The 2017 Auburn Tigers were rolling. Losing two road games, one to defending national champion Clemson and the other against LSU in Death Valley, didn’t faze Gus Malzahn’s team. Auburn smoked the then-No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs by 23 points and hung 42 on Louisiana-Monroe before closing their regular season against head coach Nick Saban and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
ESPN’s College GameDay was on hand for an Iron Bowl matchup pitting No. 1 versus No. 6 with an SEC Championship Game berth on the line. The stakes couldn’t have been higher, which obviously meant it was time to place a few bets.
“Jalen Hurts challenged me to a bet. I ain’t forgot, Jalen,” Barkley said on WJOX 94.5 radio. “So I’m either gonna wear an Alabama jersey on TV, or he’s gonna have to wear one on campus.”
Jersey for jersey. Navy blue versus Crimson red. Rivalry bragging rights on the line.
2017 Iron Bowl: Alabama vs. Auburn
For Alabama, the 82nd Iron Bowl was a nightmare. Auburn held the ball for over 36 minutes of game time as Tigers running back Kerryon Johnson carried 30 times for 104 yards and touchdown. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham totaled 288 yards of total offense, including punching in the game-sealing touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Auburn handed Alabama its only loss of the season, 26-14.
Hurts, who finished 12-for-22 with 112 passing yards and rushed 18 times for 82 yards, held up his end of the bet with Barkley after the season. I don’t think it was as satisfying as the NBA on TNT analyst originally thought, though.
Alabama QB Jalen Hurts Settles Charles Barkley’s Iron Bowl Bet
“What’s up, Charles? Obviously, I’m a man of my word. First off, I just want to congratulate Auburn and the Auburn family on a successful season this year, but I think it’s time I get to class. I’m running kind of late for English. Grab my book bag and stuff. Roll Tide.”
In case your history is cloudy, Alabama snuck into the College Football Playoff that season as the fourth seed. (Auburn’s loss to Georgia in the SEC title game dropped them out of CFP contention.) The Crimson Tide rolled Clemson, 24-6, in the Sugar Bowl semifinal, then beat Georgia in a legendary 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Hurts getting the last laugh with the CFP national championship trophy in his bag was the ultimate troll job. I don’t think he minded wearing the blue and orange Auburn jersey to settle this score.
Well done, Jalen.