When is a college football game bigger than just a game? When ESPN requests 48 credentials, which is in addition to those requested by the local ESPN radio affiliate and the local ESPN-branded team website. In fact, the Worldwide Leader will devote every page of an upcoming edition of ESPN The Magazine to this year’s LSU-Alabama tilt. And oh yeah, the gang from ESPN’s College Gameday will also be broadcasting live from Baton Rouge all day Saturday.
Such is what this SEC rivalry has developed into – a super-hyped, over-analyzed week of build-up that no game can ever really live up to. But there are huge stakes surrounding this bayou showdown, and each team knows this game will have huge ramifications on the ultimate outcome of this season.
For the Crimson Tide, this contest represents the biggest speed bump in their race for a second straight national championship and a third in four seasons. For LSU, Saturday’s game provides an opportunity for the Tigers to take back the swagger that was ripped from their souls in January’s 21-0 debacle in the national championship game. LSU has not quite been the same since, despite still being one of the elite teams in college football.
Even bigger, the SEC’s streak of six straight national championships could be in jeopardy Saturday night. If the Tigers can pull off the upset, it could land a major blow to the SEC’s chances for a seventh straight championship, even if one or both teams were to win out the remainder of the season. That’s heady stuff, but if the Tigers are to pull the upset, it will take another dominant defensive effort and an offensive output unlike any we have seen from that struggling unit this season.
Victories for visiting teams on a Saturday night in Death Valley are about as rare as a still undecided voter in Tuesday’s upcoming presidential election. But Nick Saban has his program on an unprecedented roll that even the Tiger Stadium mystique will be hard-pressed to derail. It all sets up for an epic showdown between the Tigers and the Tide. Let the hype begin.
#1 ALABAMA vs #5 LSU
SAT. NOV 3 – 7:00PM / CBS