From the Broadcast Booth with Rod Bramblett
Must Be Something About Tennessee Week
Auburn and Tennessee do not play every year like they once did and now it's not always a guarantee that the two will meet the last weekend of September. Despite the break from tradition it is still a special week when these two teams meet.
There must be something even more special about Auburn playing Tennessee, at least when it comes to the Auburn ISP Sports Network radio crew. In 2003, my second child...a boy was born the week of the Tennessee game. In fact, I remember sitting in the delivery room working on my spotting boards for the week. Auburn won the game of course 28-21 and it wasn't that close.
Fast forward to 2009, it's Tennessee week and Stan White just welcomed his second child into the world...a boy...Harrison James was born just before noon Sunday at nine pound, nine ounces. Stan has assured me that if possible he will get with defensive coordinator Ted Roof to see if he can insert him as a backup linebacker. The Tigers could certainly use him at that position.
When you're in this business, it's amazing how many of your life changing moments use sporting events as a landmark. For example, birth of my first child...November 5, 1998...week of Auburn's homecoming win over Central Florida. Another example and just a week later, my last bout with kidney stones...Auburn falls to Georgia 28-17. A game that I saw very little of...for obvious reasons.
It's just part of what we do. Our lives revolve around Auburn athletics. Our personal lives, both the good and the bad, are remembered often times by the results and competition between college athletes and their coaches.
So I'm sure Stan and Tina will always remember the birth of their second child and son by two things. The Ball State win and whatever happens Saturday night in Knoxville.
I'm sure many of you have same stories to tell. They might even revolve around this Auburn-Tennessee series.
Could it be the 1957 game? Auburn was not supposed to win in Knoxville. The defending conference champions were just too big and too strong to lose. Well, they did, 7-0. Auburn was on it's way to a National Championship.
How 'bout the 1968 game? It was the first Tiger-Vol matchup to be played at night. Auburn upset the previously unbeaten Vols in Birmingham that night 28-14. Some of you might remember the star of that game, Mike Currier from Oneonta. The Auburn halfback scored on three of his first four plays in the game.
Then there was the 1971 contest. The Volunteers didn't do much on offense but they dominated Auburn...for 58 minutes. It was the final two that counted however as Pat Sullivan led Auburn on an 86 yard touchdown drive for the 10-9 Tiger victory. It produced one of my favorite news writer quotes of all time. The next day Jack Doane of The Montgomery Advertiser wrote: "Blindfolded, hands tied behind his back, Pat Sullivan would be a one-point favorite at his own execution."...classic.
In the 80's, there was Trey Gainous and the 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. That was 1983. On the darker side from that same decade, in 1985 Auburn went to Knoxville ranked #1 in the country and fell hard losing 38-20. Like the game I mentioned in 2003...it wasn't that close.
The most recent "best" memories of this series come from 2004 when the Tigers defeated Tennessee twice in one year. A 34-10 win in Knoxville started it off. It was a game where there were probably more Auburn fans in Neyland Stadium in the fourth quarter than Tennessee fans. Seventeen times the Tennessee marching band played Rocky Top...they normally play well over thirty times each game.
The second meeting was in Atlanta. Auburn claimed the SEC title with a 38-28 win. The Tigers went on to their unbeaten season. A year in which two of the thirteen victories were over UT.
What will this year hold? Who knows? This has already been a football season like no other for both Auburn and the SEC. However, I can guarantee you one thing...memories will be made...good or bad. Some already have been made. For the Whites, it will be a week they never forget.
Until next time, War Eagle, and so long everybody!