No holding back

Miles and Tigers ready for biggest challenge yet

Top-ranked Tigers and No. 2 Crimson Tide are headed down a collision course to a showdown for the ages in Tuscaloosa on Saturday

It’s been a long nine days.

 

Kinda have to wonder just how long these next five will take to click by, too.

 

At least now, though, the college football world can start seeing things take shape.

 

It’s getting closer, this next game of the century.

 

You know all the particulars by now.

 

No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama. Both teams unbeaten and rarely tested on the collision course to this Saturday. First time in SEC history the top two teams in the polls tangle during the regular season. Les Miles vs. Nick Saban.

 

While neither coach was going to argue with having the week off last week, it was downright excruciating for the rest of us that once LSU dispatched of Auburn and Alabama rolled past Tennessee on Oct. 22, we had to wait this long.

 

Wasn’t there any way to waive that week off and lace up the cleats as soon as possible?

 

Well, now we’ve survived and even made due with some pretty good football on Saturday, following a scintillating sixth game of the World Series. So the void was filled to some degree.

 

Nothing, though, absolutely nothing compares to what lies ahead – at least potentially – when the Tigers and Tide finally take the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium on what forecasts as a crisp November Saturday night on The Capstone.

 

Every once in a while in sports, there are games that transcend the season, temporarily loom larger than the history of the teams involved and exceed the pre-game hype. Not sure this will be one that meets all that criteria, but it sure seems headed down that path.

 

There’s a chance – always is – that the game itself won’t live up to the expectations. But, man, is it delicious just to think about how this thing might play out. And that anticipation alone might be worth the memories, regardless of how the game unfolds.

Nick Saban: Different style than Les Miles

 

Two great defenses that approach things a little differently but produce the same punch-in-the-jaw dominant results.

 

Two offenses that hang up big numbers without having to be tricky or unconventional. Two quarterbacks who understand they aren’t the stars, nor do they need to be – three when you count Jordan Jefferson as part of LSU’s two-pronged QB scheme.

 

Alabama will feature the best player on the field for either offense in Trent Richardson. LSU counters with arguably the deepest crew of backs in the country, four guys who give the Tigers versatility unlike anybody else. Likewise, LSU’s advantage at receiver is equally as one-sided with Rueben Randle.

 

Special teams will be at a premium and that’s where the deep Tigers have a decided edge. But Alabama can offset that with what will be an electric home environment. Will that faze LSU, though, considering it has already notched victories outside of Baton Rouge against three ranked teams and Tennessee?

 

Nick Saban and Les Miles: Round 5 of their personal battle

The coaches represent a dichotomy in methodology. Saban’s Tide will be methodical, process-driven, focused. Miles’ Tigers will be loose, excited and unpredictable. Both styles fit their teams perfectly and the results have been dazzling for both men, both this season and over the long haul. The shadows of Bear Bryant over Saban and Saban over Miles have drifted away.

 

What else you looking for on the menu of this tantalizing football feast?

 

It’s time to start gearing up for LSU-Alabama, this latest showdown for supremacy that’s already being mentioned in the same breath as the 2006 Ohio State-Michigan game and 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma battle.

 

Can it possibly be that good, down-to-the-wire exciting to the point where all this hype – this two weeks chock full of chatter – was deserved?

 

We’re about to find out, and thankfully the wait isn’t much longer now.


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