For the past two years, the trees have become a symbol not so much of decades of celebrations but of the feudal hatred that is the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. Longtime Crimson Tide fan Harvey Updyke Jr. pleaded guilty on March 22 to poisoning the trees after the 2010 Iron Bowl, when Cam Newton led Auburn to the national title — and an Iron Bowl comeback from a 24-0 deficit.
The Tide has won the other three BCS championships over the state's four-year stranglehold on the crystal trophy.
Auburn had sold 33,000 tickets to the spring game by Friday afternoon, spokesman Kirk Sampson said. He added that most fans at the Tigers' spring games are traditionally walk-ups. Last year's announced crowd was just over 43,000, many of whom probably made the 10-minute stroll to Toomer's Corner at some point.
Toomer's Corner is the bustling connecting point of campus and community, where Toomer's Drugs serves up lemonade and lunch at the old-fashioned counter and the trees serve as a gateway.
The celebratory rollings date back at least 40 years, starting with the now-underground wires that used to criss-cross the corner and switching to the trees some three decades ago, according to retired Auburn athletic director David Housel.
Housel remembers being at Toomer's Corner to celebrate quarterback Pat Sullivan winning the Heisman Trophy on Nov. 1, 1971. Toilet paper wasn't really part of the party.
Judge sides with sons about Jim Thorpe's remains
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The two surviving children of sports great Jim Thorpe won a critical ruling Friday in federal court that could clear the way for his remains to be removed from a mausoleum in the Pennsylvania town that bears his name and reinterred on American Indian land in Oklahoma.
U.S. District Judge Richard Caputo ruled in favor of sons Bill and Richard Thorpe and against Jim Thorpe borough in northeastern Pennsylvania, saying the town itself amounts to a museum under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.