Alabama head coach Nick Saban didn’t address them by name following Alabama’s 38-7 thrashing of Mississippi State, but linebacker C.J. Mosley knew they were already on his teammates minds when the clock hit 0:00 Saturday.
Everybody knew it was coming all year, but now it’s finally arrived: The No. 1 Crimson Tide will take its championship quest to Baton Rouge, La., this Saturday for a top-5 showdown with the No. 5 LSU Tigers.
It’s a re-match of The Re-Match, where Alabama stomped LSU 21-0 in the BCS National Championship just two months after a 9-6 overtime loss to the Tigers in Tuscaloosa.
“We don’t even have to talk about it,” Mosley said. “You already know what is set for next week’s game based off last year and based off the national championship. We just have to treat every game like it’s another game. We just got to be ready for what they bring.”
Alabama will be traveling to Tiger Stadium, which somewhere LSU head coach Les Miles said is “truly a place where opponents’ dreams go to die.”
And he’s right. The last time LSU lost at home was in 2009 against the then-No. 1 Florida Gators, who eventually fell to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. That stretch includes a 24-21 win over Alabama – No. 6 at the time – in 2010 that all but ended the Tide’s hopes of a repeat national championship season.
Two weeks ago, South Carolina, riding high at No. 3 in the country after a 35-7 win over then-No. 5 Georgia, suffered its first loss of the season, 23-21, in the unfriendly confines of Tiger Stadium.
“In our mind, we know what we’re going into next week,” wide receiver Christion Jones said. “We’re going to make sure we’re focused and ready for that.”
Nov. 3 had been circled on calendars across the country since the release of the schedule before the season started. Tide players and coaches swore they’ve been focused on one game at a time during a season where they’ve outscored opponents 325-65.
But all season, LSU seemed to be the only team on Alabama’s schedule capable of giving it a fair fight. And fight week is finally here.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” center Barrett Jones said when asked if the team has already started thinking about the game. “We said that we might forgo the 24-hour rule for this one and just go ahead and start getting ready.”
It comes in the middle of a three-game stretch of top-25 opponents for Alabama. Mississippi State proved underwhelming for its No. 11 ranking Saturday, and No. 16 Texas A&M awaits Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 10. It’s a trifecta of games that will certainly define the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide, seemingly on a destruction path for a third national championship in four years.
“I think at this point in the season it’s kind of like the playoffs in a way,” Saban said Saturday. “You’ve got a tough game the next week. You’ve got a good opponent the next week. You’ve got somebody in your division that’s a really good team.
“We are going to have to continue to improve and learn from our experiences today in terms of the good things that we did and also correct some of the things we didn’t do very well. Every game has a history, a life of its own. It’s up to us to try and do the best we can to put our players in the best possible position to be successful.”