Will Saturday night look like this?
Alabama and LSU meet for the third time in 11 months on Saturday night. That’s something Florida and Florida State did two times over in the mid 1990s, and New Orleans hosted each postseason match-up: 1995 Sugar Bowl (Florida-Florida State); 1997 Sugar Bowl/National Championship (Florida-Florida State); and 2012 BCS National Championship (Alabama-LSU).
Florida won both “rubber matches” in the mid 1990s — both in Gainesville in ’95 and ’97. Each of those games between the Gators and Seminoles were top 10 match-ups just as today’s Alabama and LSU match-ups. In ’97, #10 Florida upset #1 Florida State to derail the Seminoles’ national championship hopes. That game is still considered by some Gator fans as the “Greatest Game Ever Played in the Swamp.”
Or will Saturday night look more like this?
LSU is 2-9-1 all-time against the AP #1, including last year’s win in Tuscaloosa. However, the Tigers are 0-2 against the Tide in Baton Rouge when Alabama is the AP #1, losing 3-0 in 1979 and 27-21 in overtime in 2008.
And if this series couldn’t get any closer, Alabama leads the past 30 meetings 15-14-1.
Two weeks ago head coach Steve Spurrier and South Carolina rang up their third consecutive win over Georgia for the first time in their history. Today, they attempt the same feat against Florida. Next week, it’s Tennessee that will try to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Gamecocks. And Clemson is already there, dropping games in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to South Carolina.
The ol’ ball coach has turned things around on each of South Carolina’s rivals, especially since players like former WR Alshon Jeffrey, current RB Marcus Lattimore and DE Jadeveon Clowney have decided to stay home and play for the Gamecocks.
Lattimore had 212 yards rushing and three touchdowns as a freshman in 2010 against Florida in Gainesville as South Carolina clinched its first SEC East title, defeating the Gators 36-14. A Gatorade shower followed for Spurrier and he was carried off the field that he coined as “The Swamp” as Florida’s head coach on his players’ shoulders.
There goes Marcus. (Courtesy: Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images)
Florida senior safety Josh Evans was quoted this week as saying, “That’s a feeling you’ll never forget. It’s definitely revenge, man.”
Today’s game marks the first time in 33 meetings that both teams are in the top 10, a similar storyline to the South Carolina-Georgia game two weeks ago.
A Gamecock win today would be South Carolina’s biggest road win in its history. In 1981, they beat #3 North Carolina and the dominant Lawrence Taylor in Chapel Hill 31-13. If they beat #2 Florida today, it will be another “first” or “best” for the Gamecocks.
They’re getting used to that in Columbia.