Hobbs: Don't count the Tigers, Miles out

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Oh, for those good, ol’ carefree days of yore when LSU-Alabama was merely No. 1 vs. No. 2, the Game/Rematch of the Century,

and a national championship semifinal/final.

This thing coming up Saturday in Tiger Stadium is something entirely different.

Frankly, I haven’t figured it out yet.

LSU, it seems, is not just playing the No. 1 team in the country. That’s old hat for the Mad Hatter. But Alabama seems to

have morphed into something way beyond that.

You need new high-powered adjectives.

No, it seems like the Tigers are playing this mythical beast that devours everything in its path, does it without malice and

very little emotion, just quietly and efficiently while fighting nothing more threatening than boredom with its chores.

This is crazy.

LSU has some pretty good players, too, and a good thing for the Tigers. But Bama and its diabolical leader, Nick Saban, is

the cold, methodical assassin who is going to get you no matter what preventative steps you take.

It’s not a football game anymore, it’s a James Bond movie. The world as we know it (college football) is at stake and teetering

in the balance.

Alabama isn’t a football team, it’s

that dastardly machine that eats junked automobiles, slowly grinding and

gnawing and squeezing

them into little squares of recyclable metal.

There is panic in the streets and most of the bayous.

How did things get so out of whack in one short year?

Now, it turns out somebody seems to think LSU has a chance or the school wouldn’t have had to issue (at last count) 920 media

credentials from all corners of the nation. That’s beyond the borders.

But, in Louisiana, talking to LSU fans you get the sense they’re all waiting on some supernatural catastrophe to hit the state’s

flagship football team.

And disasters attract overkill media coverage, too.

When Alabama lands in Baton Rouge on

Friday, I expect for all TV channels to break in with one of those

government-sponsored,

hunker-down news conferences, complete with law enforcement

standing somberly in the background and somebody frantically doing

the sign language to translate the governor’s run-for-your-lives

message of impending doom.

If you haven’t left by now, it’s probably too late to escape Saban’s “process.” If you see the Tide coming, write your Social

Security number and next of kin on your leg and … wait a minute.

Folks, it’s just a football team — a very good one, but just a football team.

It’s not a meteor about to crash onto Tiger Stadium.

Yet South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who should know better, got so caught up in the hoopla the other day that he was

spouting off about how Alabama could beat two or three NFL teams.

It couldn’t, but that’s not the point.

Spurrier sounded serious, not just being typically smart-alecky. Former Auburn coach Pat Dye grumbled something about it being

the best football team he’s ever seen by far. Others have sent preemptive condolences to LSU as well.

Based on what I’m hearing this week

from LSU fans — normally a cocky lot themselves — they’re just hoping to

get out of it

alive with a little pride still intact while begging the Tide to

spare the good silver and not ransack the place beyond repair.

Meanwhile, in Alabama there is talk,

purely as a scientific experiment, of taking a random Tide fan and

letting him mention

the name “Nick Saban” in the same breath and sentence with “Bear

Bryant,” under the once-unthinkable theory that the fan might

not be zapped dead on the spot by lightning.

No wonder Saban doesn’t seem overly

concerned about Tiger Stadium relative to the dreaded cauldron effect.

If this week’s

in-state scuttlebutt is any indication, all 92,500 or so will be

screaming and fleeing for the exits the minute Alabama Godzilla-tromps

out onto the field.

Try not to clog up the evacuation routes. Contraflow can work for all of us. Show some chivalry— women and children first.

(But if you see Shaq Daddy running with the shrieking mob, by all means feel free to panic and fall in behind).

This is the most dangerous, frightening football team ever to come to Tiger Stadium and ... remain calm.

Folks, it’s just a football team — a rather boring one at that.

The general feeling seems to be that

Alabama will win — possibly even obliterate —because the Tide is the

greatest, best-coached

collection talent ever and LSU isn’t going to learn to throw the

ball overnight, even with an extra week, at least not against

this defense.

If LSU players are listening to their own fans this week, they might as well not show up.

The Tigers’ remote chances, best I can tell, are based on the hopeful notion that, well, it IS Les Miles we’re talking about

here, and nuttier and downright weirder things have happened once he starts chowing down on Tiger Stadium’s Bermuda turf.

And LSU might win. Could win. Maybe. Sort of have a chance.

It’s possible. Don’t ask me how. It would probably be something we never thought of.

But, rest assured, it is possible.

Just to be safe, however, batten down the hatches anyway.

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Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com