Hard to contain anticipation of Bama-LSU in light of recent history
OK, it’s just over a week away now. Surely, it’s OK to start thinking about LSU now, right?
This is LSU after all. Heck, when’s the last time an Alabama-LSU football game hasn’t been worthy of a little extra attention?
It seems like whenever these two SEC Western Division heavyweights meet there’s plenty on the line, and the finish has fans — from both sides — on the edge of their seats. At least that’s how the clashes have been of late. Since 2008 anyway.
Remember that ’08 game in Baton Rouge? That 27-21 overtime thriller John Parker Wilson and the rest of the Tide claimed to keep their undefeated season alive? That Alabama win snapped a five-game losing skid to LSU, going back to 2002.
And it rekindled the rivalry in the process.
In 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Greg McElroy and the Tide were undefeated heading into that matchup as well and needed a late 73-yard Julio Jones TD catch to survive that one, 24-15. In 2010, it was LSU’s turn to pull out a close one, winning 24-21 in Baton Rouge, thanks in big part to an end-around Les Miles dialed up on fourth down to keep LSU’s winning drive alive.
Then came the two super-hyped one-versus-two matchups during the 2011 season. LSU took the first one in Tuscaloosa — a defensive struggle that ended 9-6 in overtime. Alabama took the second one in New Orleans — a 21-0 beatdown in the BCS national title game, the only one-sided affair between the two squads in the past five years and it ironically occurred on the biggest stage of all.
Last year in Baton Rouge? It looked like No. 5 LSU had the upset of top-ranked Alabama in the bag. That was until the final 51 seconds of the game when AJ McCarron hit T.J. Yeldon on a screen pass that Yeldon took 28 yards for the winning score. Alabama 21, LSU 17.
You’d think Ridley Scott or someone would have turned the recent Alabama-LSU football series into an epic movie by now. It’s not like the script for it hasn’t already been written and the video footage already shot.
“Every year past the first year we’ve been here (2007), they’ve had a really good team, they’ve got a really good program, their coaching staff — coach (Les) Miles — does a great job of recruiting and developing players,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said this week. “So we have a tremendous amount of respect for (LSU) being one of the most challenging opponents that we have in this league.
“The fact that they’ve been really, really good and that we’ve been pretty good makes this game have a tremendous amount of significance to both teams. Both teams are going to play hard throughout the game and try to play their best. It’s a great game, and it’s a game that players on both sides probably look forward to. It’s a tremendous challenge.”
Sure, it’s still eight days away. But if this year’s Alabama-LSU tilt is anything like recent years — and it certainly has all the ingredients to be — there’s good reason to start looking forward to it now.
No. 1 Alabama (8-0 overall, 5-0 in SEC) and No. 13 LSU (7-2, 3-2) — both of which have byes this Saturday — are set to meet on Nov. 9 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Central. CBS will televise the game.
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