published Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

BCS Countdown: 1907 Alabama-Auburn tie leads to 'Tide'


In the 25 days leading up to college football's championship game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is counting down the traditions and memorable moments involving the Irish and the Crimson Tide. Today is No. 5.

Alabama holds a 42-34-1 series edge in its emotional in-state rivalry with Auburn better known as the Iron Bowl.

The tie occurred in 1907, which is believed to be the first time Alabama was referred to as the "Crimson Tide." In early newspaper accounts of Alabama football, the team was referred to as the "varsity" or the "Crimson White," which referenced the school colors.

Alabama's first actual nickname to gain traction was the "Thin Red Line," but there were few, if any, headlines or stories including that name after 1906.

When describing the 1907 Alabama-Auburn game in Birmingham, sports editor Hugh Roberts of the Birmingham Age-Herald used the term "Crimson Tide." Auburn was a heavy favorite entering the game, which was played in a quagmire of red mud, but Alabama held the Tigers to a 6-6 deadlock.

That would be the last Alabama-Auburn game until 1948, when the series resumed.

While Roberts is recognized for introducing Alabama's longstanding nickname, former Birmingham News sports editor Zipp Newman is credited for popularizing it more than any other writer.

There are five Tigers in Bowl Subdivision football (Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Memphis and Missouri) and four Wildcats (Arizona, Kansas State, Kentucky and Northwestern). There is only one Crimson Tide.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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