History shows you have to be great to win the Iron Bowl

It’s time to drop all debate about the greatest rivalry in college football.
It’s the Iron Bowl and it’s not even close.

For this argument, I’m not even going to factor in the passion of the fans, the proximity of the schools and their fan bases or the fact that tickets for next week’s game are more scarce than fashion-forward jeans in Nick Saban’s closet.
Let’s look simply at how good a team has to be to win the Iron Bowl.

Starting in 2008, the last nine Iron Bowl winners have entered the game ranked first, second, second, second, second, fourth, second, second and first.
That’s nine years in a row in which if you weren’t already ranked in the top 4 you weren’t winning the Iron Bowl.

By comparison, only five times in the last 20 years has the Ohio State-Michigan winner entered that rivalry week ranked in the top 4.
That incredible Iron Bowl streak could continue this season. Alabama will enter the Iron Bowl ranked No. 1, while Auburn will come in somewhere between No. 4 and 6.
Regardless, the winner of the Iron Bowl will emerge as a serious national championship contender, just like every year in recent history.
For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.

Stephen Root