FURTHER REVIEW: LSU, Alabama prepare for monster match
Football fever is fairly typical around this time of year.
Regular season games are just that – regular. It’s easy to get into a bit of a routine, especially by this point in the season.
Nothing seems routine about this weekend’s match of No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama.
It would be easy to get distracted, but as LSU?head coach Les Miles said, “It’s my job to eliminate any of that.” He added he would like to minimize the media requirements on players. Outlets from all over the sports landscape have come calling during the build-up to the game.
“Any time you get into a game that is a big game, the piece that you want to do is to allow your guys to focus and prepare,”?Miles said during a press conference earlier this week.
The pressure has been building on both sides for almost two weeks, as the teams are coming off of open dates. The hype has been similar to a Super Bowl, as the NFL gives teams a two-week buffer between the conference title games and the championship final.
A mere 2:30 p.m. start time would not suffice either. CBS moved the kickoff to a 7 p.m. primetime slot. ESPN will also get into the action with College GameDay broadcasting live on location.
Of course, LSU?and Alabama have lots of history between them. Both are storied Southeastern Conference powerhouses with a bitter ongoing rivalry.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban was once at the helm for the Tigers. His stint from 2000-04 helped lift LSU?to national prominence. After taking a stab at NFL coaching by taking over for the Miami Dolphins, Saban accepted the top spot at Alabama in 2007. He’s had mixed results against his old team, going 2-2 over the last few years.
Coming off of a national championship last season, Saban had the Crimson Tide poised for a repeat performance. It was LSU that put a dagger into those plans with a 24-21 win in Baton Rouge last year.
The tightly-played game came down to a risky call by Miles on a fourth-and-1 at the Alabama 30 in the fourth quarter. A double-pitch reverse to Deangelo Peterson set up the go-ahead touchdown.
So the stage is set. This game has all of the intrigue a college football fan could want.
Two storied programs will add another chapter to their long histories.
Games like this make college football special.
Michael Tortorich is sports editor of the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. His weekly column is available in print and at weeklycitizen.com. He can be found on Twitter at @WeeklyCitizen.