It has been 50 years since two top-five teams have met at Tiger Stadium, so it's safe to say that when No. 1 Florida and No. 4 LSU meet tonight, Baton Rouge, La., will be rocking. Thousands are expected in and around Tiger Stadium — in addition to those who actually have tickets. To say it's tough to play at Tiger Stadium at night is an understatement. The Gators have lost their past two games there. But they aren't alone. LSU has won 32 consecutive Saturday night home games. Here's what some of the top coaches in the SEC had to say about how tough it is to face LSU in Tiger Stadium:
Alabama coach Nick Saban
(former LSU coach):
"I was aware of it. I forget what year it was, I think maybe it was 1995, we played LSU when I was at Michigan State in Shreveport (La.) in the Independence Bowl. I've never seen anything like it. Those fans took me by surprise being an opposing coach. So my expectation (when he arrived at LSU) was that those fans were really good fans and they would create problems for the opposition, and they certainly did. Their positive energy and attitude certainly affected our ability to be successful there. They were a part of the team, and they knew it, and they made a difference when we played at home. It's always important to have that kind of support."
Florida coach Urban Meyer
"What makes the environment so tough is really good players on the other side. That's what makes it really tough. And obviously there is tremendous fan support — and it's loud. I think what makes environments really tough is the quality of the personnel on the other team, and I think Baton Rouge is probably one of the toughest places I've ever been."
Georgia coach Mark Richt
"Oh yeah, are you kidding me (an intimidating environment)? They've got wonderful tradition and atmosphere at LSU, and people know it. When they roll them buses in town, people (opponents) know where they're at. And I think the crowd is fantastic. At Florida State, I was part of a team that played there at night. I think everybody's crowd intensifies at night, but it's hard to get much crazier than a daytime LSU crowd."
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt
"I know firsthand what the athletes can do and how they perform, so there's an awesome respect there. So whenever you approach that game, very quickly our players and coaches realize you're playing real men. Guys that can run, guys that can hit, and they know how to play ball. There's great tradition down there, tremendous tradition. And you just respect the program."
LSU coach Les Miles
"I can tell you there is no finer stadium to play in. I can tell you that the traditions that they place in that stadium like when they announce that it's Saturday night in Death Valley, when that band plays, when that crowd stands and cheers for the Tigers, I don't know if there is any place like it in America. Now, that certainly enhances the home-team advantage, and our guys play to the passion of that stadium and become very competitive in that environment. The night in Tiger Stadium, I think there's an enthusiasm that takes place on game day that puts our fans in great form, starting that evening. I don't know, there's something special about that night sky in Tiger Stadium, and our team notices it."