Tale of the Tigers

Comparing Missouri and Auburn on and off the field

Updated: 2013-12-07T01:27:44Z

By VAHE GREGORIAN

The Kansas City Star

Tale of the tape

We know both Missouri and Auburn are the Tigers, but here are some facts about each school you might not have realized:

Missouri Auburn
In 1839, after 900 citizens of Boone County pledged $117,921 in cash and land to win the bid for the new state university FoundedIn 1856 as East Alabama Male College, the first of four names for the school over the years
Gary Pinkel, 174-99-1 overall and 101-62 at Missouri CoachGus Malzahn, 20-4 overall and 11-1 at Auburn
Two Years in SECCharter member in 1933
2-6 Last season’s SEC record0-8
Slim Preseason prospect of playing in SEC title gameNone
None National championshipsTwo (1957, 2010)
1960 in the Big Eight Last outright conference title2010
History of bizarre bad luck, including the Fifth Down game (1990) and The Fleakicker (1997) Trending national angle entering the gameRemarkable fortune the last two games in the form of the The Prayer at Jordan-Hare and The Kick Six
Truman the Tiger, named in 1984 for Missouri-born Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States MascotAubie the Tiger, who was hatched in 1979 and like his MU counterpart has been recognized nationally multiple times
MU has been known as the Tigers since its first football team was formed in 1890. The name was adopted in recognition of a home guard of Columbia citizens mobilized in 1854 to save the town from a rumored raid by Bloody Bill Anderson and his guerillas. Whether the gang was deterred or just detoured for other reasons, it never arrived. NicknameOfficially, it’s the Tigers, though the War Eagle thing makes for some confusion since a golden eagle appears at every Auburn home game. According to legend, it harkens to a Civil War veteran attending the first Auburn-Georgia game in 1892 with an eagle he had found on a battlefield. Late in the game, writes Auburn, “the eagle suddenly broke free and began majestically circling the playing field. As the eagle soared, Auburn began a steady march toward the Georgia end zone for a thrilling victory. Elated at their team’s play and taking the bird’s presence as an omen of success, Auburn students and fans began to yell ‘War Eagle’ to spur on their team.” Alas, the eagle then took a sudden dive, crashed into the ground and died. But “the battle cry ‘War Eagle’ lived on to become a symbol of the proud Auburn spirit.”
Taking applications … but forever Kansas, no matter how long it takes for them to meet again. Bitter rivalAlabama, of course, manifested in insanity once again last week after an Alabama woman was alleged to have shot another woman for not being upset enough at the loss to Auburn. Like MU-KU now, this series had a hiatus of its own: Ostensibly over a dispute about per diems, the schools didn’t play for 41 years until the series was resumed in 1948.
Don Faurot in 1941 tinkered with the single wing offense and drew up the Split-T. Thus was born the option, a bedrock of football ever since. Faurot had played basketball at MU, which he once told The Des Moines Register inspired his thinking: Since two-on-one breaks forced defenders to make decisions, he said, “that made me wonder if the same thing couldn’t be done in football.” Faurot might have earned more national recognition if not for two of his protégés, Bud Wilkinson and Jim Tatum, who built acclaimed programs on that philosophy and against whom he was 0-15. InnovationJohn Heisman, for whom that trophy is named, coached what was then known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute from 1895-1899. Heisman had a profound influence on the embryonic stages of football, including his push to legalize the forward pass in 1906, equipment development and the notion of the center snap and vocal count signals such as “hike” or “hut.” He also created the so-called Heisman shift, a precursor of the T-formation.
No winners and just three in the top 10 of voting: Paul Christman (3rd in 1939), Chase Daniel (4th in 2007) and Danny LaRose (8th in 1960). Heisman historyAuburn has produced three winners: Pat Sullivan (1971), Bo Jackson (1985) and Cam Newton (2010).
The Columns: On The Quad adjacent to Jesse Hall, the six Ionic columns now are iconic, too, after surviving an 1892 fire at the first building on campus. There is no more picturesque scene at Mizzou. And maybe it never looked better than it did on Oct. 23, 2010, when MU set what was at least a then-record (approximately 18,000) for fans at ESPN’s GameDay anchor site before Mizzou went on to beat then-BCS No. 1 Oklahoma that night. Rallying landmarkToomer’s Corner, considered by the city as “the nexus of campus and city life” and the epicenter of celebration for all Auburn victories, which would prompt “rolling Toomer’s Corner,” specifically the oak trees. The scene and Auburn fans suffered from the 130-year-old trees being poisoned by an Alabama fan in 2010 and being removed last spring.
Walmart founder Sam Walton, cartoonist and KC native Mort Walker, actor Brad Pitt (did not graduate) Famous studentsBasketball player Charles Barkley (did not graduate), musician Jimmy Buffett (did not graduate), author Anne Rivers Siddons

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