As I understand it, LSU has a big game this week.

In fact, most everybody is calling LSU at Alabama the Game of the Year. Some are even calling it the Game of the Century, a hyperbole that apparently wasn't copyrighted back in 2011 when they had a similar affair (in this same century).

Most of the promos say "Game of the Century — yes, with offense this time."

Evidently, the nation is ready for it.

In fact, I spent much of the open date weekend in a panic, even with the rare off week luxury of spending it tethered to the TV's remote control.

There were games on as usual, even a few good ones, but no matter where you clicked, it seemed all anybody was discussing was LSU and Alabama.

The pregame shows, the games, the halftime reports and postgame wrap-ups— dawn to midnight-thirty, all they wanted to talk about was LSU-Alabama.

Wait. What? Do you have a score? I figured I got it mixed up and the game must be this day. I hadn't even packed yet. How long does it take to get to Tuscaloosa, anyway?

It was eerie.

Fortunately, LSU coach (of the year?) Ed Orgeron was at the McNeese game as a parent and I figured they wouldn't start a Game of the Century without him.

The breaking news was a formality, that ESPN's Game Day will be in Tuscaloosa this week. The network listened to the pleas of up-start Minnesota, which pitched the notion of "something different" and promised a circus for its game with Penn State. It was the sporting thing for the network to do ... before kind of chuckling, patting the Gophers on the head and saying, Nah. Thanks for playing, but we'll be at the center of the football universe.

SEC Nation, the SEC Network's conference-centric knockoff of the show, will also be on hand, the first time in its fairly short history that it's shared a locale with Kirk and Chris and Corso.

So, yes, it's a big deal.

And it's going to be a big week of hype.

Not to throw a damper on the hype, but it does not have quite the "feel" of the 2011 game.

Close, but not quite.

Oh, sure, this time it's been circled on everybody's calendar ever since the Tigers promised and then unveiled their state-of-the-art offense to jaw-dropping reviews.

The anticipation is certainly still there.

But back in 2011, by the time LSU and Alabama loomed, those two teams had pretty well separated themselves from the rest of the nation.

It was LSU, Alabama ... and a lot of pretenders.

That's not quite the case this week, even though it's the first regular season No. 1 (LSU) vs. No. 2 (Alabama) regular season matchup since the 2011 original.

It was more clear back then.

This year, so far, Ohio State has looked like the best team, LSU has the best resumé, Alabama is still Alabama and Clemson is still a defending champion that hasn't stepped in anything yet.

There are other outliers as well, still very much in play.

Not so in 2011.

Among other things, the lead-up often referred to it as the de facto national championship, in November. This was still the BCS era, where one game, two teams, decided the big prize.

It was even widely mentioned at the time — and I'd forgotten this — that it actually might just be a preview of an SEC vs. SEC rematch for the BCS title.

It was tossed out just in passing, in a "don't be surprised if ... sort of way. But unfortunately for LSU, it worked out that way (Jared Lee still hasn't played, by the way) and it's why we now have a four-team playoff.

SEC Envy was in its hey day at the time and some naysayers used the no-touchdown, 9-6 LSU victory — in overtime no less — as ammunition to prove that the stone-age conference wouldn't hold up against the pop-gun offenses of the Big 12 that were in vogue.

They conveniently forgot that, when not playing each other that season, LSU averaged 41 points per game and Alabama 39.

Not exactly archaic offense, even though none of the three quarterbacks who played (Lee was replaced by Jordan Jefferson) were anything special.

Still, the allure of this week's game is that it might be just as athletic — 14 of the 49 future NFL draft picks in the 2011 game went in the first round —but an offensive shoot-out version of that Defensive Game of the Game Century.

The Heisman Trophy could well be at stake between frontrunners Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa — if Tagovailoa recovers sufficiently from his high ankle sprain.

Trust me, by game time, we will all know more about this revolutionary TightRope surgery sprains than we can comprehend, which is easily the top story line.

So buckle down. Settle in. Brave yourself.

My goal for the week? By Saturday, maybe Friday, I hope to be able to spell "Tagovailoa" without a cheat sheet.

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