At 8 p.m. on November 5, you'd better not be at an evening wedding or wake, or watching Kansas State versus Oklahoma State (OSU will win by 30 in a one-sided contest that should have been televised by Fox at midday, by the way) or Notre Dame's visit to Wake Forest (Irish by 21, by the way). If you do any of those, then you're not a proper college football fan. Proper college football fans watch LSU and Alabama.
This matchup, which will be in prime time (thankfully not on CBS at 3:30 p.m.), can only be described as one thing: College Football Armageddon. Here are nine reasons why it's so important:
1) This is a massive game when these two get together anyway. But this year—a year that has been a little boring and predictable in most people's estimations (of course, these were the critics that missed the Michigan-Notre Dame, the two Wisconsin stunners, and the triple-overtime Stanford-USC games, as well as Oklahoma's major upset to Texas Tech, amongst others)—has been owned by LSU and Alabama. No team has really come even close to their dominance.
LSU is ranked No. 1 because it's beaten Oregon, gone on the road and beaten rowdy West Virginia and Mississippi State crowds, and beaten ranked Florida and Auburn at home.Alabama? It's No. 2 because it beat the 8-1 Penn State Nittany Lions on the road at a rowdy Beaver Stadium, and no one's been really to touch them at home. If the Crimson Tide had a better off-schedule home record, they'd probably be No. 1. It's two of the best unbeatens in the country going against each other.
2) The winner of this game wins a weak SEC West (sorry, Arkansas) and goes to the SEC Championship Game. And since the SEC East is a joke this year (sorry, SEC fans, but Georgia, South Carolina and Florida really are pretty bad), the winner will go to the Georgia Dome and have their wicked way with the SEC East winners, and thus remain unbeaten and go to New Orleans for the national championship game. In other words, the SEC West winner goes to the national championship.
3) If you're one of the best recruits in the nation, and you're being courted by Alabama, then why wouldn't you be at this game? Why would you choose Alabama ripping North Texas, and instead choose to be on the sideline at the Granddaddy of Them All? Also, there's the chance to see LSU—a school that has heavily recruited you, too. And you can always—or have—gone to Baton Rouge to see a game in Death Valley, anyway. You can meet Coach Saban, and he'll say some nice things. And you can also see two of the best teams in the country and tell all the boys and gals at high school that "you were there." Mom wouldn't say not to a ticket, either. In other words, it's big for recruiting.
4) This is important for both sets of players' futures. Every NFL scout in the nation will be sitting down to watch this game. If a player fails in this game, then it might be a signal to the NFL that he can't succeed. That'll affect his draft status and also his money. Which would be nice, because the Pittsburgh Steelers could do with a cheap cornerback (so if the Honey Badger would like to fail this game as badly as he failed his drug test, then that would be fantastic for Terrible Towel Nation!). In other words, it's big for the NFL.
5) 'Bama coach Nick Saban (or "Nick Satan," as we've renamed him) was the head coach at LSU, moved to the NFL, and then returned to college football, joining the Tigers' most hated rival. That'll really piss off a team, won't it? In other words, it's big because LSU hates Saban.
6) Then there's the SEC angle, where for the second week in a row SEC players (LSU and then Georgia)have failed drugs tests, and quite frankly, the SEC could do with some good PR. In other words, it's big for the SEC.
7) The SEC could also do with proving that these guys should rematch in the national championship game. So a 17-14 game, with both teams battering each other for 60 minutes, would really work out well. Not only that, but the SEC could also do with the South Carolina-Arkansas game at 7 p.m. being a close one, so the critics can give further thumbs up to the conference. In other words, it's big for a potential national championship rematch.
8) We're not joking when we say that this loss could cause Armageddon. If Oklahoma State wins against one-loss Kansas State, is that a better victory than LSU winning over Alabama, since 'Bama was a top-two team? Should Oklahoma State replace Kansas State?
Or if Oklahoma State loses, should Stanford replace Alabama just because they've hammered Oregon State, and Alabama lost by three points? This is a horrible, worst-case scenario of winner-really-does-take-all, unless the BCS pulls of a miracle and lets a one-loss team from the same conference play in the national championship game (my buddy from Stanford is getting his New Orleans tickets just in case!). In other words, Sunday's going to be college football madness.
9) Both teams absolutely hate each other. They hated each other before Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, and they'll hate each other long after he's left, if he ever does leave... In other words, both sides despise each other—nothing better for a SEC night game, eh?