Auburn’s eagle stadium flight was pitted against LSU’s tiger Mike VI in the first round of the tournament.
Auburn’s War Eagle tradition has a tremendous history, but the polls on SportsNation ended in favor of another.
The polls closed on Tuesday for the first round, with Auburn defeated by a narrow margin of 46 percent to 54 percent.
EA Sports is partnering with SportsNation to give fans the ability to vote for their favorite football traditions.
The 16 traditions competing will all be included in the upcoming release of EA’s “NCAA Football ‘12” video game.
“The traditions we have added this year are kind of the bigger traditions as far as scale and animations,” said Randy Chase, product marketing manager of EA Sports. “You’re always optimizing memory to free up space so that you can add some more.
“Adding things like the War Eagle or the Buffalo from Colorado, all of those things are complex animations, and so we were able to add those this year.”
The animations are approximately 25-seconds long and feature a snippet of the tradition. Auburn’s eagle “Nova” is shown flying around the stadium as it would appear on game day.
“Auburn got into the 25 because we added the War Eagle this year, and we also had good participation from the Auburn fans,” Chase said. “So we definitely wanted them in the competition.”
The War Eagle tradition is still a mystery to some related with the Auburn family, because the story has multiple origins.
According to the Special Collections and archives of Ralph Brown Draughon Library, there are two consistent stories about the War Eagle origin that have been passed along throughout Auburn history.
The first, dating back to the Civil War era, tells that a veteran of the war and student of Auburn was in attendance of the game between Auburn and Georgia in 1892.
His pet eagle, which was found on the battlefield, broke free and circled the stadium leading the crowd to cheer “War Eagle” as Auburn took victory over Georgia.
The latter occurred during a pep rally at Langdon Hall in 1913.
“If we are going to win this game, we’ll have to get out there and fight, because this means war,” Cheerleader Gus Craydon told the crowd.
A metallic eagle on a military uniform a student was wearing fell to the ground, and when he recovered the eagle he lifted it exclaiming, ‘it’s a War Eagle!’
The Civil War story seems to be more fable than fact, while the story of the pep rally stands true.
Either way, the War Eagle has become an enormous part of Auburn tradition, making its way on the field before each home game.
“The way it confuses other people, because other people cannot bring themselves to understand the concept of War Eagle,” said John Varner of Special Collections and archives. “Basically it’s not something that you explain to someone, it’s something you have to feel and experience.
“Auburn people have a commonality of experience.”
Auburn currently has its seventh eagle named “Nova.” Auburn’s eagles date back as far as 1892, with War Eagle I.
“The average life span of an eagle can be 20 to 30 years, and they have been known to live over 40,” said Marianne Hudson, raptor specialist. “We can’t predict how long he (Nova) will be War Eagle. Hopefully it will be a long time.”
Although the voting didn’t turn out in Auburn’s favor, the athletic department was proud to be involved.
“It’s terrific that college football fans take part in something like this in the middle of June,” said Jon Sirico, marketing director for Auburn athletics. “It just shows how passionate they are about their schools and about the game of college football.”