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Auburn football’s worst losses and most thrilling victories since 2000

Auburn has tasted the thrill of dramatic victory and agony of soul-sucking defeat as much as anyone this century. Your podcast hosts may be Alabama fans, but this week we’re bringing you the three most pivotal games from Auburn’s win and loss column. Here are Auburn’s worst losses and most thrilling victories since 2000.

THE THRILL OF VICTORY

The wins are easy to talk about. We stretched the timeline back to 2000 but only needed to look at the 2010 season for two of Auburn’s greatest wins.

THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (2010): Auburn beats Oregon 22-19

Auburn was a team of destiny in 2010. It was Cam Newton’s only year with the team and their championship season was one of tested mettle, notching one comeback win after another.

Beating Oregon in the BCS title game was more than the school’s first championship since 1957. On its face, the game itself was bonkers. The muddy conditions kept either team from running up the score. Was Michael Dyer down? It doesn’t matter anymore.

The 2010 Fiesta Bowl validated the season’s numerous nail-biters and it punctuated a year that fans can hang their hats on for decades to come.

THE CAM-BACK (2010): Auburn beats Alabama 28-27

One of the many Auburn comeback wins in 2010 came against Alabama, naturally. For second-ranked Auburn to even have a shot at Oregon and the title, they had to make it through No. 11 Alabama first. And, with 8 minutes left in the second quarter, the Tide had jumped to a commanding 24-0 lead.

Auburn needed to employ everything in their arsenal to pull out a win, and that’s just what they did. A 70-yard touchdown pass from Newton narrowed Alabama’s lead only one minute into the second half. A 300-pound defensive tackle, Nick Fairley, was somehow able to run down the reigning Heisman winner, Mark Ingram, in stride. Time even stopped mid-play after Greg McElroy was sacked for a fumble, resulting in another Auburn score.

Everything went right for Auburn, after it didn’t. Without the Cam-back, the Tigers don’t play for a national championship in 2010, let alone win one in spectacular fashion.

THE KICK SIX (2013): Auburn beats Alabama, 34-28

Of course this one is on the list. Routinely ranked as one of the greatest games of all time, the 2013 Iron Bowl couldn’t avoid this list if it tried.

Two weeks after “The Miracle at Jordan-Hare,” Auburn came out on the winning end of another historic nail-biter in the Iron Bowl. If you’re an Auburn fan, you have Rod Bramlett’s legendary call memorized. If you’re an Alabama fan, you’re begging for a subject change.

If you’re Chris Davis, you’re never paying for another meal in Auburn for as long as you live.

THE AGONY OF DEFEAT

This is where things get uncomfortable. Auburn’s most recent regular season game kicks off this side of our column. Recency bias is real.

THE OVERTIME LOSS (2021): Auburn loses to Alabama, 24-22 (4OT)

Approaching last year’s Iron Bowl, Alabama was still playing for a berth to the playoffs. Although Auburn’s season was bound for the Birmingham Bowl, they were playing for pride and, well, to ruin Alabama’s chances at the playoffs.

This game is still fresh in the minds of most college football fans. It bears mentioning how much an Auburn victory here would’ve changed at least a few ripples of the college football world. Bryan Harsin’s first season at the helm wasn’t nearly as eventful as his first offseason. Would those controversies from earlier this year still surface with an Auburn win? Would Alabama still have enough gas in the tank to beat Georgia in the conference championship?

A RIVALRY AMONG TIGERS (2007): Auburn loses to LSU, 30-24

The rivalry Auburn has with LSU is underrated. The non-Cajun Tigers destroyed LSU on that weird day game in Baton Rouge in 2019 on Coach Tommy Tuberville’s birthday. LSU fired Les Miles because a loss to Auburn was the straw that broke the Bayou Bengal’s in 2016. A rec building burned down across from Jordan-Hare during the final moments of the 1996 game, and it was the second worst thing to happen to Auburn fans that day.

The 2007 edition of this match up was the first of two consecutive heartbreakers for Auburn. It took a Matt Flynn fade pass in the final minutes to secure a victory, foreshadowing how the 2008 game between the two would end.

Auburn wasn’t playing for a championship, having dropped two losses earlier in the year. But a War Eagle win that night surely would’ve derailed LSU’s season, which ended in a national title.

BEDLAM (2004): Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma 38-35

Stay with us. The 2004 regular season ended with five undefeated teams: Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah and Boise State. Utah and Boise disqualified themselves by not playing in a major conference. Auburn was ranked second in both the AP and Coaches polls, but the BCS computers held the Tigers at 3rd behind USC and Oklahoma.

The problems of three little polls didn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world for Auburn, and they were shut out of the title game in 2004.

So why is Oklahoma State’s close loss to Oklahoma one of the worst for Auburn? A Sooner loss would’ve placed the Tigers neatly in the BCS title game for sure. But what’s so much worse for the mental health of an Auburn fan are the what-ifs. What if Auburn would’ve scored more style points earlier in the season? What if they played stronger non-conference teams than The Citadel, Louisiana Tech, or UL-Monroe?

Sometimes the bargaining, the questions, and the alone time with one’s thoughts are worse than any loss a fan could stomach. If we’re talking about games where Auburn suffered because of an on-the-field outcome, this one takes the turkey.

On the bright side for Auburn, fans avoided having to watch their team get destroyed by the Trojans, only to see USC’s trophy get revoked years later. Also, Kelly Clarkson’s national anthem was pretty atrocious to boot.

What did we get wrong? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram, and take a listen below to this week’s episode of Throw the Flag.

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