Sunday, November 04, 2007

I 'm an LSU fan, but I respect Alabama, Saban, seriously

"Great game. Good luck to ya."
That was the quick soundbite that TV cameras allowed as LSU coach Les Miles and Alabama coach Nick Saban shook hands after Saturday night's 41-34 LSU win. It was a short and sweet comment by Saban, and it was emotionally genuine. For 60 minutes, he got to see the people and fans he influenced work against him. He's got to appreciate this redemption of theirs. And he does, even more than Les Miles can understand. Well, it's been about 10 hours since the game ended. I've had time to relect now, and put this LSU victory over Alabama in perspective. It was a hard-fought game by both teams, and, ya know, we respect Alabama (12 national championships? Are you kiddin' me?). Actually we love Alabama, and I don't know any team that doesn't want the rich heritage and tradition that the Crimson Tide has. I've talked to several LSU fans that made the trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and they said the Bama fans were some of the nicest fans they've been around. this quote from the Advocate sums it up: Stephen Hardy of St. Martinville, La. said he was impressed both by the game atmosphere and the home fans, who filled the stadium to its 92,128 capacity.
“These Alabama fans are the nicest, most gracious fans you ever did see,” he said. “Where we were sitting, when the game turned at the end, everybody congratulated us and told us good luck in the SEC championship game.”
See, LSU-Alabama is not really a rivalry to Alabama faithful, no, they've got Tennessee and Auburn for that. LSU? We've got nobody. Instate rival? Who, Tulane? Nobody in Mississippi gives us a good game anymore, so, (gulp) we come to you, Alabama. Every year we're searching for a fight, for somebody to knock this purple-and-gold chip off our shoulder. A couple of years ago we were begging Georgia to do it, when it looked like they were going to be a perennial power, then they lost to Vanderbilt. A few years before that we thought we had some animosity with Tennessee, even beating them in the SEC championship game, but the Schedule Gods don't make us play them every year. And Florida? They've got their hands full with Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State. So, see, us Tigers need, no, crave a legitimate rivalry game, and Alabama is the closest thing we got, especially since the Tommy Hodson "Earthquake game". You can make a case for Auburn, but the truth is Auburn is preoccupied with beating the Tide, not LSU. And so, we eye the Tide. Plus, Alabama took Saban, OUR CHAMPIONSHIP COACH, that's got to count for something!!! LSU doesn't have an Iron Bowl, no Third Saturday in October, but we doooo have a Saban Bowl! So, we salute, the Crimson Tide for a game well done. No hard feelings. kinda like Nick Saban said after the game. "I know their families. I know their mommas," Saban said. "It was a little bit like my initial feeling was like 'you're playing against somebody who is in your family'."
Nick's got it right. He's still a part of the Tiger family, just wearing a maroon sweater now. "I love our players here more. I'm going to work with them every day to try to help them be successful," Saban said. "But I can't just throw away the feelings I have for those players, the ones I have a relationship with. That just doesn't go away." Great game. Good luck to ya.

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