Bowl Games 2011: The Last One

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Monday, January 9
9:00: Louisiana State vs. Alabama (BCS Championship Game @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): Let’s get this out of the way: this isn’t going to be 9-6 again. I didn’t say it was going to be high scoring, mind you, just that someone is probably going to score a touchdown this time around. (Not necessarily an offensive touchdown, though.) Both of these teams are really, really good. But I can’t really pick Alabama. For starters, LSU already been them in Tuscaloosa. Secondly, that game came down to special teams, and I think we’ll see a repeat of that here, and that really is the Crimson Tide’s Achilles’ Heel.
Previous meetings: Depending on the site you look at, Alabama either leads the series 45-24-5 or 45-23-5, depending the status of either team in 1895. And of course, neither counts the game they already played this year, so really it’s either 45-25-5 or 45-24-5. Anyway, both teams have been playing each other for a long time, though before the standardization of conference scheduling they tended to play off-and-on in blocks, meaning they have only been meeting consecutively since 1964. Alabama was the dominate team in the series before 2000, though, going 42-15-5. LSU is 9-3 since then, though, reflecting the reversal in fortunate for both teams over the past 11 years, including 5 straight LSU wins during the Bama Dark Ages of 2003-2007 (also conveniently bookending seasons in which LSU won national titles). Nick Saban went 4-1 against Alabama during his tenure at LSU, with the only loss coming in 2002.
Last bowl game: LSU is in their 12th straight bowl game. The first game in the streak was a 28-14 win over Georgia Tech in the 2000 Peach Bowl. Last season, they beat Texas A&M 41-24 in the Cotton Bowl. Alabama is appearing in their eighth straight bowl game, the first of which was a 20-16 loss to Minnesota in the 2004 Music City Bowl.
Fun facts: The University of Alabama SGA (Student Government Association) is known as “The Machine” due to its propensity for cranking out Alabama politicians.