Alabama and LSU have played football against each other 76 times, starting in 1895. They've been in the same league since 1896.
But not until 2007 did this series get interesting. That's when Nick Saban, who had coached LSU to the 2003 national title, became Bama's coach and when Bama-LSU became an annual game of national import.
“Everybody knows when Alabama and LSU are playing each other,” said LSU safety Eric Reid. “It's grown significantly over the past couple of years. Whenever Alabama and LSU play each other, it's going to be a big game.”
The SEC powers meet Saturday in Baton Rouge, La., their third showdown in 364 days. Top-ranked Alabama is 8-0; No. 5 LSU is 7-1.
The regular-season meeting last November was billed as a national semifinal. It was for LSU, which won 9-6 in overtime, but Alabama came through the loser's bracket and beat the Tigers 21-0 in the Big Bowl for Saban's second national title with the Tide.
Bama and LSU combined have won three of the last five national titles. Saban is 3-3 vs. his old school. Alabama seems on a collision course with another Big Bowl, but an LSU upset Saturday would return the Bengals to the championship race.
Heck, an Alabama-LSU rematch isn't out of the question. If LSU wins Saturday night, it's not crazy to envision a scenario by which they would finish 1-2 in the BCS rankings on the evening of Dec. 2.
“Get ready,” said LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery. “It's going to be the closest, most competitive thing you ever did in your life – hopscotch to basketball to playing video games. It's a true battle where only the mean can survive and make plays.”