At some point this week, if it hasn't happened already, somebody from or partial to LSU will step forward to complain that the SEC's permanent crossover opponents are out of whack (anti-LSU) because the Tigers have to play Florida every year.

Well, boohoo.

That's when somebody needs to step forward and say, "You see, that's why you can't have nice things."

Might as well be me.

Mainly it's part of LSU's fixation on Alabama (which gets to play ever-floundering Tennessee every year).

Sometimes, with only two crossover games a year, the Tide might get Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Every now and then (like last year) LSU might get Florida and Georgia.

OK, that's going to happen from time to time, but not, as rumored, because the SEC office is in Birmingham.

But here's the part I don't get: Tiger Stadium will be at full throat come Saturday night — yes, Saturday NIGHT! just as the football gods intended — and will likely come to a full boil after a full day of tailgating and tiger-baiting and all the pageantry that comes with it.

Isn't that what LSU football is all about? Isn't that what Tigers fans live for?

Yes, a good football team, ranked No. 7 in the country, is headed to play No. 5 LSU. When Florida goes to Baton Rouge, there's virtually no chance of an 11 a.m. kickoff.

And all some fans want to do is complain that Alabama gets Tennessee every year.

Not to worry. LSU serves up plenty of games that are pretty much guaranteed wins played for nothing more than style points.

And what happens?

Fans (who bought tickets at no small expense) stay away in droves to watch on hi-def television. Those who come mostly do a toe tap and evacuate as quickly as possible after halftime.

That's their right, of course. You know my stance — attendance at a sporting event is not a civic duty, it's just another entertainment option.

But the rent-a-win tailgating scene often resembles a daycare center — Isn't she cute in that precious little cheerleader outfit? — since none of your buddies at work want to battle the traffic snarl, leaving plenty of spare tickets to round up all the neighborhood kids for a watered-down sample of Tiger Stadium.

Those are the family hour games. Not this week. LSU-Florida is a need-a-baby-sitter game.

What's the problem? Isn't this why all the season tickets still get sold?

And let's just go ahead and say it: LSU-Florida has become one of the great rivalry games in America.

It's a different style of rivalry, sure. It kind of sneaks up on you every year. It's not like LSU and Florida think about each other 365 days a year.

But, year after year, it might be the best, most consistent thing the LSU schedule has going for it.

Alabama, right now, is more of a frustrating obsession with LSU fans than a true rivalry. Eventually the Tigers are going to win one of those things.

The thing with Texas A&M got a shot in the arm with last year's controversial seven-overtime game, but it still seems a bit of a force-fed rivalry of convenience and wishful thinking.

Florida? You know it's going to be a good game. It is almost every year.

It was even more fun, though mostly frustrating for LSU, when Steve "Darth Visor" Spurrier was smirking on the Gators' sideline.

But eight of the last 10 meetings have been one-score margins, the other two were 10-point LSU wins.

Florida has always been one of the few that could get Tiger Stadium rolling when the sun is up. And this one's at night.

You might see LSU fake a field goal attempt to win (2010) or convert five fourth-downs (2007) to leave Tim Tebow in tears. The Gators have similar games to gloat over.

The Gators' last visit ended in LSU frustration when Derrius Guice broke the wrong way on a toss sweep that looked to be clear sailing for a last-play winning touchdown.

That was the culmination of a lot of finger-pointing over moving the game to Baton Rouge because of Hurricane Matthew in Florida, and there was an overexaggerated tussle during warm-ups before that 2016 game,

Things tend to get chippy.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said he wants none of that this week and was planning to warn his team about it.

His plan: "Keep your mouth shut and be ready to play Saturday night."

Buy stock in social media anyway.

At some point the ongoing claim by both schools to "DBU" will come up.

If not, it's always something.

Two years ago in Gainesville, Louisiana and Florida almost ceased diplomatic relations when LSU's marching band blared over the UF band's "I Won't Back Down" tribute to Gainesville legend Tom Petty.

But most Tigers fans will tell you that the greatest moment in the series came in 2011, when LSU's rock-star Australian punter, Brad Wing, was sprinting for an apparent touchdown on a fake punt when he was flagged … for taunting.

When your punter and your marching band are causing sportsmanship issues, you've got yourself a bona fide rivalry.

Trivial stuff matters.

It caused a big stink at SEC Media Days in 2017 when then-head coach Florida Jim McElwain showed up and had to answer why the Gators were disrespecting LSU by reserving the homecoming weekend for the Tigers.

The Tigers won, by the way.

Guess what this week is at LSU? Yes, it can't be a coincidence that the Tigers have suddenly deemed the Gators to be corsage-worthy.

It should be fun. After all, it's LSU's best rivalry game whether the Tigers want to admit it or not.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at

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