There is never a really easy trip to Death Valley when you have a date with the Bayou Bengals.
For No. 5 Alabama (7-1, 4-1), this Saturday’s contest with the LSU Tigers means the difference between what can be and what could have been.
A win and the Crimson Tide remain in the picture for another national championship. A loss and ‘Bama heads back to Tuscaloosa knowing someone else will hoist the trophy come Jan. 10, 2011 in Glendale, Ariz.
LSU (7-1, 4-1), which is coming off of an open date like the Crimson Tide, will look to rebound following its loss two weeks ago to No. 2 Auburn. Unlike Alabama, LSU does not control its own destiny, needing help along the way if it hopes to play for both an SEC title and national championship down the road.
Alabama received help last weekend while not even playing, as both Michigan State and Missouri (were ranked ahead of ‘Bama at the time), went down to defeat at the hands of Iowa and Nebraska, respectively.
“Obviously we’re very pleased and happy with what happened Saturday,” Tide quarterback Greg McElroy told the media earlier in the week. “I think I was screaming louder for Nebraska and USC and Iowa … I was rooting for those teams as hard as ever.”
Never one to take the easy road, Alabama runs yet another gauntlet this season to wind down the campaign.
The Tide’s remaining SEC West opponents are a combined 23-3. LSU and the league’s top defense and Cam Newton-led Auburn (Nov. 26) and the No. 1 offense are still to come, along with an improving Mississippi State team (Nov. 13).
“I think there’s a lot of other people probably in the same boat, so it’s who can take care of their business the best down the road,” Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban commented earlier this week. “What we control is how we play. That’s the most important thing that we want to be able to focus on. That’s why we need everybody’s best at this time of the year.
While Alabama does control its own destiny, getting out of Death Valley with a ‘W’ Saturday afternoon will be a major task to say the least.
FIFTH QUARTER: The game will be televised by CBS beginning at 2:30 p.m. (Central Time). Alabama leads the all-time series 45-23-5, including an impressive 25-8-2 record in Baton Rouge. ‘Bama has won two straight in the series after having lost five in a row to the Tigers. Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban led LSU to a national championship prior to landing in Tuscaloosa. Under Saban, ‘Bama has won a national title, an SEC title and a pair of SEC Western Division championships. Alabama will host Mississippi State on Nov. 13, with kickoff set for 6:15 p.m. (Central Time).
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Written by Dave Thomas