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Posted: November 3, 2011 6:31 p.m.

Prevost: Will LSU-'Bama live up to the hype?

 

It’s tough to live up to great expectations. Just ask the current occupant of the White House.  Rarely are our greatest expectations met, which makes it all the more special when it actually happens.  

For example, my expectations entering the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club for the first time were sky high. The National delivered, even exceeding my expectations. I’m not sure what I expected before having kids, but certainly my greatest expectations about parenthood have been met, and I’m ever thankful for that.  

Switching gears on expectations, I’d heard for years that the best smoked tuna dip on the planet was from Blalock’s Seafood Market in Orange Beach, Ala. With anticipation I tucked into my first bite and was hooked. Great expectations were met. Finally, I read recently that a “Dumb & Dumber” sequel is in the works with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprising their roles as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, respectively. Boy will my expectations be high for that one!

Great expectations surround Saturday’s night’s showdown between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama under the lights in Tuscaloosa. You’ve heard the match-up coined as “colossal,” “epic,” “the game of the century,” and other lofty labels. Some pundits prone to exaggerate have declared Nov. 5 in T-town as this year’s national championship game. CBS horse-traded with ESPN to move the game to 8 p.m. with hopes of high ratings. It’s the first time in SEC history that conference members ranked Nos. 1 and 2 will face off in the regular season, and the first time since Nixon was president that the top-ranked teams in college football will meet with an extra week to prepare, as both LSU and Bama come off bye weeks.

Our great expectations for Alabama-LSU cover a wide spectrum. We expect great things from the coaches. We hope Nick Saban is at his obsessive, intense best. We hope Les Miles has something up his hat.  

We expect greatness from the players, many of whom are destined for Sunday stardom. We hope Alabama running back Trent Richardson gives Heisman voters a reason not to hand Andrew Luck the trophy. We hope the Tiger defense is as athletic and startlingly quick as it’s been all year. We hope these 18 to 22-year-old young men play football worthy of the hype that’s been heaped upon them.

It wouldn’t be SEC football without the fans and I, for one, expect great things from Alabama and LSU fans this Saturday. For instance, following the game will the cultish Tide fans make a pilgrimage to the Nick Saban statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium, kneel before Saban in worship, and give thanks that he’s brought them closer to another national title? Or will the fickle Tide fans depart in disgust, their coach having been outfoxed by the Mad Hatter for a second straight year, and be tempted to defile the Saban shrine?

Postgame reactions from LSU fans are more predictable. Always classy in victory, a Tigers win over the Tide means LSU fans will throw empty flasks and assorted trash at the Saban statue, mocking their former coach in barely controllable Cajun jubilation. Equally dignified in defeat, a Tigers loss to Bama means LSU fans will throw empty flasks and assorted trash at the Saban statue, mocking their former coach in barely controllable bayou rage. 

We expect great things from this game and that means a close, hard-fought contest that comes down to the wire. With the Crimson Tide and Fighting Tigers so evenly matched, the difference may be quarterback play and special teams. I expect more from LSU’s senior quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson than from Alabama’s sophomore quarterback A.J. McCarron. I expect more from LSU’s special teams led by Australian punter Brad Wing and Acadian kicker Drew Alleman. I expect LSU to build on its 11-1 record in away night games under Les Miles.  I’ll take LSU to stem the Tide in a customarily close game in T-town.  

Yes, our expectations are high for this one, as they should be. Perhaps not quite as high as for the “Dumb & Dumber” sequel, but high nonetheless. And regardless of whether Alabama or LSU wins, keep a close watch on that Nick Saban statue after the game.

Ben Prevost, a lawyer in Atlanta, is a life-long fan of SEC football.  Send him your thoughts at SECbanter@hotmail.com.

 

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