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LSU defensive end Rashard Lawrence (90) calls for crowd noise in the first half against Georgia, Saturday, October 13, 2018, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

When it comes to the hottest ticket in college football, one thing is certain: The waiting game is an expensive one.

In the days before No. 1 LSU faces off with No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the game is already tracking as the fourth-highest in average ticket sales across the college football landscape this season, according to sales data from multiple online marketplaces. 

That average price was $417 as of Tuesday, according to data from StubHub, which tracks higher than any game Alabama played in the 2018 season. The "get-in" price, which tracks the cheapest available tickets, was at $245.

The matchup is "quickly becoming the most in-demand game of this storied rivalry's history," said StubHub's GM of sports, Jill Kimmell.

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While the prices have a way to go to match the last time LSU and Alabama met as the top-ranked teams in the country, this year's matchup is already outpacing totals from the last five years in terms of ticket sales in the buildup to the game, according to data provided by VividSeats

Average ticket sales within their online marketplace, which was calculated at $418, have already cleared last-year's LSU-Alabama average of $367. Behind that was $315 in 2017, $308 in 2016 and $291 in 2015. 

Those totals pale in comparison to the 2011 "Game of the Century" that saw an average sales price of $681, according to SeatGeek. But this year's matchup could pick up steam to challenge that. The average ticket price through the weekend was up to $556, according to their data.

LSU won the 2011 matchup 9-6, the last Tigers win in the series, before losing 21-0 in a rematch later that season in the BCS National Championship.  


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HOW ABOUT THIS SEASON?

The hottest ticket this week hasn't quite hit the sales peaks reached in some of the other marquee college football games this season -- one of which also featured LSU. 

Based on SeatGeek's data, which had the matchup trending a bit higher with an average sales price of $489, the LSU-Alabama showdown was still tracking behind just three other games in all of college football this season but with several days remaining to claim the top spot.

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LSU's first top-10 matchup of this season on the road against Texas ranked No. 2 on that list with an average sales price of $580, behind just Notre Dame-Georgia at $652.

Along with games against Florida and Auburn, the matchup marks the third top-10 game for the Tigers already this season. With the win in their last game LSU became the first team ever to defeat three teams ranked in the AP top 10 over their first eight games of a season.

"To get to where you want to go it seems like you have to go undefeated," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Monday. "You have to beat Alabama, you have to keep on going and then you have to win the SEC Championship."

WHAT WILL THE CROWD LOOK LIKE? 

LSU fans travel, but just how much purple will litter the crimson throughout the stands at Bryant-Denny Stadium?

According to SeatGeek's data, tickets have been purchased in 40 states over the past week. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of those have been purchased out of Alabama (23 percent). But Louisiana clearly plans to travel, accounting for 12 percent of those ticket purchases.

Orgeron said this week he's come to expect noisy LSU fans even in the most hostile road environments.

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"You know, every stadium I've gone to since I've been the head coach at LSU, all I hear is LSU when I get in there. I guess I have selective hearing. But our fans follow us," Orgeron said. "Obviously it's an outstanding atmosphere. I do believe there's nothing like Tiger Stadium on Saturday night that can match it. Obviously this is going to be like a heavyweight fight -- it'll be loud. But you know what, we're used to doing that."

Another SEC rivalry could be in play, too, if ticket sales are any indication. Of the sales tracked by SeatGeek over the past week, 15% came out of Georgia. 

StubHub's data shows similar numbers, with 20% of their sales coming out of Alabama and 8% out of Louisiana.

The Tigers (8-0) and Crimson Tide (8-0) kick off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (CBS). 


Email Jeff Nowak at jnowak@theadvocate.com

Twitter: @Jeff_Nowak