The term “Game of the Century” has been used quite often over the last 50 years of college football. It has been 45 years since No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State in the famous game that had everything but a winner. No. 1 Texas defeated No. 2 Arkansas in 1969 with President Nixon in attendance. This season is the 40th anniversary of Nebraska and Oklahoma’s 1971 thriller that the Cornhuskers won 35-31. Other famous No. 1 vs. No. 2 battles during the regular season include USC-Oklahoma in 1981, Notre Dame-USC in 1988, Florida State-Miami in 1991, Florida-Florida State in 1996, Ohio State-Michigan in 2006. We also had the SEC Championship games in 2008 and 2009 between Florida and Alabama, with each school winning one before capturing the national title. On Saturday night, the country’s top two teams, LSU and Alabama, will battle in a game that could break records for media and fan interest.
LSU-Alabama: where does it rank all-time in anticipation?
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
I remember a great Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in 1987 and some epic Florida State-Miami games in the late 1980s and early 90s, but I have never anticipated a regular-season game more than the Alabama-LSU showdown. We’ve got the two best teams in the nation, who are in the same division of the same conference. And we’ve got great coaching storylines as well, with Alabama boss Nick Saban having served as the head coach at LSU, and the eccentric Les Miles, who delivers some of the best quotes in the sports on a routine basis. What also makes this game special is that both teams are so similar. Their schemes might not be exactly the same, but they both rely on a ferocious defense and a powerful rushing attack. And the environment will be tremendous as well. Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of the truly great venues for college football and will serve as a perfect setting for the Game of the Century.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I think the LSU-Alabama game probably does rank as tops in regular-season anticipation. There is definitely a tendency to rank newer things as a bigger deal than their counterparts from the past, but this game has everything. The Tigers and Tide are loaded with NFL-caliber talent, well-coached and both play with a punishing, physical style. LSU and Alabama represent the two biggest and baddest bullies of the SEC, college football’s biggest and baddest league. This contest feels like an old-school heavyweight title fight, and the winner will most likely be the favorite to win the BCS crown. There were ton of greats games listed above, but I’m not sure in any of those regular seasons that the top two teams in the nation seemed so clear. There is no guarantee that Saturday night’s winner will wear the BCS crown, but it definitely has that feel. I believe it was the state of Alabama where we all learned to “hide ya kids, hide ya wife”, and this hard-hitting and highly-anticipated battle in Tuscaloosa will not be for the faint of heart.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
As each year passes, I always seem to forget the hype surrounding games. Outside of the Michigan-Ohio State game a couple of years ago, I think this is the one that has the most-anticipation. What more could you ask for? It’s No. 1 versus No. 2 from the best conference in college football. There’s also the intrigue of coaches with Nick Saban and Les Miles. And we can’t talk about this matchup without mentioning the defenses. Alabama and LSU are two of the best on that side of the ball in college football, and the NFL talent in this game is unreal. With so much on the line in the regular season, I think this is the game I’ve been most looking forward to in a long time.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
In the modern era of social media, cable TV, satellite radio, the worldwide internet, tweeting and facey-space, it is hard to imagine any regular season game receiving more hype for longer than this match-up. This game has been circled since the day “Athlonians” sat down and plotted out our 2011 preseason predictions as the top game of the year. Luckily for us fans, Alabama and LSU have taken care of business and only built upon the excitement. And I will say that this could be the highest-rated regular season college football game ever put on the tube. However this is the fifth such regular season No. 1 versus No. 2 meeting of the BCS era, and the last two took place in the SEC championship game between Florida and Alabama with a trip to the BCS National Championship game on the line. Both teams were 12-0 featuring two (potentially three eventual winners) Heisman Trophy winners, Tim Tebow was under center in his final regular season game and the SEC and National Championship were directly at stake (Alabama and LSU still have plenty of work to be done even after this weekend). So I will say not quite, the 2009 SEC title game was a slightly heavier hitter for me.