There is a bit of a cottage industry here at SB Nation in making fun of people for being upset that their team lost. I'm not a huge fan of it, even though I have to admit that it can be really funny to see the ways fans can invent truly ambitious, unique combination of curse words. The Jackson Pollack of profanity is out there, and we will find him.
My main problem with it is that it violates the basic rule of comedy about never punching down. You shouldn't make fun of the weak, you should make fun of the strong. Otherwise, you're just a mean-spirited jerk. And there's enough mean-spirited jerks in the world, there's no need to swell their ranks. My other major problem with it is that passion is what's great about sports, and college sports specifically. You can't have that euphoric joy without a little taste of bitter defeat. Now, you shouldn't hang on to that anger and go out and shoot your neighbor over the game, but passion is what makes us fans. It's not a bad thing to be emotionally invested in your team, so long as you can let go and go to work the next day without committing a crime.
It seems Alabama fans have a little bit of trouble with that last part, so much so that RBR wrote an article asking whether the SEC should do away with the Iron Bowl. Now, like I said, I don't much like the column devoted to mocking another team's pain of losing, but I'll make an exception here because of the way they shine the Gump Beacon to come troll here in droves.*
*Ed. Note: This is not an invitation to go troll their thread. Stop that. If they want to be insecure little babies over here trying to get us to bow down and swear fidelity to the One True Bama, that's their business, but be the bigger person. Have a cup of gumbo, turn the other cheek, and let them be unhappy on their own. They don't need our help.
Let me first answer the question whether we should cancel the Iron Bowl: No. Of course not. I'm sorry that Alabama fans can't behave themselves, but if we're going to cancel all the games that resulted in Bama fans engaging in criminal activity... well, their schedule strength would be even worse.
I did think it was cute that RBR tried to prove that the Iron Bowl has been a mismatch recently because, despite the 4-3 record, Bama has actually outscored Auburn by a nearly two to one margin in that span. Those big margin victories certainly count more, right? Surely, you get to carry those points over at the very least.
No, the Iron Bowl isn't really a rivalry because Auburn has won nearly half of the time against Saban. The real rival is certainly that Tennessee team that has lost six games to Bama in a row. Heck, one of them was even close! That's the rivalry worth preserving, and the one that really gets the Bama fan's mojo moving.
It was reading this article that it suddenly struck me - LSU is now Alabama's biggest rival. Go back and read the article again. It kicks off with a reference to "butthurt", the Alabama fan's favorite bon mot, usually aimed at LSU fans. Even their argument for moving the schedules around has the requisite backhanded slap at LSU.
Hey, I appreciate that. That's what rivals do. They take petty potshots at their rivals that are completely unrelated to the topic at hand. When you have a primary rival, you just can't help yourself.
LSU fans have never really had that primary rival. OK, we used to back in the 1950s and 60s, when it was Ole Miss. My mom's hatred for Ole Miss is as natural as breathing. But as the rivalry grew less competitive over the years, the actual hatred for Ole Miss in the younger generation subsided. I don't doubt Ole Miss still really hates us, but LSU fans have largely moved on to a sort of free-flowing hate towards everyone.
However, in the past decade, that hate has become more and more focused on Bama. We've complained about it here, that our fans have gotten too wrapped up in defining the season by one game. What escaped our notice is that Bama fans were largely doing the same thing.
Why do you think they congregate on here to insist on their awesomeness? Why do they care if a bunch of "butthurt" LSU fans don't like their team? And it's not just the rank and file fans, it's their editorial staff. What's interesting is that they spend more time over here than over at the Auburn site. That's because they are focused on us, just as much as we have been focused on them.
No, we shouldn't cancel the Iron Bowl, but if Bama fans are looking to replace their primary rival, it may have already happened unconsciously. I'm just as surprised as you are. We haven't been in a primary reciprocal rivalry in such a long time, I don't know how we're supposed to do it.
I'll ask my mom, and just find and replace Ole Miss with Bama. It's nice to know Bama cares. I guess I'll update my Christmas card list.