There are acts of rivalry -- stealing the other school's mascot, or a creative bit of graffiti here or there -- that are funny. This isn't one of them.
Auburn University today confirmed that an herbicide commonly used to kill trees was deliberately applied in lethal amounts to the soil around the Toomer's Corner live oaks on campus, and there is little chance to save the trees. ...
The university learned that a caller to The Paul Finebaum Show, a nationally syndicated radio show based in Birmingham, on Jan. 27, claimed he had applied the herbicide.
Long story short, the call to Finebaum -- which is maybe the most bizarre part of this entire affair -- prompted testing that was sent to an Alabama lab that caught fire, then to a lab at Mississsippi State. I realize it's getting harder to keep from laughing at this, but aside from the Keystone Kops element, this is an attack on the tradition of Toomer's Corner, and an attack on all traditions across the SEC.
The police are investigating, and the campus is going to try to save the trees, but it doesn't look good in either case. This wasn't the act of a sports fan, and it wasn't brave. It was the act of someone with no regard for others and a skewed sense of priorities, working in the dark of the night so they wouldn't get caught.
That's not rivalry; it's self-absorbed cowardice. Too bad someone didn't know the difference.