Preview notes: Alabama at LSU

Preview notes for Alabama vs. LSU (courtesy of UA Media Relations)
GAME 9: Alabama (7-1, 4-1 SEC) at LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC)
Saturday, November 6, 2010 • 2:30 p.m. CT• CBS Tiger Stadium (92,455) • Baton Rouge, La.

THE GAME: Following its bye week, Alabama returns to the road for the fifth time in seven games with a trip to Tiger Stadium to take on LSU this Saturday, November 6, in an SEC West battle. The fifth-ranked Crimson Tide square off with the No. 12/11 Tigers at 2:30 p.m. (CT) on CBS. It will be the 74th meeting between the two schools in a series that Alabama leads 45-23-5, including an impressive 25-8-2 record in Baton Rouge. LSU is coming off of a bye week with a 7-1 record on the season and 4-1 mark in the SEC after a 24-17 loss at Auburn on October 23. The Tigers are the fourth of six SEC teams to have a bye before playing Alabama. The game will be televised on CBS with Verne Lundquist on play-by-play, Gary Danielson as the color analyst and Tracy Wolfson reporting from the sideline. Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Barry Krauss on the sidelines.

LSU SERIES: The LSU/Alabama series is one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in the Southeastern Conference. The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series 45-23-5, but the Tigers had won five straight in the series before Alabama’s current two-game winning streak heading into this weekend’s game. Last season, UA earned its first win over LSU in Tuscaloosa since 1999 with a 24-15 triumph at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In 2008, the Crimson Tide posted a 27-21 overtime win at Tiger Stadium. The Tide holds a 25-8-2 edge in Baton Rouge with a 9-8 edge in Tuscaloosa.

NEXT GAME: The Crimson Tide returns home on Saturday, November 13, to start a season-ending three-game homestand that begins with a SEC West clash with Mississippi State. Alabama will be meeting the Bulldogs for the 95th time in school history and boasts a 72-18-3 record in the series (one forfeit and one vacated win). The Tide have won two straight in the series and seven of the last nine. Alabama has outscored MSU 63-10 in the last two meetings.

THE ALABAMA-LSU SERIES: Alabama leads the all-time series with LSU 45-23-5 in a series that dates back to the 1895 season. The 2010 game will be the 74th meeting between these two long-time Southern football rivals. The Tigers won the inaugural meeting in Baton Rouge, 12-6, on Nov. 18, 1895. The two teams did not meet again until the 1902 season, with LSU prevailing once again. Alabama’s first series win came on Nov. 9, 1903, in Baton Rouge as the Crimson Tide scored a 10-0 victory. From 1919-45, Alabama posted a 12-game unbeaten streak (9-0-3) against LSU. The series was resumed during the 1944 season with the Tigers gaining a slight advantage over the next nine meetings, posting a 5-3-1 record from 1946-58. Alabama went 16-2 (.889) against LSU from 1964-81, including a series-long 11-game winning streak from 1971-81. LSU also ended UA’s school record 31-game (30-0-1) unbeaten streak with a 17-13 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 1993. The Tigers snapped a 15-game winless streak to the Crimson Tide in Tiger Stadium with a 30-28 win in Baton Rouge on Nov. 4, 2000. LSU has won eight of the last 14 meetings, dating back to 1997. Alabama snapped a five-game series skid with last year’s 27-21 overtime win in Baton Rouge in 2008 and followed that with a 24-15 win in Tuscaloosa in 2009.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: There’s no place like home, unless you play in the Alabama-LSU football series. A streaky series at best, this matchup between Alabama and LSU has produced some interesting results. The Crimson Tide holds a 45-23-5 series lead over the Tigers in a series that has been dominated by the road team. The home team has compiled an 12-27-1 record since the 1970 season. The road team won every game in the Alabama-LSU series from 1981-89, with the exception of a 14-14 tie in Baton Rouge in 1985. Alabama snapped the nine-game unbeaten streak by the road team with a 24-3 win in Tuscaloosa during the 1990 season. Since 1991, the road team is 13-6 in the last 19 games, including Alabama’s win in 2008 at Tiger Stadium (27-21 in overtime). Since 1971, Alabama has posted a 16-2-1 record against LSU in Baton Rouge, including a 15-game unbeatean streak from 1971-98. Alabama posted a 14-0-1 record at Tiger Stadium during that stretch. LSU won back-to-back home games with Alabama in 2004 and 2006. The only other time in series history in which LSU won two straight home games against Alabama was a 31-21 win on Nov. 9, 1946 (31-21), and a 26-6 win on Nov. 20, 1948. Since 1982, LSU owns a 10-4 record over the Crimson Tide in the state of Alabama. The Tigers won four straight road games from 1982-88 and have won the last four at Bryant-Denny Stadium (2001, 2003, 2005 & 2007).

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Nick Saban, Les Miles, Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer are the four active SEC coaches to win a national championship. Saban led Alabama to the 2009 BCS National Championship and LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship in 2003, while Miles led the Tigers to the BCS National Championship in 2007. Spurrier guided Florida to a 12-1 ledger and the school’s first national title in 1996. Meyer has two national titles with the Gators in 2006 and 2008.

ALABAMA-LSU AT VARIOUS SITES: The Alabama-LSU series has been played at six different sites since the initial meeting in 1895. The city of Baton Rouge has hosted the most games in the series (35), with Alabama posting a 25-8-2 record on the LSU campus. Only one other Louisiana city has hosted this series, with Alabama and LSU playing to a 7-7 tie in New Orleans in 1921. Four Alabama cities have played host to this rivalry, including Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham. The Tide owns a 20-14-2 record in the state of Alabama.

ALABAMA-LSU SERIES IS A LONG ONE: The LSU series is the fifth-longest series in school history. The two teams began playing in 1895, the 15th game in Crimson Tide history, and the 2010 game marks the 74th meeting between the two teams. Only Mississippi State (92), Tennessee (92), Vanderbilt (81) and Auburn (74) have played Alabama more than LSU.

MOST GAMES VS. OPPONENT (All-Time)
Opponent Games 1st Meeting
Mississippi State 94 1896
Tennessee 93 1901
Vanderbilt 81 1903
Auburn 74 1892
LSU 73 1895

Alabama’s Oldest Football Series
Opponent First Meeting
1. Auburn 1893
2. Mississippi 1894
3. Georgia 1895
LSU 1895
5. Mississippi State 1896
6. Tennessee 1901

SABAN VS. LSU: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 2-2 in his career against LSU, following last year’s 24-15 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium and the Tide’s 27-21 overtime win in 2008 at Tiger Stadium. Prior to that, Saban-coached teams were 0-2 against LSU, losing 46-25 to the Tigers while at Michigan State in the 1995 Independence Bowl in Shreveport and 41-34 in 2007 Tuscaloosa. Saban was the head coach at LSU from 2000-04 and compiled a 48-16 (.750) record, leading the Tigers to the 2003 BCS National Championship and two SEC Championships during his tenure. In 2003, Saban led the Tigers to a 13-1 record and a 21-14 win over Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.

LOUISIANA NATIVES: Alabama has five Louisiana natives on its football roster, including redshirt freshman wide receiver Kenny Bell (Rayville, La.), senior defensive lineman Luther Davis (Monroe, La.), junior defensive back player Robby Green (River Ridge, La.), redshirt freshman running back Eddie Lacy and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore.

NEIGHBORS’ REUNION: There will be a reunion of sorts in Baton Rouge on Saturday between Alabama sophomore defensive back and special teams standout Wesley Neighbors and brother, Connor, a LSU freshman running back. Wesley and Connor’s father, Wes, was recruited by Coach Paul Bryant and played for Ray Perkins at Alabama from 1983-86. Their grandfather, Billy, had a standout career for the Tide from 1985-61 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

UA-LSU COACHING TIES: Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis was an All-SEC defensive lineman at LSU and later worked on the Tigers’ staff under both Saban and current LSU head coach Les Miles. Assistant head coach and secondary coach Kirby Smart spent the 2004 season at LSU under Saban. Smart tutored two NFL first-round draft picks Corey Webster and Travis Daniels. LSU allowed 157.2 passing yards to rank second in the SEC and fifth nationally in 2004.

ALABAMA VS. LOUISIANA SCHOOLS: Alabama owns an 85-39-8 record against teams from the state of Louisiana. The Crimson Tide has played 114 of those 130 games against LSU (73) and Tulane (41).

Alabama Single-Game Records (vs. LSU): Below is Alabama’s single-game records against the LSU Tigers in the schools’ 72 previous meetings.
Category Record Holder (Year)
Rushing Attempts: 35, Kenneth Darby (2004)
35, Bobby Humphrey (1987)
33, Dennis Riddle (1995)
Rushing Yards: 291, Shaun Alexander (1996)
211, Siran Stacy (1989)
Rushing TD: 4, Shaun Alexander (1996)
Most TD Passes: 3, Andrew Zow (1998)
Longest Pass: 77, Gary Rutledge to Wayne Wheeler (1973)
Most Receiving Yards: 134, Quincy Jackson (1998)
Most TD Receptions: 2, Quincy Jackson (1998)

BEATING THE BEST: Alabama is 12-3 against the Associated Press Top 25 over the past three seasons and 8-2 against AP top 10 teams. UA had reeled off nine straight wins against top 25 teams until the loss at South Carolina. The Crimson Tide’s 31-6 win over No. 7 Florida on October 2 was the Tide’s second straight win over a top 10 team and third top 25 victory in the past four weeks. Alabama is 3-1 against the AP Top 25 this season.

Alabama vs. AP Top 25 Opponents (since the start of the 2008 season)
Date Team Opp. Rank Result
Aug. 30, 2008 vs. Clemson (at Atlanta, Ga.) 9 W, 34-10
Sept. 27, 2008 at Georgia 3 W, 41-30
Nov. 8, 2008 at LSU 15 W, 27-21 (OT)
Dec. 6, 2008 vs. Florida (at Atlanta, Ga.) 2 L, 20-31
Jan. 2, 2009 vs. Utah (at New Orleans, La.) 7 L, 17-31
Sept. 5, 2009 vs. Virginia Tech (at Atlanta, Ga.) 7 W, 34-24
Oct. 10, 2009 at Mississippi 20 W, 22-3
Oct. 17, 2009 South Carolina 22 W, 20-6
Nov. 6, 2009 LSU 9 W, 24-15
Dec. 5, 2009 vs. Florida (at Atlanta, Ga.) 1 W, 32-13
Jan. 7, 2010 vs. Texas (at Pasadena, Calif.) 2 W, 37-21
Sept. 11, 2010 Penn State 18 W, 24-3
Sept. 25, 2010 at Arkansas 10 W, 24-20
Oct. 2, 2010 Florida 7 W, 31-6
Oct. 9, 2010 at South Carolina 19 L, 21-35

BCS RANKINGS RELEASED: Alabama is sixth in this week’s Bowl Championship Series standings released on Sunday, Oct. 31, with a .7185 average. Oregon is this week’s new No. 1 in the BCS with a .9777 average with Auburn (.9599) second, TCU (.8911) third, Boise State (.8824) fourth and Utah (.7318) fifth. Below is a look at this week’s top six.

Team BCS Average Harris Average Coaches Average Computer Average
1. Oregon .9777 .9905 (1) .9925 (1) .950 (2)
2. Auburn .9599 .9414 (2) .9383 (2) 1.000 (1)
3. TCU .8911 .8874 (4) .8759(4) .910 (3)
4. Boise State .8824 .9246 (3) .9227 (3) .800 (7)
5. Utah .7318 .7618 (6) .7736 (6) .660 (13)
6. Alabama .7185 .8232 (5) .8224 (5) .510 (15)

REMAINING BCS SLATE: Alabama has probably the toughest remaining schedule among the BCS top 25 teams. The No. 6 Crimson Tide is the only team in the country with three teams ranked in the BCS top 25 remaining on their schedule. The Tide still has to travel to No. 10 LSU and host No. 20 Mississippi State before a visit from No. 2 Auburn to close out the regular season. Alabama’s three remaining SEC opponents boast a record of 23-3. This week’s BCS standings has five teams in the top 25 that are on Alabama’s 2010 schedule.

TIDE AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS IN INTERCEPTIONS: With two interceptions at Tennessee the Crimson Tide ranks third nationally and second in the SEC with 15 interceptions in eight games, just one back of Florida and Toledo. Intercepting 1.88 passes per game, the Tide is tied with Miami, Ohio State and Oregon. Alabama finished second nationally with 24 interceptions last season (one behind Texas). It took the Tide 14 games during the 2008 season to equal the 15 picks it has this season heading into LSU.

HEAD COACH NICK SABAN: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his fourth season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school’s 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 35-9 record (40-9 including five vacated wins in 2007) at Alabama while leading the Tide to two SEC Western Division championships, one conference title and one national championship. Saban holds a career record of 126-51-1 (131-51-1) as a collegiate head coach, while also serving at Toledo, Michigan State and LSU. Saban won his first national championship as head coach of the LSU Tigers in 2003, guiding the Tigers to a 13-1 record that season. Overall, Saban has coached four conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC, 2003 SEC and 2009 SEC) and 10 of his 13 teams have played in postseason bowl games with the Tide appearing in a bowl game each year under Saban’s direction. Saban is also one of two coaches (Urban Meyer, Florida) to win two BCS National Championships and the first to accomplish the feat at two different schools.

SABAN AFTER A BYE: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 11-8 during his collegiate head coaching career following a bye week. He is 3-1 during his time at the Capstone following a bye and is currently on a three-game winning streak. He lost to LSU following the bye week in 2007 but posted two wins after a bye in 2008 over Kentucky and Auburn and then defeated LSU following the bye on his way to a national championship in 2009. Saban was 2-5 following a bye at Michigan State and 6-2 after an off week at LSU. He is 9-3 following a bye as a coach in the SEC.