The game between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama on Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., will kick off at 7 p.m. and be televised on CBS, the network announced Sunday afternoon.
The game was originally expected to be played in CBS’ traditional window at 2:30 p.m., but the prospect of the first 1-2 matchup in Southeastern Conference regular-season history led the network to explore the possibility of moving the game to prime time. Typically, CBS televises just one prime-time SEC game per season, and that slot was used for the Alabama-Florida game Oct. 1.
The move to prime time necessitated some negotiations with ESPN, which has a prime-time deal with the SEC. USA Today quoted ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys as saying his network received “future scheduling considerations for next season” in the deal. The newspaper also reported a “ripple effect” of the move.
The Nov. 5 Army-Air Force game, which had been scheduled for NBC’s Versus cable channel, will move into the 2:30 p.m. slot vacated by LSU-Alabama, and Versus will get the Nov. 19 Colorado State-TCU game from the CBS Sports Network cable channel.
The deal was completed less than 24 hours after the Tigers and Crimson Tide both moved to 8-0 with decisive victories Saturday. LSU beat then-No. 19 Auburn 45-10 in Tiger Stadium, and Alabama beat Tennessee 37-6 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Tigers and Tide both have an open date this week, ensuring that they will be undefeated and almost certainly No. 1 and No. 2 when they meet in two weeks.
CBSSports.com will stream the game live on the Internet.
LSU offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert said one of the keys to the Tigers’ success has been to focus each week on improving from the previous week. Though each performance has had imperfections, LSU set the bar pretty high with a 40-27 victory against preseason No. 3 Oregon in season opener and hasn’t really been tested.
“We’re never satisfied,” Hebert said. “There’s a real hunger in this team. I think the most surprising thing is just how committed everybody is to coming out and working hard every day. There are no complainers on this team. Nobody’s complaining about practice or what we have to do. We know we do hard things, because it makes us better. We want to get better. The work ethic that this team has is really something special.
“When you focus on one week at a time and just focus on making yourself better that week, then you get a little better. It’s just like building and building and building, and you build on top of previous successes and it’s just something that coach (Les) Miles stresses in never being satisfied and staying hungry and always working to improve because we’re not where we need to be.”
Miles has preached all season that his team wouldn’t look ahead to the showdown against Alabama until all preceding games were out of the way. He also said his team wouldn’t get satisfied after attaining various No. 1 rankings. Now, the Tigers are staring straight ahead at the Crimson Tide.
“There’s a point where you have to enjoy the position that you’re in,” Miles said. “We’ve achieved significantly to this point and the good news is you get to play in a big-time game. It’s one that counts, and our guys will enjoy it. They will come to work, and there will be a little extra energy. We’ve always enjoyed those games. That’s how the Tigers play. They look forward to these games.”
Setting up sacks
LSU had a season-high six sacks against Auburn’s Clint Moseley. End Barkevious Mingo had two, and ends Sam Montgomery and Jaumauria Rasco, linebacker Tahj Jones and defensive back Derrick Bryant each had one.
“I think the opportunity to get them in long yardage certainly allowed us to get after (Moseley),” Miles said. “I think certain situations allow you to have greater success. I think (this game) was an example of some long yardage that really paid off.”
The first sack came on a third-and-2, the next two came on second-and-goal from the 9 and two plays later on third-and-goal from the 19. Another came on first-and-10, and the last two came on back-to-back plays — on second-and-6 and third-and-16.
Lonergan expected back
Center P.J. Lonergan, who missed the Tennessee game a week earlier because of an ankle injury, did not play against Auburn even though he practiced all last week. Miles said Lonergan could have played if needed.
It seems likely Lonergan will be ready for the Alabama game. The starting line of left tackle Chris Faulk, left guard Hebert, Lonergan, right guard Will Blackwell and right tackle Alex Hurst has not started since the third game, at Mississippi State.