Last Modified: Tuesday, November 05, 2013 8:54 PM
I could relate to you from personal-type experience that, at his core, Nick Saban is a pretty decent sort and that Alabama fans are like most others, some good, some bad.
But apparently that’s not what you want to hear.
So I’ll put it more bluntly.
Don’t hate on Alabama.
At least not obsessively.
It’s just not healthy.
I know I’m a heretic preaching to an angry choir right now, but this is no way to lead your life.
It’s no good for anybody.
It only plays into Tide fans’ wheelhouse, in which case you get the worst of the bad Alabama fan — the attention-seeking drama queen whose whole persona seems to be some pigskin version of “Don’t hate me just because I’m beautiful.”
Most Alabama fans love snuggling into that role more than they love Rammer Jammer with a Yellow Hammer.
OK, admittedly sometimes it comes across as somewhat, oh, maybe a tad arrogant.
But LSU fans right now are only encouraging them.
Yes, Saban is out to conquer the Earth and The Process won’t sleep until complete and utter world domination is accomplished.
Alabama fans believe he is infallible and “60 Minutes” seemed to agree with them on CBS last Sunday night.
But hating on that only humors them. In the SEC, hating is the biggest form of flattery. And LSU fans should be bigger than that.
That said, it’s OK for LSU fans to hate on Alabama this week.
That’s what proper rivalry weeks are for — for a week.
But when this thing went slightly astray was when the suggestions began cropping up that LSU could “salvage its season” by beating Alabama.
If LSU were to shockingly pull this thing off Saturday night, the Tigers would still have two more losses than their fans thought they should have.
LSU could well have beaten Georgia — it was a coin-flip game —and had no business losing to Ole Miss.
But the Tigers still have two losses and a suspect defense. Write it off to bad luck (yeah, right).
Upsetting Alabama won’t change that, no matter the LSU warm fuzzies involved in knowing the Tigers will have likely halted the collection of crimson national championship crystal.
I even heard one LSU fan swear that he’d trade losses in every other game, even Furman, if the Tigers could just beat (expletive) Alabama.
That’s not a rivalry. That’s wishful thinking, almost reduced to shameless, blatant begging.
LSU fans, you’re better than that. It’s admitting that you’re not going to be a “player” anymore and are reduced to enjoying other’s misery.
The funny thing is that Alabama — fans, team and the Nicktator alike — still seem to respect LSU.
At the least, Bama fans don’t feel they can trust the Tigers — or Les Miles — to wilt in Saban’s presence.
LSU fans look at it and see the coach with the perfect hair, who always seems properly annoyed at somebody, against the coach with the odd-fitting ball cap, who is seemingly oblivious to the game except for sporadic clapping, somewhat awkwardly at that. And he never has explained the 2011 BCS title game.
Alabama fans, on the other hand, seem to look at LSU and see, for all his quirks, the only coach who has beaten Saban’s Alabama teams more than once (Miles is 3-4 despite losing two straight).
It slightly unnerves them, at least to the degree that Roll Tide confidence can be shaken.
Really, LSU fans who think and often complain that the Tigers don’t get enough national respect aren’t paying attention this week.
The Tigers have lost two games, are out of the national title picture, and yet everybody sees LSU as the last Great SEC Hope to derail the relentless crimson appetite for the world’s supply of crystal.
They probably won’t.
But they can.
The Tigers are suddenly the good guys in a James Bond movie.
I don’t know what these experts have seen in LSU’s defense to make an upset seem thinkable.
Of course, there was no advance warning last year that LSU had any hint of the offense needed for such a tall stunt — yet the Tigers came within a first down (or defensive stop) of pulling it off.
Put quite a scare into the Tide. That’s why Alabama fans don’t trust LSU. Miles will have them ready to play. They know LSU isn’t going to automatically flop over like a Tennessee or Arkansas.
Tiger fans, on the other hand, seem to be just hoping that it doesn’t get too ugly. For an LSU program that has stood toe to toe with Saban’s since he began the Crimson Conquest, this week will be seen as a measuring stick.
How much distance is Alabama putting between itself and what has been its biggest nemesis?
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Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org