Sometimes, the inexorable passage of has a way of defusing most any controversy.
Consider that it wasn’t too long ago that Alabama and Auburn were squabbling over the venue of the “Iron Bowl.” Auburn wanted to play its “home games” in Auburn, a seemingly reasonable request in some circles, an unreasonable one in others, while Alabama threatened all kinds of repercussions, including canceling the series, and supported keeping the game in Birmingham, where powers from above had seemingly ordained it.
As both teams increased their stadium capacity over the years and Legion Field being downsized thanks to the demise of the East side upper deck, the games are being played on campus and the rivalry hasn’t suffered one iota. In fact, it may be more competitive than ever, if that’s possible.
The game site controversy seems well in the past, particularly when one team wins on the other’s home field.
There was concern and trepidation in some parts of Big Orange Country, relative to trips to Auburn, Athens, Starkville, or Oxford, instead of Birmingham, Memphis, or in the case of Georgia, not playing at all. The series lay dormant for the years between 1937 and 1967. It was resumed in 1968, and, with advent of divisional play, the series between the two border states is as hot and heavy as any series Tennessee has played over the years.
Vol fans have managed to get to all of these venues with out excessive problems. Getting out has been a problem at times, but that’s part of the magic of it all.
Vol fans also worried about playing Memphis State, later Memphis, in one of those “nothing to gain, everything to lose” games. The Vols have won 21 of the 22 games played, but the 1996 game, Memphis 21, Tennessee 17, still rankles otherwise sensible Vol fans.
Time heals all wounds and all that, you know.
Some day, this year’s controversies across the conference will be safely consigned to history.
There will be others arising to take their place.
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015