No.1 Alabama would have to really stumble to lose the SEC West to Auburn. But as last years's scorefest demonstrated, a title being on the line is not required for an amazing game. However, before we delve into the best games ever, it is important to flag that this list is a bit one-sided because when this rivalry produces its best drama, it has usually been for only one program. Now without further ado, here are the five best Iron Bowls of all time.
5. Auburn 23, Alabama 22
Nov. 27, 1982 – Birmingham, Ala.
The Tigers had lost nine straight to the Crimson Tide and trailed 22-17 in the fourth quarter. But this time they had a future college football legend in the backfield. Auburn drove 66 yards and scored when freshman Bo Jackson, who had 114 rushing yards, jumped over the top of the pile of defenders with 2:26 left in the game. Celebrating Auburn fans tore down the goalposts at Legion Field after the game and Alabama head coach Bear Bryant announced his retirement a little over two weeks later.
4. Auburn 28, Alabama 27
Nov. 26, 2010 – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama jumped out to a 24-0 lead over Cam Newton and No. 2 Auburn in the second quarter. Then the Tigers' defense stiffened, and Newton threw three touchdowns and ran for another as the Tigers escaped Tuscaloosa with a 28-27 victory. Auburn went on to win the national title, but its most dramatic victory was its "Camback" over Alabama.
3. Auburn 17, Alabama 16
Dec. 2, 1972 – Birmingham, Ala.
This matchup between top-10 teams had one of the wildest fourth quarters this side of the "Kick Six." Alabama held Auburn to 80 yards of offense and led 16-3 with 5:30 to go as the Crimson Tide lined up to punt. Greg Gantt took the snap, but Auburn's Bill Newton blocked his kick and David Langner picked up the ball and ran into the end zone. A few minutes later, Newton and Langner accomplished the same feat to take a 17-16 lead. Langner later sealed the win with an interception and when he got to the sideline, legendary head coach Shug Jordan appeared upset. According to Langner, he said, "But coach, I intercepted the pass," and Jordan replied, "Yeah, but our plan was to make them punt." The game is forever known as "Punt Bama Punt."
2. Auburn 48, Alabama 45
Nov. 30, 2019 – Auburn, Ala.
The Tide and Tigers engaged in a good ole fashioned shootout in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl of all time. The final shot came on an 11-yard touchdown run by Auburn's Shaun Shivers and a two-point conversion that put the team up 48-45. Alabama responded with a drive of its own that ended when Joseph Bulovas' 30-yard field goal attempt bounced off the upright with two minutes left. The Tide then stopped Auburn on third down, but were penalized for an illegal substitution when the Tigers lined up to punt, giving them the first down and the win.
1. Auburn 34, Alabama 28
Nov. 30, 2013 – Auburn, Ala.
Two-time defending national champion Alabama was 11-0 and Auburn was 10-1. The winner of the game would go to the SEC Championship Game the following Saturday. The Tigers seemed to match the Crimson Tide score for score and tied the game 28-28 with 32 seconds left. Alabama's T.J. Yeldon ran out of bounds at the Auburn 38-yard line with one second on the clock and the Crimson Tide lined up for a 57-yard field goal. Punt returner Chris Davis fielded the offline kick nine yards deep in the end zone and blew past Alabama's stunned and somewhat slow field goal unit as he streaked down the sidelines to the end zone for the most dramatic moment of the series. Today, the "Kick Six" is arguably the greatest play in college football history.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.