Tide Has Been In One Vs. Two Games
There's no way to know if the game will live up to the hype, but by all reasonable analysis, it should be a doozy when Alabama hosts LSU on Nov. 5 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Both teams have steamrolled the opposition in getting out to an 8-0 record and both teams have been particularly effective in blasting the competition in the Southeastern Conference, which has every claim to being the nation's toughest league.
Is this the national championship game? No. Will there be a rematch in the BCS Championship Game on Jan. 9 at the Superdome in New Orleans? Probably not, but it can't be said with certainty.
Without doubt, the winner will be the number one team in the nation for at least a week, and probably longer. The winner gets a huge leg up for the SEC Western Division championship and will be an overwhelming favorite to win the SEC and -- as the last five SEC champions -- to advance to the BCS title game and win it. Unless it's Alabama vs. LSU again, in which case the Nov. 5 winner would be only marginally favored.
How many times has it been said that a team would rather be ranked second in the nation than first in these games?
Alabama has been in quite a few No. 1 vs. No. 2 contests, which are hard to come by, but this will be the first time in a regular season game, and, of course, the first time in Tuscaloosa.
In those games, Alabama has a 4-2 record, and the Crimson Tide is 3-1 in games in which Bama was ranked second against the number one team. As number one against number two, obviously, Alabama is 1-1.
At Bama, Nick Saban is 2-1 in games matching number one and number two teams.
Alabama lost its fist opportunity as the number two team playing the number one team for the national championship in the Orange Bowl at the end of the 1971 season. That would have been remarkable since Bama had opened the season defeating number one USC in Los Angeles. But in the Orange Bowl against number one Nebraska, the Cornhuskers had a dream game and blasted Coach Paul Bryant's first wishbone team, 38-6.
At the end of the 1978 season, Alabama under Bryant was number two and Coach Joe Paterno's Penn State number one and the teams met in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama's goalline stand team provided a dramatic 14-7 win and the national championship.
No one gave Alabama much of a chance when the number two Crimson Tide of Coach Gene Stallings went to the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1992 season to face Gino Toretta and the Miami Hurricanes. Bama's defense was dominant and Alabama's 34-13 win provided another national championship.
In the 2009 SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, defending national champion Florida was number one and Alabama number two. Coach Nick Saban's Crimson Tide prevailed by 32-13 against the Gators featuring Urban Meyer.
That SEC championship game helped Mark Ingram to the Heisman Trophy and also led to another No. 1 vs. No. 2.
From the SEC Championship Game, Alabama, Saban, Ingram, and company traveled to Pasadena and the BCS Championship Game in the Rose Bowl against number two Texas. The Crimson Tide's 37-21 victory was good for Bama's 13th national championship.
The other Alabama as No. 1 vs. No. 2 was in the 2008 SEC Championship game against Florida, which took a 31-10 win and propelled the Gators to the national championship.
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