Opinion: Not your father's LSU-Bama week, or your brother's, your cousin's, or your dog's
BATON ROUGE - This is not your LSU-Alabama week, if you're an LSU fan.
It's not your father's, not your grandfather's, not your stepfather's, not your cousin's, not your neighbor's, not your anyone removed. It's not even your dog's LSU-Alabama week.
Call it COVID's LSU-Alabama week, if you're still using that excuse, only Alabama is the same as it ever was - 6-0 and No. 1 in the Amway Coaches Poll as of Sunday after Clemson's 47-40 loss as the No. 1 team to Notre Dame on Saturday in a double overtime classic.
LSU fans have little hope
The Crimson Tide will roll - sorry - into a game against LSU on Saturday (5 p.m., CBS, Tiger Stadium) as the nation's No. 1 team for the fourth time in five years and seventh time since 2008. Alabama won all six of those as a No. 1 against LSU.
LSU (2-3) is not ranked for this game for the first time since it was 4-3 in 2001 when the Tigers won, 35-21, in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers have their worst record coming in since they were 2-6 in 1999 and lost 23-17 to a 12th-ranked Tide.
But what is really strange about this game is that it feels like virtually no LSU fans really think they can win. That has not happened a lot. During Alabama's 8-0 run that ended last season with LSU winning 46-41, the Tiger Nation went into each one thinking it would win or had a chance. And LSU was in most of those games.
Even during eight losing seasons from 1989-94 and 1998-99, the Tigers still played Alabama well, beating them once in 1993, staying within six points three times, and staying close for a while in other games. And the fan base stubbornly kept thinking it could win. Not so much this year.
This season, there is little hope in Louisiana, particularly with the way LSU quit as its 48-11 loss at Auburn dragged on two Saturdays ago - with some players even laughing on the sidelines.
Alabama was an early 21-point favorite. In this age of offense, though, and LSU's age of Pelini, people are fearing half a hundred, if not more from the Tide.
"Tide may score 70," one LSU fan wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
That's an exaggeration, but only by three touchdowns or so.
It could get ugly
Alabama is No. 4 in the nation in scoring, with 47.2 points a game, and fourth in total offense and passing offense with 555 and 380 yards a game, respectively. Quarterback Mac Jones is fourth in the nation in efficiency with a 210.3 rating on 139-of-177 passing for 2,196 yards, 22 touchdowns and two interceptions.
LSU's defense under coordinator Bo Pelini is No. 110 in the nation out of 123 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in total yards allowed with 478.6 yards a game. It is 119th in passing defense with 335 yards allowed a game, and it is No. 84 in points allowed at 33.6.
It could get ugly, even though Alabama coach Nick Saban does not run up the score through the air.
Then again, LSU coach Ed Orgeron did say something saucy in the locker room of Bryant-Denny Stadium after last year's win, thinking it would not be made public. But it was, and it went viral when an LSU player put it on social media after recording it on his phone:
"We're going to beat their (expletive deleted) in recruiting," Orgeron said. "We're going to beat their (expletive deleted) every time they see us, you understand that? Roll Tide? (Expletive deleted) you!"
Saban is not wont to be motivated by such things, but he definitely will not mind if his players are.
It could get very ugly.