Luke Johnson is the sports editor of The Daily Reveille, LSU’s student paper. The Crimson White went “Behind Enemy Lines” to get Johnson’s thoughts on the game and who he has winning. His answer may surprise you.
The Crimson White: What’s the buzz around campus for this game? Are students feeling confident or are they a little worried?
Luke Johnson: Campus has been surprisingly docile. There’s a funny mood around these parts concerning the LSU football team this year. My guess is that people have been a little bit spoiled by recent successes and are expecting the team to win in a more impressive fashion than they have this season, and for that reason, I don’t think there is a lot of confidence in the team heading into Saturday’s matchup. But I’d wager a good bit of money that as the week progresses things will get a little crazy here in Baton Rouge.
CW: How real is the night game in Death Valley reputation that LSU has?
LJ: Here’s the thing about night games in Death Valley — if the opponent is big-time, you can expect the atmosphere to be electric. The Tigers have been blessed with plenty of night games this season, but with the exception of their game against South Carolina, the crowd didn’t have a big effect on the game. Tiger Stadium will be rocking Saturday night, though, and if LSU can find a way to swing the momentum on its side, the crowd will have an effect on the game.
CW: What’s the perception of Zach Mettenberger around campus?
LJ: Mettenberger is a strange case. Everybody on campus had extremely high hopes for him this season, mainly because of how bad the quarterback play has been since Matt Flynn left, and by and large, Mettenberger hasn’t delivered. He’s been erratic and hasn’t made the type of game-changing throws the LSU faithful expected. He hasn’t been awful, I’d still consider him an upgrade over Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, but he hasn’t delivered the kind of impact people were expecting.
CW: What will campus be like if LSU wins and what will it be like if LSU losses?
LJ: Baton Rouge will be a madhouse either way. The only difference will be the volume. I’ve never seen 90,000 screaming fans go from ear-shattering to deathly silent faster than in 2007 when Arkansas looked to end LSU’s national championship hopes in triple overtime.
CW: Who wins, what’s the score and why?
LJ: Alabama is the better team. It has shown that in each of its eight wins so far this year, and I don’t expect that to change Saturday night. Crazy things can happen at night in Tiger Stadium, and I wouldn’t be shocked if LSU won the ball game. But if the Tigers’ offense keeps up its season-long trend and Alabama doesn’t crumble in the moment, the Tide should win by at least a touchdown. I’m thinking 24-9, Crimson Tide.