years.
“I’ve been a fan all my life,” he said. “It’s just about the tradition and all the history that goes back between these schools.”
Though the Tide are sitting at 10-1 and No. 2 in the nation, Pauly said he’s been around long enough to remember when Alabama was in a similar situation as Auburn not too many years ago before head coach Nick Saban was hired.
“I feel sorry for Auburn, but not too sorry,” he joked. “But we’ve all been there and know how it feels.”

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