Alabama vs. LSU: 10 Great Moments from the Last 20 Years
Josh Booty denied in 1999.
The Super Bowl.
Over the last two decades nine head coaches have faced off in this game.
The teams have won three national titles and six total SEC titles.
Whatever you want to call it, the LSU and Alabama rivalry is now defining the SEC West and in this season's case, once again, the national championship landscape.
The past 20 years have produced memorable moments in this series and one can only wonder if we will see the a new chapter on November 5th.
So while everyone is crunching the numbers of this season's tussle and talking to death the ramifications of the result, let's look back at some of the best moments the Crimson Tide and Bayou Bengals have offered up.
1993 Alabama vs LSU: Black Saturday
LSU snaps Alabama's 31 game unbeaten streak.
September 14, 1991.
That was the last time the Alabama Crimson Tide had lost a football game.
The Florida Gators beat Alabama 35-0.
Since then Alabama had won SEC and national titles en route to a 31-game unbeaten streak, their only blemish being a 17-17 tie earlier that season with Tennessee.
LSU was dead in the water. Curly Hallman was on the hottest of hot seats as LSU was sliding towards their third straight losing season.
Alabama was a three-touchdown favorite in this game.
My brother, then a sophomore at the University of Alabama, colored this day on his calendar all in black and named it "Black Saturday."
Jay Barker, the Tide's starting quarterback was missing his second straight game. To make matters worse, Alabama's starting tailback, Sherman Williams, left the game with a shoulder injury on the game's first play from scrimmage.
Alabama used three different quarterbacks to combine for four interceptions as the offense turned it over five times overall. LSU would use those gifts to build a lead that they would hold onto, stunning Bryant Denny Stadium and the nation.
It was only a tiny flash of greatness for LSU. While the win likely saved Hallman's job, LSU still finished with a losing record in 1993 at 5-6. For good measure, Hallman would make it four straight losing seasons in 1994, eventually being fired with a record of 16-28 at Baton Rouge.
Alabama would finish 9-3-1 with a 24-10 win over North Carolina in the Gator Bowl.
It wouldn't matter though, because in 1995 it was discovered that Alabama's Antonio Langham had received improper benefits by signing with an agent after the 1992 season.
All games in which Langham played were forfeited, which meant the Tide only won their bowl game and finished 1-12.
1996 Alabama vs LSU: Alexander the Great
Shaun Alexander breaks out against LSU.
This game itself isn't that much of a classic.
Alabama handled their business in Baton Rouge, 26-0.
What makes this game significant is that it was the coming out party for Alabama's redshirt freshman Shaun Alexander.
Alexander set Alabama's single-game rushing record with 291 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 17, 73, 72 and 12 yards.
Alabama would finish the season 10-3, winning the SEC West and capping it all with a 17-14 victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl.
LSU ended up 10-2, second in the SEC West and would beat Clemson 10-7 in the Peach Bowl.
1998 Alabama vs LSU: Tip Drill
Alabama came into this game having not lost in Baton Rouge since 1969. Whatever mojo Alabama had to keep that streak alive was used to the max against LSU once again.
The Crimson Tide were 5-3 and attempting to stabilize a season where they hoped to improve on 1997's 4-7 campaign.
LSU entered 1998 with very high expectations, but after going as high as No. 6 in the nation, they watched their season fall apart.
Alabama would score two touchdowns in the final two-and-a-half minutes to stun the Tiger faithful.
Down 16-7 in the fourth quarter, the Crimson Tide began their comeback with a 21-yard Andrew Zow touchdown pass to Shaun Alexander.
Daniel Pope would execute a perfect onside kick in which Alabama's Jason McAddley would recover.
Moments later Alabama faced a third-and-nine at the LSU 25. Zow would hit Quincy Jackson on a tipped pass for the go-ahead score that would extend Alabama's win streak in "Death Valley" to 15 games.
LSU would finish at 4-7, while Alabama went 7-5 and made a bowl game, only to be throttled by Virginia Tech 38-7 in the Music City Bowl.
1999 Alabama vs LSU: Booty Denied
After an early season disaster against Louisiana Tech, Alabama had rebounded and entered their annual bout with LSU at 6-2.
LSU was being buried by a six-game losing streak. The writing was on the wall for embattled head coach Gerry DiNardo.
Despite these two teams heading in opposite directions, it was an extremely competitive game.
It all would come down to a huge effort by the Alabama defense.
LSU had a first-and-goal at the Alabama two with :21 left. Tiger quarterback Josh Booty attempted to run it in but was stopped and spun in the air by Alabama's Marvin Constant and Reggie Myles.
Time expired as LSU attempted to run another play.
Gerry DiNardo was fired with one game remaining as LSU went 3-8, opening the door for the hiring of none other than Nick Saban.
Alabama would go on to win an SEC title and lose to Michigan in the Orange Bowl 35-34.
2000 Alabama vs LSU: The Streak Ends
That's how long it had been since Alabama had been defeated by LSU in Baton Rouge.
Fittingly, it would be engineered by Alabama's current head coach Nick Saban.
After LSU had crashed to a 3-8 season in 1999, Saban had the Bayou Bengals in the middle of a great turnaround at 5-3.
On the other hand, Alabama had fallen far from their preseason No. 3 ranking. The Tide were 3-5 and coming off a disturbing homecoming loss to Central Florida.
Alabama fought hard but could not overcome three turnovers.
A late Tide touchdown made the score look a bit better, but Alabama's magic in Baton Rouge was no more.
LSU would finish 8-4 and defeat Georgia Tech in the Peach Bowl. Alabama finished the season 3-8. Crimson Tide head coach Mike Dubose actually offered his resignation after a 21-0 rout at the hands of Southern Miss, but athletic director Mal Moore refused.
The homecoming debacle is ultimately was did Dubose in, but his legacy would be defined by the NCAA trouble it eventually brought to Tuscaloosa.
2005 Alabama vs LSU: Russell in OT
Bama is Back.
Well, that is what the Sports Illustrated cover proclaimed after Alabama throttled Florida 31-3 earlier in the season.
The truth is, Alabama was clinging to its undefeated season at 9-0 when LSU came to Tuscaloosa. The Tigers were 7-1 under first-year head coach Les Miles.
This game had all the hype, not at the level of this season's bout, but Gameday was in town for this No. 3 vs No. 5 match-up.
SEC and national title hopes hung in the balance.
This game was dominated by the two defenses.
Yards and points were at a premium as the two teams squared off in a battle of wills.
Alabama jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but as with most of their SEC games, they failed to produce in the second half and LSU eventually forced the game into overtime where the Bayou Bengals would pull it out.
The Tide would finish 10-2 with a 13-10 victory over Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl.
LSU thrashed Miami 40-3 in the Peach Bowl to bounce back from an SEC Championship Game loss to Georgia and finish 11-2.
2007 Alabama vs LSU: Saban Bowl I
Javier gives Alabama a chance
Saban Bowl I.
The man who built LSU into the monster it became last decade was back in the SEC, this time sporting crimson and a script A.
The build-up was palpable as 6-2 Alabama faced 7-1 LSU.
The Tigers were in the thick of the national title hunt and Alabama was looking to make a return to prominence; it looked like they just might do it until very late.
Alabama was overmatched in this one and it looked that way early.
LSU raced out to a 17-3 lead and appeared to be well on their way to a victory, but three first-half interceptions by Matt Flynn let Alabama back in it. The game was just 20-17 at the half in favor of the Crimson Tide.
Alabama opened the second half with an eight-play, 80-yard drive capped with a 14-yard touchdown pass from John Parker Wilson to Keith Brown. The Tide was on their way to shocking the nation, leading 27-17.
LSU answered with a 61-yard scoring pass of their own and tied it with a field goal.
Alabama's Javier Arenas would break the deadlock with a scintillating 61-yard punt return for a touchdown that blew the roof off Bryant Denny Stadium.
Still, it wasn't enough as LSU cranked up the defense and scored twice in the final three minutes to beat Alabama 41-34.
This gut-wrenching loss would start a four-game skid for Alabama, low-lighted with a home loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Tide would defeat Colorado 30-24 in the Independence Bowl.
Les Miles guided LSU to a national championship despite having two losses as they worked to exorcise the ghost of Nick Saban in Baton Rouge.
2008 Alabama vs LSU: Saban Bowl II
In 2007 Nick Saban faced his former school.
In 2008 Nick Saban had to travel into "Death Valley" to face LSU and the thousands of Tiger faithful that now despise him.
The devoted who once worshipped him now burned him in effigy.
Luckily for Saban, he had his first elite or at least "semi-elite" team at Alabama: A team that combined the leftover talents of the Shula area with Saban's ridiculously talented recruits, including Julio Jones and Mark Ingram.
It was a back-and-forth affair.
Actually, it was the revenge of John Parker Wilson.
Wilson, who was sacked at the end of the 2007 game and fumbled away a chance for Alabama to win, threw for 214 yards and sneaked in two scores including the game winner in overtime.
The Crimson Tide would finish 2008 12-2, winning the SEC West and losing to Utah in the Sugar Bowl 31-17.
LSU went on to an 8-5 season, crushing Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl 38-3.
2009 Alabama vs LSU: Julio to the Rescue
In 2009, the stakes were big once again.
8-0 Alabama vs 7-1 LSU.
With a victory, Alabama could pencil themselves into Atlanta for a rematch with Florida to make up for the bitter 2008 defeat in the SEC Championship Game.
LSU had won four straight at Bryant Denny Stadium, but this time Alabama would not be denied.
A physical affair to say the least, the game truly broke in the fourth quarter.
LSU was ahead 15-10, but the Tigers could only muster nine yards in the final 15 minutes.
With 10:37 remaining and trailing 15-13 Alabama had a first-and-10 on their own 27-yard line. Patrick Peterson was on the LSU sideline with cramps.
Greg McElroy dropped back and delivered a screen pass to Julio Jones, who dodged a defender and raced 73 yards for the score, essentially sealing the game.
Leigh Tiffin added a 40-yard field goal to make it 24-15, sending Alabama to 9-0.
The Crimson Tide would go on to win its 13th national title, while LSU would finish 9-4 and lose to Penn State in the Capital One Bowl.
2010 Alabama vs LSU: Reversal of Fortune
If I didn't know any better I would say that the stakes are usually pretty high by the time Alabama plays LSU.
Once again in 2010, Alabama was thought by many to be in contention for the national title as the best one-loss team in America.
LSU, at 7-1, would beg to differ.
With a blade of grass in his mouth and his team clinging to a one-point edge in the fourth quarter, Les Miles made the call of the game with the Tigers facing a fourth-and-one just shy of the Alabama 25-yard line.
DeAngelo Peterson took a reverse around the left end and streaked passed a bewildered Alabama defense to set up Stevan Ridley's go-ahead touchdown.
Alabama would score late to make it a three-point game, but LSU had sealed this game up and thoroughly eliminated any remaining talk of Alabama's repeat national title.
Alabama finished 10-3 with a total demolition of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl 49-7, while LSU would go 11-2 and do likewise to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl 41-24.