Armageddon in Alabama

SEC Game of the Week
LSU at Alabama
October 29, 2007
By Bob Epling

Don’t miss it … be there!

Les “Mad Hatter” Miles vs. Nick “Satan” Saban in a no-holds barred grudge match.

Red Stick vs. Red Elephants.

“Coon A$%! Cajuns vs. “Bleeping Alabama.”

Matt “Mission Impossible” Flynn vs. John Parker “John Boy” Wilson.

Winner gets a trip to Atlanta and the SEC West heavyweight title belt.

Loser leaves the SEC West race.

Sorry to sound like Gordon Solie, but this game has all the trappings of a big-time pier-sixer, an old-time no-disqualification, sixty-minute time-limit, southern wrestling match.

And, if you don’t know Gordon Solie … of course you know Gordon Solie.

Let’s just hold this one at Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham.

Get Michael Buffer to introduce the teams. Don King can have two sideline passes and leave the field with the winning coach. Instead of CBS, put it on pay-per-view.

Ah … wait a minute. Somebody in the league office might read that last idea and next thing we know this game costs us $49.95.

All hype aside, fifty bucks might be a bargain.

The buildup to this game started in January when Saban agreed to coach Alabama for $32 million, a percentage of a future state lottery, and the stipulation that every third male child born in Alabama be named Nick. Not that the last one needed to be put in writing.

Saban immediately fired a double-barreled salvo toward Baton Rouge.

First, he noted that many of the players on LSU’s Sugar Bowl winning squad had been recruited by … him. He was right, but maybe not so tactful.

Not content to be merely pompous, St. Nick also tried to be funny. His off-color joke recounting certain Cajuns complaining about his taking the Alabama job resulted in Saban issuing a typical modern celebrity apology … which basically said he was sorry if anybody was so stupid as to be offended by his comments. His attempts to be humble and apologetic were a lot funnier than the joke.

The Mad Hatter struck back in February.

At a gathering of roughly 5000 LSU faithful at the Bayou Recruiting Bash, an audience that included children (I mean age-wise), Miles used two profanities including one about having a new rival in “blanking Alabama.” (You can fill in the blank). Smooth coach.

At least you get the sense Miles is having some fun.

I think the last time Saban smiled was after winning the national title in 2003 and that was only when he got to holler at his players to “get off the blankety-blank field before all these blankety-blank Cajuns crush us.”

Although he might not have actually smiled.

Heading into this game, LSU stands in great shape to play for another national title.

If the Tigers roll past the Tide, they will be heavily favored in remaining games against Ole Miss, Arkansas, and an SEC title game with (most likely) Tennessee or Georgia. With only one-loss LSU would be almost a lock for the BCS title game.

For the Tide, the game also presents a great opportunity.

A win would reinforce what everybody already knows … the Tide is rising. While Bama would probably still need to win tough road games at Mississippi State and Auburn to reach the title game, a win over LSU would mark Alabama as the league’s new power in the West and Saban as king of the ring.

I don’t expect that coronation to happen this week.

The Bengal Tigers, while lackadaisical at times, play loose (yes, too loose on occasion), have all that talent, and can see a national championship opening straight in front of them.

The Tide is rising, but will have to wait another year.

Let’s get ready to rrrrrrrruummbblle!

Game Ball: LSU

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