Most Louisianans had an eye on the television on Sunday night, tuned in to find out which team No. 1 LSU
would face in the BCS National Championship.
For five-star safety Landon Collins, it was welcome news that the opposition was No. 2 Alabama.
"I was nervous there for a bit, because Oklahoma State really got after Oklahoma, and I thought maybe it wouldn't be another LSU vs. Alabama game," said Collins, who was in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5 for part one of the bout, which the Tigers won 9-6 in overtime. "I was pretty happy to see it happen. Those are my two favorites, so it's going to be awesome to see that go down in New Orleans.
"There is nothing like home, so this is big with it being in the Superdome. And this is my first BCS game to go to. I will definitely be in the building for it."
The game takes place on Jan. 9, meaning that Collins will already have his decision made by the time one of the two teams hoists the crystal ball.
"I will still announce at the Under Armour Game (on Jan. 5)," Collins said. "That means I will be at the national championship game with colors on cheering for the team I'm committed to. I'm looking forward to that. It'll be a lot of fun."
The Tigers and Tide have led for the entirety of the Dutchtown standout's recruitment, and with a month until his announcement, Collins said he feels like there isn't much more he can say about the two teams.
"I think people know how I feel about both at this point," he said. "They are both top-notch, they can hold teams to under 10 points a game, and each of them are just playing great football. It's the two best teams, and I feel blessed to have those kinds of options.
"Now, I hope this championship game isn't another 9-6 game. Maybe something similar, but I'd at least like to see someone get in the end zone."
After being offered and recruited by every school in the SEC, and most of the top programs outside the conference, the recruitment process could wear on a prospect.
Collins, however, continues to take it in stride – even when it slowly creeps into his life off the football field.
"I thought I did a good job balancing it all out, and now that the season is over I'm taking it all in for what it's worth," he said. "I think back on my whole process, and I had great junior and senior years at Dutchtown, and I won the MVP at The Opening during the summer. Then with this big game coming up, it just keeps getting more and more exciting.
"I even like it when people come up to me or recognize me, because it lets me know they acknowledge the hard work I put in and stuff I do. And most of the time, they want to talk about which school I will end up at."
How often does Collins put thought to that question, which the nation's No. 2-ranked safety prospect said he would have an answer to before boarding a plane for Orlando before the New Year to make his announcement on live television.
"I really do think about it every day," Collins said. "I think about it all the time. Even when people come up to me and ask me where I'm going to end up, it pops into my head and I start thinking about it. I still talk with my family a lot. My stepmom and I talked about it (Sunday) while we were walking around the mall.
"At one time I thought my decision was definitely made, but then I opened up a little more and began to think on things. Now I feel like I will be able to make that decision before I head to the Under Armour game. I think by then I'll really have that feeling. It will definitely be one of the toughest decisions I've made though."
Collins said he plans to visit LSU officially on Dec. 16, a weekend spent on the Baton Rouge campus that he said means more than most visits – even games in Death Valley.
"You get to see the coaches in a really relaxed mode, where they aren't worried about a game going on or having to handle something during the week," he said. "We will get to sit around and just talk and spend time together, so I'm looking forward to that."
In-home visits from college coaches began a week ago, and the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has already welcomed two SEC staffs in to meet with his father and stepmom.
"Tennessee and LSU have been by," Collins said. "Coach Frank (Wilson) and Coach (Ron) Cooper came by for LSU. They stayed for a while, but we didn't get into much football stuff. They talked about the family atmosphere with all of us, and Coach Frank talked about trust and family and how that is the style of coaching over there. It was a good time to really hear what they had to offer."
The state's top-ranked prospect talks about the Tigers and Tide.