TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — LSU will be seeking redemption in the latest colossal clash with fellow SEC West power Alabama.
Sure, there's the standard matter of national and Southeastern Conference title prospects. The loser, after all, can't count on a rematch in Miami for a do-over like the top-ranked Crimson Tide got last season.
The fifth-ranked Tigers say they are taking even more motivation from that 21-0 BCS championship shutout in January when Alabama comes calling Saturday night with the stakes at their usual heights.
"There are a lot of scars from that national championship game," LSU defensive tackle Bennie Logan said. "You will see it on the field. The loss in the national championship game had a big impact on us. Going into last season, we had set goals like winning the national championship. Bama took that from us. They took that national championship ring. We want to show the world that we have bounced back from that loss."
Chances are the world will be watching, or at least a sizable chunk of college football fans. Last year's initial 1 vs. 2 matchup brought CBS its highest ratings for a college football game since Notre Dame-Miami in 1989. The network will air it in primetime instead of its normal afternoon slot after working out a deal with ESPN.
It's not drawing "Game of the Century" billing like the meeting 363 days before, which LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo called "one of the fiercest games I've played in." Game of the year is certainly possible.
That 9-6 overtime loss last season cost Alabama (8-0, 5-0) the SEC West, and maybe SEC, title if not the biggest prize.
Even the Tide is manufacturing a little redemption storyline for Round 3.
"LSU is the SEC championship team or whatever, and not us, we're just the national championship team," Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood said on Monday. "And that's one of our goals, to be the SEC championship team."
"To me, I like to fulfill all my goals, and that's one we didn't, so it's motivation for us."
Mostly, Alabama players insist they're not getting caught up in the hype and they're treating it as just another game, etc.
Clearly, it's not, however. The teams have a combined three losses the past two seasons, and two of them were head-to-head.