LSU Vs. Alabama: A Love-Hate Relationship

Justin ThomasContributor INovember 7, 2008

41-34, LSU.

That was the score a year ago in Tuscaloosa.  LSU escaped an Alabama squad led by first-year coach Nick Saban. 

This year, things are much different.

Nick Saban leads a team into Baton Rouge in his second year as the head coach at Alabama.  His team is No. 1 in the BCS poll right now, but remember, this is just the beginning of November.

Of course, the two coaches are playing the game off as just another major SEC game with no emotions tied to it at all.  Fans have a completely different view of the game.

LSU fans hate Saban.  I'm sure he will feel the love this year as he returns to the place he brought so much talent into.  The fans think of him as a traitor.

Just as an example, when he signed the contract to go to Alabama and re-enter the SEC, people had very hateful emotions toward him.  One story even says that two guys were talking, and one fellow asked another if he heard about Saban signing with Bama. 

The man replied, "Yeah, I saw that.  That son of a b****, I feel like he is ____ing my wife"

The sentiment for Nick Saban in Baton Rouge obviously is not high, especially with comments like that.

The fans hate him, the town hates him, and heck, pretty much the whole SEC hates him as far as fans are concerned.  He is not the most popular guy that has walked into the SEC as a coach.

One thing is for sure: He is a good coach.  He has given Bama fans something to be proud of this year.  He is restoring the team to national prominence, which is where all Alabama fans believe the program belongs. 

As for Les Miles, he is a good coach as well.  The whole "He won with Saban's recruits" idea is too overplayed.  He is a coach that has won because of good coaching.  You may have great players and never win a championship, or even have a winning season.

Take the University of Tennessee.  They have great recruits, but the coaches just couldn't get a formula together to win games. 

So I tip my hat to Les Miles for keeping a program on track and fighting for every inch this year, as they have been hard to come by.

As for the game prediction...

I think this is a trap game for Alabama.  LSU is looking to restore their season and get one big victory.  This would be the game that they are primed to do it.  They have been blown out two of the past three weeks, badly.  They need a win to keep people from saying they are just pretenders. 

Alabama is in a position, just as many teams are, to have a trap game, and this could be one of them.  The key is to play hard and not make any mistakes.  They have to eliminate the crowd early.  If they can shut the crowd up and not make mistakes, this game shouldn't be too terribly hard for them.

Much is at stake for both teams.  It should be an interesting game to watch.

Of course we know why many people will watch—because of the love-hate relationship. 

LSU fans just love to hate Nick Saban.


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