Saturday, August 2, 2014
The Father of Auburn Football Backs the Tide
The founder of Auburn football, Dr. George Petrie, was interviewed at an Atlanta conference about his thoughts on the two teams and was sanguine about the state of affairs at the two programs. Although retired from athletics, the 68-year-old Petrie continued to teach history and remained dean of Auburn's graduate school.
"Alabama has the best football team in the country, except Minnesota. Auburn's one consolation this year is they didn't have to play Alabama."
Alabama went on to beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl, 29-13, and claimed the national championship. Minnesota, who were also undefeated, did not play in a bowl game and also claimed the title.
Despite the conciliatory tone, Petrie remained adamantly opposed to a renewal of the rivalry that had been curtailed in 1907 following a bitter accusations between the two teams. The two schools, he insisted, were against it.
"The state legislature can't make us play as has been suggested. For that matter we couldn't make the boys play if they didn't want to."
In 1947 the Alabama legislature did decreed the rivalry resume -- and then backed it up by threatening to pull funding to the schools. After a four-decade hiatus, Alabama and Auburn met again on the gridiron the following year.