By: Ryan Mace
LSU will be looking to take revenge for last year’s colossal National Championship between SEC Western Division rivals, as they will face No. 1 Alabama this Saturday night in Death Valley.
The No. 5 Tigers (7-1, 3-1) say they are ready to make a stand after the 21-0 loss in the BCS National Championship Game that followed their 9-6 overtime win at Alabama in the regular season.
”There are a lot of scars from that national championship game,” LSU defensive tackle Bennie Logan said. ”You will see it on the field. The loss in the national championship game had a big impact on us. Going into last season, we had set goals like winning the national championship. Bama took that from us. They took that national championship ring. We want to show the world that we have bounced back from that loss.”
This game isn’t bringing in the big-time publicity that it did last season, but the stakes are just the same. Win and you still have a shot at the SEC and National Championships. Lose and your dreams of championship glory are likely gone.
Alabama (8-0, 5-0) is looking for revenge as well, as they want to win the SEC and National Championship this season.
”LSU is the SEC championship team or whatever, and not us, we’re just the national championship team,” Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood said. ”And that’s one of our goals, to be the SEC championship team.”
Both Alabama and LSU’s players are trying to not get caught up in the hype of this game, but it’s very difficult. Both teams have a combined three losses in the past two seasons, with two of them coming in head-to-head match-ups.
Alabama coach Nick Saban saw his players get a little bit too amped before last year’s regular season meeting, when both teams had a bye week prior to the game.
”When you play in games like this, everybody would say it’s really critical you play your best in a game like this,” Saban said. ”But the formula and the recipe for what that is doesn’t really change. Even though you’d like to change it, and put a little more sugar in the cake to make it taste better, it usually makes it taste worse.”
Alabama is coming off of a win over No. 17 Mississippi State 38-7, in a game between undefeated SEC West teams, while LSU had a week off to prepare for top-ranked Bama.
LSU Head Coach Les Miles said he came away impressed after the Tide was able to dominate it’s eighth opponent of the year.
”I watched every snap of the Alabama-Mississippi State game Saturday,” Miles said. ”It looked just as bad on the coach’s copy. That Alabama team is pretty good. They look like the number one team in the country. Coach Saban has done a great job there. Their team is deserving to be the number one team in the country. I look forward to playing that team.”
With both teams playing at such high levels coming into this game, the fans are as energized as ever, especially after two meetings last season.
”I’m pretty sure they hate us because of what happened last year and stuff like that,” Norwood said.
LSU linebacker Kevin Minter was surprised by how much ”people hate Bama down here.”
”Being around the students and the fans, there is real genuine hate,” Minter said. ”All the fans worry about is us winning that game.”
LSU 20 Alabama 17