More than a game, Saturday’s blockbuster showdown between No. 1-ranked LSU and No. 2 Alabama is becoming a happening.
You can tell by the people trying to get in to Bryant-Denny Stadium.
NCAA President and former LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert confirmed in an email Thursday that he plans to attend the game at the stadium in Tuscaloosa (7 p.m., CBS).
Alabama says it has credentialed more than 600 media for the game (that includes about 75 for the CBS-TV crew which will be inside and outside the stadium). Former LSU and current San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson has reportedly requested a sideline pass.
ESPN SEC blogger Chris Low reported Wednesday that even former LSU players who played under Alabama’s Nick Saban when he coached the Tigers are calling his office trying to wrangle tickets.
“I tell them, ?I can’t put you in the Alabama section if you’re going to be cheering for LSU,’ “ Saban’s secretary Linda Leoni told ESPN. “They say, ?No, we’re fans of Coach Saban.’ “
Under the lights
Night home games are supposed to be LSU’s advantage, but night road games have also been kind to the Tigers during the Les Miles era.
Under Miles, LSU is 48-4 overall in night games, including an 11-1 record in road night games.
Miles is going for his 99th career win Saturday. He is 98-38 in 11 seasons at LSU and Oklahoma State, including a 70-17 mark since 2005 at LSU.
What would former LSU All-American cornerback Patrick Peterson do against Alabama if he were in defensive coordinator John Chavis’ shoes?
“Man, I would put nine in the box,” Peterson told SECSports.com. “I would put nine in the box and then you show me you can beat me with the pass, basically.”
Asked which of his three games against Alabama was the most memorable, Peterson went with the 2009 game though LSU lost 24-15 at Alabama and Peterson made a sideline interception that was ruled no catch.
“I held their top guy (Julio Jones) to no catches until the fourth quarter when he streaked up the sidelines” for a touchdown, said Peterson, who was out with leg cramps on that play. “Then the ref, when I intercepted a ball, he called no interception.”
LSU won last year in Tiger Stadium, 24-21.
“Every year I played against those guys it was a great, great matchup,” said Peterson, now with the Arizona Cardinals.
Asked for his pick in the game, Peterson replied: “LSU. That is my alma mater. I definitely am not going to pick Alabama. LSU wins in a close game, but it is going to be LSU.”
Bevan, others honored
LSU All-American linebacker George Bevan, Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister and Florida wide receiver and Patterson native Ike Hilliard will be honored as part of the 2011 SEC Football Legends Class, the conference office announced Thursday.
The SEC honors a football great from each conference school annually during the SEC Championship Game weekend in Atlanta, Dec. 2-3.
Bevan played for LSU from 1966-67 and in 1969, earning All-American honors as a senior.
McAllister played at Ole Miss from 1997-2000 before embarking on a nine-year career with the Saints. Hilliard (1994-96) was an All-American his senior season.
Alabama has traditionally dominated the series, which dates back to a 12-6 LSU win in 1895. The Crimson Tide leads 45-24-5, but holds only a slim 10-8 edge in Tuscaloosa.
LSU is 10-4 at Alabama since 1982 in games played in Tuscaloosa and at Legion Field in Birmingham.
Going back to 1982, the series is dead even at 14-14-1. Overall, the road team has won 39 of the 74 meetings between the Tigers and Crimson Tide.