Top 10 Showdown: No. 3 Vs. No. 6

Tommy Tuberville discusses the importance of winning against LSU on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn versus LSU series has certainly been one of the stranger rivalries in college football in the last 20 years. Starting with the earthquake game in 1988 to the interception game in 1994, the barn burner in 1996, the 9/11 make-up in 2001, the extra point game in 2004 and the field goal game in 2005, it has been strange but has also developed into an important game as far as championships are concerned.

The winner of the contest has won three of the last five SEC Championships. The winner has also represented the West in Atlanta five of the last six years and finished in the top six in the AP Poll the last three seasons.

"This team is the only team to beat us in the last three years in conference," Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville says. "We understand the implications of it. If you don't win you're playing catch-up the rest of the year. We all understand that."

This year Auburn is ranked 3/4 and LSU is No. 6/7 in the Associated Press/coaches poll, respectively. It has turned into much more than just a rivalry game, but more as a game of national implications much like Florida vs. Tennessee in the 90's.

"Both teams have been good the last few years," Tuberville notes. "They were up there and we've kind of moved in with them. Each game that we win is more of a stepping stone. We've won a lot of games and so have they. It's just two good teams playing.

"Usually the team that wins this game has the best opportunity to get to Atlanta," he adds. "No matter if we win or lose this game, will both still have a lot of tough games left. If you fall behind two games in this game, which is basically what you do for the loser (because of the tie-breaker) then it makes it pretty difficult. Both teams have had good teams in the last few years--the two best teams in the West. Whether it's that way this year or not, we'll have to see. But in the past that's the way it's been."

Auburn has a favorable schedule this year with home games against LSU, Florida and Georgia, who are all currently ranked in the top 10. Ranked very highly in the polls with expectations of making another run at the national title, this weekends' game could be argued as one of the more meaningful games recent years for the Auburn program.

"We had 13 of them a few years ago," Tuberville says of the 2004 team, which finished 13-0 and No. 2 in the country. "This is always a big game. It's two teams that have recruited well. They've had several 1 or 2 (ranked) recruiting classes in the last few years and we'll be playing against them this week. Our recruiting has gotten better, but I don't think we've gotten to the point where they're at.

"I think it's a fun game for the fans," he adds. "I think the fans will like it. I think their fans will make it interesting because they are so, so, what do you call it? Enthusiastic. They get into it just as much as our fans do and it's a fun time. It's a hard place to play down there and it's hard to play here. It's our advantage this year."

The home team has won the last six contests in the series.

Kickoff between the Tigers and the Tigers is set for 2:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS.


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