The new AP and Coaches’ polls were released, and Georgia’s shocking home loss to South Carolina, coupled with LSU’s 14-point win over Florida, created some major shakeups near the top. Most importantly, the Bayou Bengals jumped those other Tigers from Clemson to move to #2 in the AP poll, though the coaches who don’t watch games still have them at #3.
Of course, the only rankings that matter debut on November 5, four days before LSU visits Tuscaloosa. Alabama should have little trouble staying undefeated until then with tilts against hapless Tennessee and Arkansas, and LSU’s slate is slightly tougher as they play at Mississippi State then host Auburn. Assuming both squads survive unscathed as expected, it is very likely that they will be the top two teams in the initial CFP rankings, with LSU the likely #1 thanks to a better slate to that point.
When the last “Game of the Century” happened in Tuscaloosa back in 2011, CBS had not yet begun its annual tradition of using its day-night doubleheader on the Alabama-LSU matchup, instead choosing to show the Tide whip the Florida Gators in prime time. That year they were able to negotiate a deal with ESPN that allowed them to move Alabama-LSU to a prime time slot in exchange for “future scheduling considerations.” One has to assume that they will attempt a similar maneuver this time.
In any event, this game will shine a spotlight on the rapid evolution of college football. As you well remember, the 2011 game was a defensive slugfest with neither team breaching the end zone, and LSU pulled out a 9-6 victory. As you also know, the Tigers haven’t beaten Alabama since that night, and there is virtually no chance of that type of score this time around. In a mere eight years, both programs have morphed into squads featuring high flying offenses and shaky defenses.
There will be plenty of time for analysis leading up to the game, but the hype is going to be out of control. Tim Brando will be foaming at the mouth to get himself on TV, if anyone will have him.