Tree-shaded streets, mom-and-pop stores and college football on Saturdays. While one of the South's most iconic college towns gets updated and modernized with new restaurants and stores, the football is as traditionally-rich as ever. Auburn, Alabama, ranks 26th on our Top 100 College Football Towns of America countdown.
To celebrate 100 days until the start of the college football season, HERO Sports is counting down the Top 100 FBS College Football Towns in America. Each day, through Aug. 24, a new city will be revealed. We will analyze the city, the program, the good and bad of the city as well as the bottom line. If you got a problem, @me on Twitter.
25. Auburn, Alabama – Auburn
[credit]Auburn was one win away from the college football playoff in 2017. This season, expectations are to do even better. (Photo: Associated Press)[/credit]
Auburn has been a staple of the national landscape in college football since former head coach Ralph Jordan brought stability to the program for three decades in the 50s, 60s and 70s. One-half of their home stadium's namesake, coach Jordan won 176 games and one national championship. Unfortunately for Auburn, a guy named Bear Bryant won four titles at Alabama during that same time period.
Auburn currently holds the last laugh, however, winning the Iron Bowl in 2017. In 2018, the Tigers will go as far as Jarrett Stidham can sling it. Stidham owned the best completion percentage in the SEC, and sixth nationally. He also finished second in the SEC with 3,158 yards passing. He and the Tigers will have their hands full, however. They face Washington in week one in Atlanta, then finish off the year with Georgia and Alabama on the road in a three-week stretch.
Last year, Auburn was the only team to beat both the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide, the national championship game finalist. Can they do it again?
Only 63,000 people live in the city of Auburn, making it the archetypal small college town. Yet, with its nationally prominent university and wildly successful football program, there is nothing diminutive about Auburn, Alabama.
Auburn has successfully created a self-sufficient bubble, where the majority of stores and restaurants are Auburn-born-and-bred and carry with them the character that makes the place so unique. Places like Big Blue Bagel & Deli and Quixote's are southern staples, while Toomer's Drugs is the iconic monument that sets the stage as the congregation point for thousands of Tiger fans after a game day win.
While draping homes with toilet paper has been a longtime prank carried out by adolescents for generations, there is nothing sinister or mischievous about "rolling the corner."
It is one of the greatest traditions in college football.
It is literally a college town. There is nothing else there besides the university. Which can be great, but also very limiting.
If you want an authentic college town experience, there may be no better place to visit in the fall than Auburn, Alabama, outside of maybe Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but that's for another day.