spkm_1005_LSU_v_UtahSt-24

LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron watches his team play against Utah State Aggies at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, October 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Lake Charles American Press, Kirk Meche)

So there Ed Orgeron was at his weekly press luncheon trying his dangdest to downplay the hype of No. 1 LSU's trip to No. 2 Alabama and insisting that he and Tigers were treating it like any other game.

It was the usual stuff.

Then he'd barely excused himself from the confab when word spread that among the 100,000-plus fans Saturday at the latest Tigers-Tide Game of the Century will be President Donald Trump.

Alabama officials would not confirm the numerous reports of his visit, but it's not unusual for such trips to be kept under tight wraps.

CNN Washington correspondent (and Alabama graduate) Kaitlan Collins confirmed the report from a White House source. When Trump attended Alabama's 2017 national championship victory over Georgia in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, game organizers would not confirm the appearance leading up to the game.

If President Trump shows, however, it will be the first time a sitting president has ever seen LSU play in person.

No pressure, though. The Tigers apparently won't change their plan over it.

"You don't over-hype it," said Orgeron, who apparently was unaware of the game's special guest when he addressed the media. "There's going to be enough hype out there. Just stick to the fundamentals.

"For that matter, never mind the big red elephant in the room — an Alabama team that LSU has not beaten in eight tries, since the last time this affair got the Game of Century tag in the 2011 regular season for LSU's 9-6 overtime win.

Most of those ensuing LSU teams had expectations, too, before losing a variety of ways.

Eight straight Bama wins, well before any of the current players were Tigers.

Orgeron won't be using that as motivation, he said.

"In the back of everyone's mind that can be a motivation," he said. "But this is a new team. They haven't beaten this team yet. This team has not been there. These are new guys, these are new coaches, and let's see what happens.

"We treat every game as a separate game. If we would have won eight games in a row I wouldn't say, hey we're going to win because we won eight games in a row, it just doesn't happen that way. So is it a motivation for the fans, is it a motivation for me? Yes, it is.

"But (the streak) has nothing to do with it."

Still, just another game? The stakes are sky high.

"Well," Orgeron nodded. "SEC championship, SEC West, going to the SEC championship, having a chance to be in the College Football Playoffs, having a chance to win the National Championship.

"I mean, that's (true), but that's for us in every game in the SEC."

But there's also a big crimson common denominator.

"To get to where you want to go, it seems like you have to go undefeated, you have to beat Alabama, you have to keep on going, and then you have to win the SEC championship ... so if you start thinking about all that stuff it becomes overwhelming for your football team. But we know what's at stake and we don't talk about that."

Much of the hype, of course, has to do with LSU's new high-tech offense, which could come in handy against a team the Tigers haven't scored more than 17 points against this decade.

It's been Orgeron's task now in his fourth LSU attempt against the Tide to close the gap with the Nick Saban-led Bama machine.

"You can tell by the rankings it looks like we made up some ground," Orgeron said. "But we still got to beat them. You still got to beat them. We have had some tests this year, we've answered the bell. And I do believe we have tremendous leadership, I do believe we're well equipped to compete with these guys, I believe it's going to be a great game."

Bottom line: "I want our guys loose and relaxed and go play our football game." Orgeron said.

More from this section

On the Monday that he was named one of five finalists for the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach, LSU's Joe Brady was also popping up as a potential candidate for a host of coordinator positions suddenly coming open.

BATON ROUGE — Ed Orgeron made it abundantly clear that his team had unfinished business with Texas A&M before anybody in purple and gold turned their attention to Georgia and the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.