The Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn is one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports. It’s an in-state battle for bragging rights that never seems to end, whether there’s a game going on or not. Headed into the 75th Iron bowl in 2010, the stakes were a little different than normal. Instead of the Alabama Crimson Tide faithful gearing their hate towards the Auburn population as a whole, this time out they were more focused. They targeted Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton.
Cam had made himself an easy target. Besides being the clear favorite for the Heisman trophy and leading his team to an undefeated record, Cam carried a lot of baggage from his previous stops. Before suiting up with Auburn, he started his collegiate career with the University of Florida. With the Gators he was more famously known off the field for stealing a laptop and possibly facing expulsion for academic misconduct. Fast forward to his 2010 season, and Cam and his father were being investigated by the NCAA for an alleged pay-for-play deal with Mississippi State. So yeah, even before the game kicked off the drama surrounding the nation’s best player that year was already intense.
Once the game did kick off, Auburn was quickly reminded of how aggressive their Crimson Tide opponent was. Despite having a subpar year by their standards with a 9-2 record, the 2010 Alabama Crimson Tide team was coming off a championship, with a roster full of players who would go on to see quality NFL time. They opened up the game with a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter. But when you’re up against a quarterback as talented as Cam Newton, even a 24 point lead isn’t safe. To fully understand one of the greatest comebacks in college football, you need to understand the rivalry, the role reversal between these teams, and how a quarterback with the odds stacked against him rose to the top.
To do all that, let’s rewind.