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Gazzolo Column: Up to Tide to carry on the streak

Last Modified: Monday, October 28, 2013 6:56 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

The poor guy didn’t know how to answer the question.

He is a diehard LSU fan who loves himself some SEC.

If the Tigers don’t win the national championship, the guy sure wants somebody else from the conference to capture the title.

So I had to ask him the tough question he never saw coming.

Are you going to be rooting for Alabama to beat LSU two Saturday’s from now?

He almost went all Nick Saban on me.

“I don’t think I could ever root for Alabama and that coach,” he said.

So then team loyalty must trump conference pride.

Or does it.

“But I sure do want the SEC to win another national championship.”

This year the guy most likely can’t have both.

In order for the conference to ensure its spot in the BCS title game, and thus a chance at winning an eighth straight crown, Alabama has to run the table.

That, of course, means beating LSU.

So this poor guy, and others like him who bleed purple and gold but also live for the SEC, will have a major problem when the two teams play in Alabama.

An LSU victory would open the door for several unbeaten teams. The only way Ohio State gets an invitation is if Bama loses and either Oregon or Florida State also fall.

Florida State’s only hope is if Alabama loses.

Ah the world of being a fan.

While it may seem like LSU’s season has been over since the loss to Ole Miss, it isn’t. The Tigers have plenty to play for.

Knocking off their top rival is just one of the things the Tigers can accomplish. However, doing so could also mean the end to the SEC’s streak.

The Tigers could also still end up in a BCS bowl game. A berth in the Sugar Bowl could be won if they were to win out and finish with a 10-2 record.

That, along with help from Alabama in the SEC title game, might leave the Tigers as the No. 2 team in the SEC.

Both are pretty good reasons to win against the Crimson Tide.

And we haven’t even mentioned pride, recruiting or the fact that falling to Bama and then Texas A&M would mean a four-loss season. That’s not a program heading in the right direction.

But if you want LSU to win, that means you are pulling against the conference.

SEC fans will tell you, whether you ask for not, that the best football played in college is played on their school’s fields.

Not sure if you watched a Kentucky or Arkansas game this year if you could still believe that, but it’s what they proclaim.

Clemson might have different ideas as well, having beaten LSU and Georgia in its last two matchups.

Unlike past years when there were a number of SEC teams still vying for the national title in November, it is down to Alabama this time. Missouri, yes Missouri is in the SEC, lost its shot when it blew a 17-point lead to South Carolina at home last weekend.

Sure, a one-loss SEC team could claim the title, but there is no guarantee this season.

So it is up to the Tide to carry on this streak. And it is LSU which can also go a long way to put an end to it.

That’s why this poor old guy is so torn about which one to root for.

• • •

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at jgazzolo@americanpress.com

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