Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

This time, more glory is on the line for LSU, Alabama

QB Jordan Jefferson believes that LSU must be considered the best college football team ever if it beats Alabama.

Getty Images

QB Jordan Jefferson believes that LSU must be considered the best college football team ever if it beats Alabama.

NEW ORLEANS — Coaches Les Miles and Nick Saban are finished with their awkward grip-and-grin photos with each other and the crystal trophy.

Tonight, it's time to get down to business: LSU vs. Alabama, Part II. The BCS championship.

The teams had met two months ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., a so-called "Game of the Century" that sent both teams to the training room the next day and left fans around the country feeling a bit cheated by a defensive struggle in a college game now dominated by point-a-minute offenses.

Neither team made it to the end zone in that first meeting, even with the benefit of extra time. LSU won a battle of field goals, 9-6 in overtime.

Everyone expects more scoring in the rematch, but there's no way it's turning into a back-and-forth shootout.

"I'd expect it to be big-boy football," LSU's Miles said Sunday.

LSU (13-0) has already put up a body of work that clearly establishes it as the nation's best team. In addition to that Nov. 5 win at Alabama, the Tigers have victories over two other major bowl champions, Rose Bowl winner Oregon and Orange Bowl champ West Virginia. In all, they've knocked off eight teams that were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, with only three of those games in Baton Rouge.

"The only team I've told them not to schedule is the Green Bay Packers," Miles quipped.

Alabama (11-1) didn't even make the SEC title game, but the Crimson Tide managed to sneak back into the national title race when Oklahoma State lost late in the season. Perhaps sensing just how fortuitous Alabama was to get a do-over, Saban wants his players to seize the moment.

"I would like for them to focus on the opportunity, not the pressure part," he said, "so that they really are zeroed into the mental practice and the things that when they go out there and play, they're going to be confident in doing their job the way they need to do it to have success."

Alabama likely would have won the first meeting with LSU if not for the performance by its two kickers. Cade Foster botched three field goal attempts, including a 52-yarder in overtime. Jeremy Shelley failed to convert a 49-yarder, far beyond his normal range.

The Alabama offense hopes to make it a little easier on them this time. "We've got to get them closer. We've got to get them kicking extra points. We can't be going for three points every time," Tide lineman William Vlachos said.

Getting close to the end zone against LSU is not easy. The Tigers have two All-America cornerbacks in Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu and Morris Claiborne. The Tigers have allowed the second-fewest points (10.5) and are no lower than sixth in the other three major rankings.

But the Crimson Tide defense led the nation in every major category, allowing just 8.8 points a game.

The first meeting marked a turning point for LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson. He began his senior year with a four-game suspension for his involvement in a bar fight but took over when Jarrett Lee threw a pair of interceptions against the Tide. Jefferson guided the Tigers to their biggest victory and started the final four games.

Miles veered away from a question about whether one more win would stamp LSU as one of the best teams in history.

Jefferson had no such qualms: "If we do win this game, I think we will go down as the greatest team."

BCS matchup

Rushing offense

Att. Yds. Yds/G

Alabama 473 2,638 219.8

LSU 564 2,797 215.2

Passing offense

Att. Cmp. Yds. Yds/G

Alabama 323 214 2,563 213.6

LSU 262 162 2,082 160.2

Total offense

Plays Yds. Yds/G

Alabama 796 5,201 433.4

LSU 826 4,879 375.3

Rushing defense

Att. Yds. Yds/G

Alabama 359 899 74.9

LSU 425 1,111 85.5

Passing defense

Att. Cmp. Yds. TDs

Alabama 317 153 1,396 6

LSU 403 206 2,166 7

Total defense

Plays Yds. Yds/G

Alabama 676 2,295 191.2

LSU 828 3,277 252.0

This time, more glory is on the line for LSU, Alabama 01/08/12 [Last modified: Sunday, January 8, 2012 9:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies anxious to get back on track


    ST. PETERSBURG — Having already played four matches in less than two weeks' time, the Rowdies have to turn around again on short rest to host Saint Louis FC today.

    And they're actually glad about it.

  2. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  3. State baseball: Bishop McLaughlin bows out in Class 3A semifinals


    FORT MYERS — One inning into Bishop McLaughlin's Class 3A state semifinal against Fort Myers Canterbury, things could not have gone much better for the Hurricanes. They grabbed a quick one-run lead and Canterbury ace Sam Keating was forced out of the game with a nagging neck injury.

     Chris Berglund (18) of Bishop McLaughlin, at bat during second inning of the FHSAA class 3A semi-final on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Canterbury, Fort Myers, defeated Bishop 7 to 4. Canterbury will play in the 3A championship tomorrow.
  4. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead


    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    DeSean Jackson, a needed game-breaker for Bucs who signed a $33.5 million deal, welcomes big expectations.
  5. Video preview: Rays open tough road trip facing Twins tonight


    After splitting a four-game series against the Angels to wrap up a winning homestand, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day roadtrip with the first game of the weekend series with the Twins: