TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)—Just another game. Or a top-10 showdown that could help set up a one-game playoff with Florida for a shot at the BCS national championship.
The next one. Or an our-coach-is-better-than-yours statement game.
Take your pick, even the Alabama players don’t seem quite sure how to treat Saturday’s game between the No. 3 Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) and No. 9 LSU that might just be the next best thing to a Tide-Gators championship game.
They can downplay it in one breath: “If we were playing the smallest school in the country, it would still be a big game because it’s the next game. That’s just the way this team operates,” Tide quarterback Greg McElroy said Monday.
And talk it up the next. “This game is huge. It’s huge for the coaching staff, it’s huge for us, it’s huge for our fan base,” McElroy said.
It could wind up being huge in the national title race, too. Alabama coach Nick Saban meets his old team in a game that could send his current one to the SEC championship game. The Tide only has to win to secure a spot.
Or LSU (7-1, 4-1) could win and take control of the SEC West.
It’s a timely infusion of drama in a league that is threatening to end the regular season without a whole lot of suspense. No. 1 Florida has already walked away with the East.
South Carolina and Mississippi fell out of the Top 25 this week, leaving only three SEC teams in the rankings.