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Earthquakes, Barn Burners and Cigars: Why There Is Still A Rivalry (And Hatred) With Auburn

While it may be one of the lesser rivalries of LSU, the Tigers in Alabama are still a hated foe.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly every earthquake is an Earth-made phenomenon caused by a number of geographic variables.  However, when it comes to an SEC rivalry, a game that finishes 7-6 can be the cause of a seismograph reading.  A touchdown pass from Tommy Hodson to Eddie Fuller to upset #4 Auburn 7-6 in the waning seconds of the 1988 contest between the two teams registered as an earthquake at LSU’s Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex due to the eruption from the fans following the TD reception.  Some may say this one game is where this rivalry began to "heat" up.

In actuality, the Earthquake Game was just the beginning when a decade later, the Auburn basketball arena, nicknamed the Barn, caught fire due to a nearby tailgater's grill and went up in flames as LSU pulled off a 19-15 victory in Jordan Hare Stadium right next door. The definition of a Barn burner took full meaning in Alabama that night.

Since then, the hatred of the Tiger team in Alabama has only increased with the LSU faithful:

  • 1999: Auburn players thought it would be fun to celebrate a 41-7 win and coach Tommy Tuberville's birthday by smoking cigars along with their beloved coach on the field of Tiger Stadium.  LSU players hated the action.  LSU fans despised Tuberville from then on.  And Karma bit Auburn in the ass since they have yet to win another game in Tiger Stadium since the incident.  Regardless, the stunt has never sat well with the LSU fans.

  • 2001: After being pushed back due to the attacks on 9/11, the Auburn Tigers figured to add some fuel to the cigar fire by stomping on the eye at midfield before the game, drawing a penalty in the process.  Incensed, LSU kicked an onside kick which they recovered, Michael Clayton laid out Roderick Hood on the following kickoff, and even the band got into the fun.  Auburn kicker Damon Duvall got into with some band members during halftime when they thought the kicker was intruding on their performance.  Karma bit again as Duval would go on to miss his only attempt that second half.  Maybe he did need the extra practice after all.

  • 2004: A questionable personal foul on Ronnie Prude following a missed extra point gave Auburn kicker John Vaughn another chance, which he made, and wound up winning 10-9.  Another bit of gasoline added to the LSU fan's hatred fire towards Auburn.

  • 2005: The man that got a second chance in 2004 got a good solid helping of Karma for Auburn the next year in 2005 as Josh Vaughn would go on to miss FIVE field goals, helping LSU to a 24-17 victory and what would wind up being the deciding factor in LSU going to the SEC Championship game.  LSU would unfortunately lose that game to Georgia, but it sure felt nice to stick in the craw of Auburn as LSU went to the Georgia Dome for that conference title game.

  • 2006: And finally, the game that will always be remembered in LSU infamy.  Numerous questionable and blatant missed calls led LSU to file an SEC complaint against the officiating crew.  The SEC stood by their crappy officials that game, Auburn walked away with an even crappier 7-3 score and set that LSU fan hatred fire towards Auburn ablaze.

  • 2007: Ah, the memories. A quick history lesson about myself: I did graduate from Texas A&M, but don't worry, there isn't enough Aggie Kool-Aid in the world to change my blood from bleeding purple & gold.  A&M had an away game that week and surprisingly, at the age of 21, I had never been to an LSU game in Baton Rouge. Thanks to some connections from my father, me and his friends were ushered into the student section, ten rows up from the field.  What happened that game, changed me and was a noise that I never heard at Kyle Field.  It was the first true taste of the Mad Hatter LSU fans got from Les Miles. A devastating, cheap and dirty chop block on Glenn Dorsey from Chaz Ramsey would knock him out the game and change his career forever, firing up the fans. Dropped passes, one even leading to an interception, made it seem like that night wasn't ours. But with time running down, LSU losing 24-23, and conventional wisdom would have been to try a field goal for the win, Les did the unthinkable and called a pass to Demetrius Byrd in the corner of the endzone, right in front of the student section. The pass was thrown beautifully, Byrd came down with it with only ONE second left, and the place erupted. It was a sound that would never be replicated during my time at A&M and was the greatest live sports moment I had ever witnessed at the time.

While Tommy is long gone and 2006 does seem a good while ago, a lot of those images are seared in the back of the LSU faithful's heads forever.  Since then however, LSU has been winners of 5 of their last 6 games against Auburn, the one loss coming during Auburn's national championship run.  LSU has won the last two games against Auburn in Baton Rouge by 21 and 35 points respectively, and will be looking to ensure Auburn poses no threat after LSU's ugly 12-10 win last year.

Saturday will be a night game, giving those rowdy LSU fans more time to tailgate, more time to consume alcoholic beverages, and more time to get even more pissed off at the past transgressions in the history of this belittled rivalry. With the offense running like the well-oiled machine it has looked in the first three games, and a young defense looking to finally find a solid state, the LSU fans shouldn't a worry that the game on Saturday will be yet another footnote in the growing hatred towards the Tiger team from Alabama